Situated in the countryside around Baldernock, the Auld Wives Lifts are a local legend. Nobody is quite sure (or can agree) on what they are, what they were for, or how they got there.
The ancient configuration of three large stones, one balanced on top of the other two, is located in a natural amphitheater on a heather-covered moorland called Craigmaddie Muir about a mile due north (and slightly east) of the parish of Baldernock.
As well as many carved graffiti signatures by Victorian tourists, the rocks bear at least eight carved ‘green man’ faces that are believed to be extremely old. There is said to be a drain on top of the stone, through which spilled blood would have been channeled. The site was once surrounded by a circle of yew trees, and the hallucinogenic variety of mushrooms grow in the vicinity to this day (all these being Druidic clues).
The setting makes for an unsettling and powerful atmosphere. It has been speculated that the Auld Wives and their setting were a Pictish equivalent of the Roman Forum to the druids who worshipped there, a site of great religious significance at which human sacrifice could have taken place. Some geologists propose that the Auld Wives are an erratic, a chance configuration of boulders left by a glacier. It can be left up to the visitor’s discretion what they want to believe.
Know Before You Go
Approach only from the east across the high dry ground, thus preserving the privacy (and muddy tracks) of the farmer who lives next to the site. Whilst in the area it would also interesting to explore the nearby Linn caves at Blairskaith Linn which are a 15 minute walk away.