Truly privileged to have a blog entry from a stone lifter in Denmark. Peter has recently lifted the only known lifting stone in the land of the Vikings. His story and pictures are below.
On June 15th 2015, I visited The Open Air Museum, just north of Copenhagen, Denmark. I am an avid stone lifter, and therefore wasn´t there to study old artifacts – I was there to attempt the lift of Mules Old Lifting Stone, which up until now, is the only known traditional Danish lifting stone. I am sure that there has been a number of lifting stones here in Denmark aka. The Cradle of Vikings, but apparently not so anymore. At least, they are not re-discovered…. Yet…
I visited Scotland in 2014, where I succeeded in lifting The Inver Stone, The Testing Stone of The Fianna and The Menzies Stone, all to chest height. I am in no way saying that those traditional Scottish lifting stones were easy, not at all, in fact I had a hard time lifting all of them, but Mules Old Lifting Stone really proved to be in a league of its own. It is a very, very heavy and awkward stone to lift, and I received more than a few bumps, cuts and bruises on the way.
The museum had a few notes on the stone, and apparently this particular stone was originally from the Fareo Islands, where it was used to test any visitor’s strength, who made his or her way into the village. Mules Old Lifting Stone was meant to be held above ground for time, and the lifter who could hold it for the longest time won. As an aside, it is worth mentioning, that the traditional lifting stones of the Fareo Islands are divided into three categories: Hero/Legend, Strongman and Milkmaid. The Hero/Legend category consists of stones, which have never been lifted by any man, but according to folklore once were lifted by Gods and Heroes. The Strongman category stones are mostly around 150 kg and above, and as the title implies; only a “strong man” can lift them. The Milkmaid category is obviously stones, which can and should be lifted by women.
After arriving at the museum, I was led to the stone by the museum inspector and keeper of the
stone, Anja. She was very interested in the lift, since no one in this time and age had ever succeeded or even attempted to lift the stone. The stone resides a few minutes’ walk from the main entrance, and it presents itself to the lifter by being extremely hard to even roll around or upend. I struggled for some time, and finally I got my break and upended Mules Old Lifting Stone, where after I grabbed it in a modified bear hug and managed to lift it approx 3-5 cm above ground, followed by a 3-4 seconds hold, while hanging on for dear life!
I estimate the stones weight to be between 150 - 175 kg, possibly even heavier. It is very heavy, very unbalanced and has a very odd weight distribution. And it is also important to mention that it is to be lifted on a very uneven ground – not the steepest hill by any means, but nonetheless something to take into account when scaling the difficulty of the lift. On the plus side it has some sharp edges and good gripping points.
The people at the museum are very keen on trying to discover more of the history connected to this and also other lifting stones and they welcome all members of the Brotherhood of Stone to try and lift it, so that the stones legend can be continued. Keeper of the stone is Anja Jorgensen, who can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org. In a couple of weeks Anja will write an article for the local newspaper, where she will describe my visit.
Even though Denmark is on the other side of the globe, as in Scandinavia, Europe, I hope that you all will consider visiting Mules Old Lifting Stone and attempt it, since it really needs some
attention. It would be interesting to see, what a strong and well accomplished Highland Games
athlete could do with this old Viking brute of a nature stone.
Finally a big thank you to keeper of the traditional Scottish lifting stones, Peter Martin, since he
were the one, who found out about Mules Old Lifting Stone and its location.