WORK to uproot Glasgow’s Stone Circle as part of a £250 million revamp project has begun.
The first of 17 stones in the Sighthill Megalith was pulled from the ground yesterday.
All of the standing stones, which form the astrological monument created Sighthill Park in 1979, will be plucked from the ground and laid flat in a temporary home before being rearranged in another area of the park, south east of the current site.
The work at Sighthill park is part of a five-year project, due to finish in 2019, which also involves tackling a foul stench from chemical waste which plagues the area as well as building 800 homes and a new footbridge across the M8 connecting to the city centre.
Improved parkland, allotments and public spaces are also part of the large-scale scheme.
The Megalith, made of Whinstone, is Britain’s first stone circle built according to the alignment of the stars in several thousand years.
It was established by the Glasgow Parks Department Astronomy Project and guided by Scottish author Duncan Lunan.
The stones were originally winched into place by a Royal Navy Sea King helicopter, after being transported to Sighthill on a lorry from a quarry in Kilsyth.
Mr Lunan, 70, who lives in Troon, said the new location is the area he first picked out at the start of the project in 1979 but it wasn’t deemed suitable at the time.
He hopes the move will give him the chance to improve the monument.
Mr Lunan said: “When it was first created we had the use of the helicopter for just 10 days so I had a relatively short amount of time to spend ensuring the stones were in the places that had been plotted out.
“I am hoping that I will have a year to work on it before the circle is reconstructed.
“This will give me more time than I had the first time around.”
The monument is made up of solar, star, lunar and a central stone.
Watching the first stone being removed Mr Lunan said: “It is very strange to see.”
Local people fought to save the Stone Circle when it was feared it might be threatened by the development and 6,300 people signed a petition started by Mr Lunan calling for the council to scrap plans to “demolish” the circle.
The Megalith sits atop a hill in park which overlooks the city.
It has become popular with local people and is used as a site to scatter ashes with some leaving small tributes and memorials to those who have passed away.
They have now been lifted and taken into safekeeping and the top spoil surrounding the stones has been to be carefully removed and will be laid down again at the new monument site.
Gareth Dillon, contracts manager for VHE Construction, told the Evening Times: “This was a huge responsibility.
“The soil represents the place where people have been laid to rest and that was very much in the forefront of our minds.
“We did not allow for the machinery to be placed on top of the soil as this would not have been respectful.
“As far as projects go this is one of the most unique we have been involved in.
“There are a lot of different aspects to consider.”
A cobbled path which surrounded the standing stones has also been removed and placed in a temporary site ahead of the relocation.
Just a few feet from the Megalith, contractors from Balfour Beatty are working to fill an underground rail tunnel that previously ran from beneath the park to Buchanan Street station.
Contractors from VHE are also attempting to tackle the foul smell which has plagued the area for years, caused by contamination from an old soda works.
The “rotten egg” stench is caused by insoluble waste called galligu produced by the plant.
It is piled in heaps in the park area and releases toxic hydrogen sulfide - which causes the odour - when it rains.
To combat the stink, contractors are removing the soil and moving it to another area where it will be contained by a large slurry wall, then capped to seal it off.
Sighthill is the largest of eight Transformational Regeneration Areas (TRAs) in Glasgow.
The Sighthill overhaul was proposed as part of a bid for the area to host the Youth Olympic Games in 2018.
Despite the city’s unsuccessful bid, the proposals presented are virtually unchanged and work is said to be progressing ahead of schedule.