Out & About …

… on the North York Moors, or wherever I happen to be.

Auld Wives Lifts

Craigmaddie Muir is a boggy heather moor in the Lennox Hills. The name, Craigmaddie, means ‘Rock of God’ but it is the Auld Wives Lifts that provides a geological curiosity.

The Lifts are two massive boulders side by side, with a third, eighteen feet long and weighing some 60 tons, lying across them. It is said that three wives had a bet on who was the strongest. And bear in mind that a wife is a Scottish euphemism for a witch. The first wife picked up a boulder in her apron and carried it to the muir. The second wife picked up a boulder, and placed it next to the first. The third wife picked up a bigger boulder still and placed it on top on the other two.

Of course the placement of the boulders might well be natural. Both a melting glacier or the weathering of a sandstone tor are perfectly feasible explanations. Others contend that man’s work might explain the unusual configuration, placed by Druids as an altar stone, not entirely impossible considering the construction of Stonehenge.

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