After such a lovely bite to eat and the history lesson it was time to get back on the road towards Glen Etive and the stone of Dalness. Again it was a series of narrow winding roads eventually giving way to dual carriageways, some small villages and breath taking expanses of collections of water and greenery. The cars turned off the main road onto a very small tight road which looked as if it was taking us even further into the middle of no where. And then Peter pulled into a pull over point at the side of a small bridge. Getting out of the cars Peter pointed upwards towards a grassy verge where there it sat the stone of Dalness nestled between great hills with a river running at its feet. You really were in the wilderness trying to lift this one like some ancient Scottish tribesman out to test himself. Without peter`s help I don`t think we would have ever found this beautiful place of the stone that resides here. The stone was inspected to see how best to lift and to be frank I did think that it wasn`t going to be that challenging with a sense of disappointment creeping in.
How wrong was I?
I readied myself to lift the stone, getting down deep so that I could get a firm grasp similar to lifting my atlas stones at home. Then I lifted and slightly taken aback by how much heavier the stone felt compared to how heavy it looked. The stone is oval in shape (similar to a lot of the testing stones) and very compact but that ovalness lets you know its there by the way it wants to roll no matter where you sit it in your arms. After getting the stone up and in towards my knees and lap I started to push the hips through to force the stone up higher and onto my chest, at which point mid lift I decided it was going onto the shoulder, after so many disappointments with the other stones I was not going to let this one get the better of me in anyway shape or form. Up high on the chest and I started to shift the stone around onto my left shoulder and when it was there a sense of join, frustration, sheer excitement ripped through me. I had actually done it, finally I had beaten a stone. With heart pounding and the customary cheesy grin all across my face I got the stone back onto Terra Firma for Paul to try.
Paul went with his customary approach of pulling/rowing the stone up and onto his knees then he worked it up high onto his chest for what I thought was going to be the same shouldering of the stone as me. I was wrong, he sat the stone on his chest adjusted the position of his hands and with some back bend, dip of the knees and a drive of the hips pushed for all he could to get the stone pressed overhead. Unfortunately it didn`t happen, the stone refused to go any further than the 8-10 he had managed to push so far and back down it came to earth.
We both made a number of more attempts to lift the stone both up to the shoulders, I even managed a double shouldering on a single lift, and to press the stone overhead before calling it a day after the the usual photo shoot with the stone for posterity.
Unbeknown to the both of us as we posed for the pictures did we realise that the days adventure had just begun.
Steven. A. Barlow© 2010