Icelandic Trolls, Rock Balancers and Responsible Mountaincraft
These stacked stones on a cairn on the plateau of Kinder Scout reminded me of a walking holiday in Iceland a few years ago. There I saw many little stone towers, and was told by locals that they were said to be built by trolls. I quite like this piece of folklore, but I’m not sure if it can explain the stones on Kinder Scout.
Recently I came across the concept of stone balancing which might do more to explain things. I have to admit that I was sceptical of it as an art form, until I saw this website which converted me: http://www.rock-on-rock-on.com/
In many mountain areas of the UK cairn building and cairn removal have become a problem. New cairns have reduced the usefulness of those that are placed to aid navigation, and the large numbers of people adding to cairns can cause problems with habitat/erosion. On the other hand the altering or removal of cairns has also caused problems. Having been brought up always to add to cairns in the interest of responsible mountaincraft, I now find myself encouraging people not to do so for the same reason.
This article explains some of the issues: National Trust Fell Rangers: Cairns, a help or a hinderance?