SOLDIERS have been drafted in to return a giant historic stone back to its original location.
Bagillt Heritage Society members have solicited the help of reserve troops from Prestatyn’s 119 Recovery Company to move the Garreg Etab, or ‘answering stone’, back to the position it once held on a mount overlooking the River Dee.
The group found the mysterious stone 100 feet away from where it should originally have stood, among the roots of a holly tree close to the bed of a stream.
Heritage society member Barry Doleman said: “It should have been standing at the top of the hill nearly 100 feet above [and moving the stone] was beyond the range of Land Rovers. The problem seemed insurmountable.
“The task of moving the stone had often been discussed but it’s a great weight and its position at the very bottom of a grassy ravine always proved to difficult until Warrant Officer Chris Worral came along.
“He had a quick site visit worked out a plan of action and said ‘no problem, we will do it for you’.”
Troops will arrive at 9am on Friday and will take about five hours to move the stone back to its previous location.
The Petrolheads Diner in Boot End, Bagillt will supply free maps to the site and will prepare a breakfast special to mark the occasion.
The heritage society had to search for three years before it found the elusive six foot stone after seeing references to it on old maps.
Members have since tried to understand why the stone was placed in Bagillt. Mr Doleman said: “We may never know who brought the stone here or who erected it.
“What we do know is that it has been brushed by the hand of time.
“How it arrived 1000 feet down the side of a Welsh meadow and who tossed it there may never be fully explained, but it doesn’t deserve to stay there.
“Some years ago a young geologist upon examining the stone declared the only place the stone could possibly come from was Penmaenmawr.
“If that is the case, who would possibly want to struggle all that way to Bagillt?”
He added: “Why and how did three tons of quartz end up on a hillside above Bagillt?
“We know that it once stood upright, proudly looking out over the River Dee, alongside the Coach Road close to Garreg Lydon, a Coach House between Holywell and Bagillt.”
Since discovering the stone, the society have considered a range of explanations as to what the purpose of the stone was.
Mr Doleman said: “Were they part of a Druid place of worship?
“Were they situated on a ley line?
“It was known to return echoes which attracted bulls in the mating season.
“They would roar out their challenge to all and sundry and, so the story goes, would be answered by the stone.
“The bulls would become unmanageable as they challenged their unseen competitor – some becoming so dangerous they had to be destroyed.”
He said the stone could also have links to a Roman road which is close-by, or with an ancient battlefield.