Never to young to learn was the essence of the Big Draw family activity in the Grounds of the Bowes Museum on Saturday 28th October 2012. Professional sculptors and letter carvers provided hands-on demonstrations to all ages on the art of stone lettering.
Nearby, a huddle of spectators took vantage points on the Barnard Castle War Memorial to witness the first ever lift of the New Teesdale Feat Stone. The strongman event challenged all-comers to lift a rounded whinstone boulder from ground level onto a bench. All agreed that the boulder recovered from the nearby River Tees and estimated to weigh around 20 stones ( Approximately 115kg) was a “good un” as it has was well rounded with no natural grasp points and just sufficiently irregularly shaped as to put the lifter off balance.
For over an hour competitors pitted their strength against the stone, attempting a variety of holds and techniques until the stone was up-ended and with a mighty bear hug grasp, North East’s strongman Allen McGee from Spennymoor achieved the first Teesdale Feat.
Feat Stones Historic Note:
With a tradition of stone lifting in Scotland, The lake district and Wales, many have attributed feat stones to be either of Nordic or Celtic origin. (It just may be that geologically these were the areas where stones were available?) Recently, through the efforts of former British Power lifting champion Roger Davis, who is seen opposite “breaking the ground” during his attempt to lift the Teesdale Stone, the traditions of feat stone lifting have been researched and revived.