Bunnet Stane – Gateside, Scotland - Atlas Obscura

Gateside, Scotland

Bunnet Stane

This unusual rock looks like a giant, otherworldly mushroom sprouting atop a cave. 

A strange rock formation pokes skyward within a Scottish park. It looks like some sort of massive mushroom that has been magically turned into stone.

The Bunnet Stane (or Bonnet Stone) is a distinctively shaped rock outcrop in Fife, Scotland. The stone is about 20 feet long, 10 feet wide, and just over three feet thick.

The stone’s appearance as a strangely balancing rock has led to intriguing theories about its origins. Legends claim the rock served as a Pictish king’s tombstone or a Druid altar. However, the rock’s warped look is actually just the result of natural erosion.

Beneath the Bunnet Stane, carved into the rock, is a human-made cave known as the Maiden’s Bower. It supposedly takes its name from a romantic story in which a young woman, after seeing her lover ambushed and killed near the rock, chose to live there for the rest of her life. However, more likely explanations are that the cave was the first excavation (the “maiden bore”) of a 19th-century geological survey, or that it was created as a bothy for shepherds.

Know Before You Go

There is a small carpark on the road to the north of the stone. From there, follow the path along the edge of the fields towards the stone. It can be muddy, so wear appropriate boots.

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