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19 December 2012
Uncertain future of Sighthill stone circle

At the top of an inner city hill in Glasgow, Scotland, 17 stones form the first astronomically aligned circle to be built in Britain for nearly 3000 years. Politics stopped it being fully completed 33 years ago. Now the future of the landmark could be in doubt as Glasgow prepares to make a bid for the Youth Olympics 2018. Duncan Lunan, the man who project managed the original development, said: "In the proposal for Glasgow to host the 2018 Youth Olympics is to flatten Sighthill."
     In the late 1970s, the national Jobs Creation Scheme offered £4m to the city of Glasgow and its parks department on the condition that a series of special projects be created. The council put together a school astronomy competition. The winning idea was to build a copy of an ancient site in one of the city's parks.
     Duncan says: "So what I had to do was find a site in the city and design something to fit according to the ancient principles." It was to be dedicated to four contemporary academics with links to Glasgow: Professor Alexander Thom; Dr Archie Thom; Professor Archie Roy and Dr Euan MacKie.
     On 20 March, 1979, the stones - the heaviest weighing four tonnes - were set into the ground. Duncan said: "They gave the local schools the day off and thousands of cheering children turned out. It was a big, big event.
     Duncan said: "It unfortunately attracted the attention of the newly elected Conservative government and the project was denounced in the House of Commons. At that point the main structure had been built but we had four remaining stones which are still lying up there to this day."
     There are three petitions circulating to save the circle. Duncan said: "I would encourage the public to sign the petition, write to the media, write to the council, keep your eye open for events and attend them to make your support known.
     Midwinter solstice takes place on Friday, December 21, and Duncan will be taking people to the circle to see the sun set at 3.30pm. Further information is available at http://www.sighthillstonecircle.net/ along with Duncan's book, "The Stones and the Stars", which details the project.

Edited from STV Glasgow (17 December 2012)

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