The Criccieth Stone
Y Garreg Orchest — more commonly known as the Criccieth Stone is the most well-known lifting stone in Wales. The egg-shaped stone weighs 177.5kg (391lbs) making it the heaviest historic Welsh stone too. It’s instantly recognisable thanks to its noticable broken chunk.
An event is held at Criccieth Memorial Hall each year to challenge lifters to lift the stone. Outside of the event lifters can make arrangements with the caretaker to attempt a lift of the stone and have it recorded in the guestbook.
There are three levels of lift:
- Break the ground (put wind beneath the stone)
- To the chest
- To the shoulder
The sign next to the stone outlines the stone lift rules:
- Treat the stone with respect
- No lifting aids, straps, etc may be used
- No Tacky or sticky substances
- Chalk may be used
- Replace the stone where you found it
- Be proud of your attempt
- Sign the guestbook
These rules are basic etiquette for natural stone lifting, but it’s a nice reminder next to the stone.
In Wales, stonelifting was a common practice performed by young boys as a rite of passage into manhood, similar to the Scottish stone lifting culture. Once a young boy could lift the stone to his waist he was considered a man.
The Criccieth stone was used as a testing stone to determine the strength of the strongest man in the area. It’s also the heaviest (traditional style) historic lifting stone in Wales.
David Lloyd George — Prime Minister of the UK between 1916 and 1922 — is said to have been inspired by the stone to enter politics. He laid the foundation stone of the Criccieth Memorial Hall in 1922 where the stone now sits.
So far, only one man has shouldered the stone — Wales’ Mark Jeanes.
The Criccieth stone is kept in a locked box outside of the Criccieth Memorial Hall, where it has been kept for about 100 years.
The precise location is on our map.