Winter Solstice on the Isle of Man

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Watching the sunset on the darkest day of the year from the Meayll Hill Stone Circle. This 4000-year-old stone tomb overlooks the sea on the Isle of Man

Winter Solstice on the Isle of Man: watching the sun set on the darkest day of the year from the Meayll Hill Stone Circle #wintersolstice #isleofman #lovelygreens

That means that from here on out, our days are getting longer and lighter, even if it’s just by a few seconds at a time. For me, that’s a reason to celebrate, so after I finished work, Josh and I headed to Meayll Hill, where you can find an ancient stone circle. Built more than five thousand years ago, it was the perfect place to take in the views.

The Winter Solstice

The shortest day of the year is called the Winter Solstice, which generally falls around December 21st. For those living in the northern hemisphere, it’s also the darkest day of the year — on the Isle of Man, the sun rose at 8.30 am and set at 3:58 pm. Seven and a half hours of daylight can be tough, but further north, it’s even worse. My mind wanders to the isolated islands of the Hebrides and then far north to Scandinavia, Greenland, and Alaska. The lands of the Midnight Sun become a place where the sun disappears completely for up to 67 days in winter.

Alone at the Stone Circle

Amazingly, there were no other people at Meayll Hill while we were there. We had the circle, the sea, and the sun to ourselves up until we were leaving. It was only then that a lone fell runner ran up the path with his dog. The wind was freezing, but it was worth staying long enough to see the sun fall behind the Calf of Man. This tiny island is situated southwest of the larger Isle of Man and is a nature reserve. Amazingly the sun will set much further west in the summer and lights up the town of Peel, nicknamed the ‘Sunset City’. I think it would have had a tough time seeing the sunset from there this afternoon.

Winter Solstice on the Isle of Man: watching the sun set on the darkest day of the year from the Meayll Hill Stone Circle #wintersolstice #isleofman #lovelygreens
Meayll Hill is a 4000-year-old stone tomb

Meayll Hill Stone Circle

The circle of stones on Meayll Hill reminds me of a broken crown. Or maybe a great open mouth of crooked teeth. Even now, historians don’t truly know why the stone circle was built, which is fuel for the imagination. It’s composed of twelve stone graves excavated years ago, and many small finds have been made here. For the small size of the Isle of Man, it’s surprising how many similar ancient and neolithic sites are here.

Winter Solstice on the Isle of Man: watching the sun set on the darkest day of the year from the Meayll Hill Stone Circle #wintersolstice #isleofman #lovelygreens
Watching the sunset on the shortest day of the year

Getting to Meayll Hill

If you’d like to visit Meayll Hill stone circle, also called Mull Hill, it’s here on the map, and directions are below. Wherever you are in the world, though, Happy Winter Solstice, and I hope you look forward to the days ascending into spring. To see another neolithic site at Winter Solstice on the Isle of Man, watch the video below.

How to get to Meayll Hill From Port Erin: take the Ballafurt road towards Cregneash, and you’ll find ‘Mull Hill’ or Meayll Hill Circle signed on your left about halfway there.

From Cregneash: take the single-lane road off of Howe Road towards Port Erin. The site will be on your right. The site is at the top of a hill climb, so wear sturdy shoes and sensible clothing

Meayll Hill on a warm day in summer. Port Erin in the background.

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  1. Barbara Kinzett says:

    Opps this old Manx Lass has sucomed to the silly season —- it’s only the 15th today NOT Summer Solstice on the 22nd just a week out!!! Best wishes Barbara Anne

    1. It’s a count-down in this household. Another week and the days will gradually be getting lighter :)

  2. Barbara Kinzett says:

    Hi,It was so lovely to see your Photos of The Winter Solstice.We in New Zealand Celebrate The Summer Solstice today . It has been rather warm 32 degrees C on our deck at 8am!
    Special thoughts from a homesick Manx Lass.

  3. Happy Solstice! How lovely to be able to see it at a real megalithic site! <3 Cheers from the Appalachian Mountains in North Carolina. :)

    1. lovelygreens says:

      Happy Solstice to you too Amber :) The site at Meayll Hill is pretty incredible and even some people here on the Island don’t know it exists! It was a beautiful setting for a beautiful sunset.