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  Orkney's Standing Stones

The Yetnasteen, Rousay

The Yetnasteen: Picture Sigurd TowrieThe seven-foot high Yetnasteen stands at the foot of a hill in the north-east of Rousay, near the farm of Faraclett.

When the Norsemen arrived in the island, they had no doubt as to its origin.

The Yetnasteen takes its name from the Old Norse Jotunna-steinn, literally meaning Giant Stone.

This is a clear confirmation that the stone - like a number of standing stones throughout Orkney - was believed to be giant, turned to stone by the warm rays of the morning sun.

In Rousay, this petrified giant has one annual release from his eternal prison.

Immediately after midnight each New Year's Day, the Yetnasteen is said to come to life and walk the 300 yards to the Loch o' Skockness, where it drinks from the water before returning once more to its lonely vigil.

"In my boyhood days I was told and I believe it too, that whenever he heard the clock strike twelve on the last night of the year, [the Yetnasteen] went to a loch, a short distance off, in two jumps and took a drink of water. I often wished in those days I had the courage of my belief, and be there when Yetnesstone was away for its drink to see what was below it."
J. Louttit - September 1916