Earlier this year I came face to face with a man I have wanted to meet for awhile. He stands alone in a field in Fife, where he has stood for 1500 years. He is naked, with a cheeky bit of bum peaking out from behind his rectangular shield. (But not nearly as cheeky as the “Tulloch Man” stone found a couple years ago during road works on the A9 near Perth!) He is walking to the left, and holding a spear. Was he carved to depict an actual individual? If so, who? I couldn’t make it out that day but there is a small arch over what is believed to be a Pictish Beast around the side of the stone. There may be significance to this pairing as well, when compared to other Pictish Stones.
I didn’t have eyes on the stone from the roads, I just knew I was close, so I stopped at the farm that looked closest on the map. A person there informed me that while it is close to them it isn’t actually on their land and gave me directions to the farmhouse where I might find the landowner. I found my way to that farm which was on another road and luckily the farmer was in the driveway. He gave me instructions of how to drive to the best spot to pull off the road and then the series of gates to walk through and turns to take. I was very grateful for the tips and found it easily with his instruction and of course closed gates behind me. His sheep were having an important meeting around one of the gates, and I offered my sincerest apologies to them for the interruption.
The stone stands near a narrow strip of trees, still in its original location. At 9 feet tall it commands attention. It took a bit to find the carvings, and most of them were covered with lichen but I could definitely make out a foot (pictured up close) and then slowly more. To help you visualise our handsome warrior, I’ve added a photo from Canmore (with permission under their usage terms for educational blogs.)
This great warrior now battles the elements, and raises the ever present question, should more be done to protect it? This almost always boils down to money, and I hope that we can continue to raise awareness of these amazing treasures and preserve them for future generations. After meeting him in person, I have little doubt he will find a spot amongst the growing list of characters in my Pictish novel :)
Please note: I am intentionally vague about the location. This is not to be difficult or withholding. A bit of mystery when finding something is part of the excitement of exploring, and I don't want to share exact locations to be shared far and wide. I also believe that this helps protect the sites from vandalism if their locations aren't plastered all over the internet. But if you are planning to visit please feel free to send me a message and I would be happy to help you out!