Stepping stones

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Stepping stones
A rustic stepping stone bridge across a stream.
AncestorNone, this is one of the few foundational types, but see also: ford (crossing).
RelatedNatural stepping stone stream crossing
Descendant Clapper bridge, Zig-zag bridge, Log bridge
Carries Pedestrians
Span rangeHas no spans, but stones must be spaced to allow water flow and a comfortable step or leap
MaterialSelected stone
Design effortLow-rustic to Artisan applied art design
Falsework requiredNo

Stepping stones or stepstones are sets of stones arranged to form a simple bridge or causeway that allows a pedestrian to cross a natural watercourse, such as a river; or a water feature in a garden where water is allowed to flow between stone steps. [1] Unlike other bridges, they have no spans. Although their origin is unknown, stepping stones, along with log bridges, are likely to have been one of the earliest forms of crossing inland bodies of water devised by humans.


In traditional Japanese gardens, the term "iso-watari" refers to stepping stone pathways that lead across shallow parts of a pond. Using iso-watari for crossing ponds, or shallow parts of streams, one can view the fish and plants around or in the pond, like carp, turtles, and waterfowls. It works like a bridge, in a slower way of crossing.

Today, stepping stones are commonly used by mountaineers and hikers as a makeshift way of crossing uncharted or unanticipated streams and torrents. They may occur alongside a ford.

Historic stepping stones

The Drukken Steps in the Eglinton Woods of North Ayrshire in Scotland were a favourite haunt of poet Robert Burns and his companion Richard Brown, while the two were living in Irvine from 1781 to 1782. [2]

The name "Drukken" steps derives from a person's gait as they stepped from stone to stone whilst crossing the Red Burn. Seven or more stones were originally set in the Red Burn which was much wider than in 2009. [3]

Burns himself used the Scots spelling "Drucken" rather than "Drukken". [4] The ruins of the Drukken Steps are in the Eglinton Country Park.

A deadly version of stepping stones involving glass tiles is featured in the 2021 South Korean series Squid Game as the fifth game played in the series. [5]

See also

Related Research Articles

River Garnock

The River Garnock, the smallest of Ayrshire's six principal rivers, has its source on the southerly side of the Hill of Stake in the heart of the Clyde Muirshiel Regional Park. About a mile and a half south of this starting point the untested stream tumbles over the Spout of Garnock, the highest waterfall in Ayrshire, once thought to be the river's origin. The river then continues, for a total length of 20 miles (32 km) or so, through the towns of Kilbirnie, Glengarnock, Dalry and Kilwinning to its confluence with the River Irvine at Irvine Harbour.


Stanecastle was a medieval barony and estate in North Ayrshire, Scotland, first mentioned in 1363 and now part of the Irvine New Town project. Its nearest neighbours are Bourtreehill and Girdle Toll.

Dunlop, East Ayrshire Human settlement in Scotland

Dunlop is a village and parish in East Ayrshire, Scotland. It lies on the A735, north-east of Stewarton, seven miles from Kilmarnock. The road runs on to Lugton and the B706 enters the village from Beith and Burnhouse.

Kerelaw Castle

Kerelaw Castle is a castle ruin owned by surviving male descendant of the Hamilton family, Logan Neely. It is situated on the coast of North Ayrshire, Scotland in the town of Stevenston.

Eglinton Castle

Eglinton Castle was a large Gothic castellated mansion in Kilwinning, North Ayrshire, Scotland.

River Irvine River in southwest Scotland

The River Irvine is a river that flows through southwest Scotland. Its watershed is on the Lanarkshire border of Ayrshire at an altitude of 810 feet (250 m) above sea-level, near Loudoun Hill, Drumclog, and 7 miles SW by W of Strathaven. It flows 29+12 mi (47.5 km) westward, dividing the old district of Cunninghame from that of Kyle, until it reaches the sea via Irvine Harbour in the form of the Firth of Clyde, and flows into Irvine Bay by the town of Irvine. It has many tributaries, some of which form parish, district and other boundaries.

Eglinton Country Park

Eglinton Country Park is located in the grounds of the old Eglinton Castle estate, Kilwinning, North Ayrshire, Scotland. Eglinton Park is situated in the parish of Kilwinning, part of the former district of Cunninghame, and covers an area of 400 ha. The central iconic feature of the country park is the ruined Eglinton Castle, once home to the Eglinton family and later the Montgomeries, Earls of Eglinton and chiefs of the Clan Montgomery. Eglinton Country Park is managed and maintained by North Ayrshire Council and its Ranger Service.

Benslie is a small village in North Ayrshire, in the parish of Kilwinning, Scotland. Map reference NS 336 429.


Fergushill is a small community in North Ayrshire, Parish of Kilwinning, Scotland. The Barony of Fergushill was held by the Fergushill family of that Ilk and the area has a complex history.


Montgreenan is an estate in North Ayrshire, Parish of Kilwinning, Scotland. The Lugton Water runs through the policies and farmland of Montgreenan. Nearby are the hamlets of Torranyard and Auchentiber.

Eglinton Tournament Bridge

The Eglinton Tournament Bridge is a bridge located within Eglinton Country Park near Kilwinning, North Ayrshire, Scotland. The bridge crosses the Lugton Water a short distance northwest of Eglinton Castle and was named after the Eglinton Tournament of 1839. The castle and surrounding grounds were once home to the Montgomerie family, Earls of Eglinton and chiefs of the Clan Montgomery.

Robert Burns and the Eglinton Estate

During the years 1781–1782, at the age of 23, Robert Burns (1759–1796) lived in Irvine, North Ayrshire for a period of around 9 months, whilst learning the craft of flax-dressing from Alexander Peacock, who may have been his mother's half-brother, working at the heckling shop in the Glasgow Vennel. Dr John Cumming of Milgarholm, a provost of Irvine, claimed that he had invited Burns to come to Irvine to learn flax dressing. During this time he made a number of acquaintances, befriended several locals and took regular walks into the Eglinton Woods via the old Irvine to Kilwinning toll road and the Drukken or Drucken (Drunken) Steps. Steps over the Red Burn and back via the site of Saint Brides or Bryde's Well at Stanecastle. Burns had several other connections with the Eglinton Estate and other branches of the Montgomerie family. He probably left in March 1782.

Drukken Steps

The Drukken, Drucken Steps or Drunken Steps were stepping stones across the Red Burn in Irvine, North Ayrshire, Scotland and are associated with Scotland's national poet, Robert Burns. Drukken is used on the commemorative cairn plaque, but Druken or Drucken may also be used.


Failford is a hamlet in South Ayrshire, Scotland. It is 4 kilometres (2.5 mi) west of Mauchline, where the Water of Fail flows into the River Ayr.

Littlestane Loch Former lake in Irvine, Scotland

Littlestane Loch, was situated in the mid-Ayrshire clayland near Stanecastle, Irvine, North Ayrshire, Scotland. It is nowadays (2011) only visible as an area of permanent water in the Scottish Wildlife Trust Sourlie Nature Reserve. The loch was natural, sitting in a hollow created by glaciation. The loch waters outflow was via the Red Burn that flows into the River Garnock. The site of Littlestane Loch site is partly built over and much of the site is now public open space lying within the Parish of Girdle Toll.

Kiyosumi Garden

Kiyosumi Garden is a traditional Japanese stroll garden located in Fukagawa, Tokyo. It was constructed along classic principles in 1878–85, during the Meiji Period, by the shipping financier and industrialist Iwasaki Yatarō. By subtle hints in path construction and placement the visitor is led on a walk around the lake. Water-worn boulders were brought in from all over Japan, to give the garden its character; hills and dry waterfalls were constructed with them and two sequences of them form stepping-stones (isowatari) across small inlets of the lake, which almost completely fills the garden, allowing a pathway of many picturesque episodes around its perimeter. In fact only a narrow band of perimeter planting screens the garden from the structures along Kiyosumi Dori. There are three big islands and a teahouse on the pond. The garden covers an area of about 81,000 square metres.

Haugh, East Ayrshire Human settlement in Scotland

Haugh or The Haugh is a small village or hamlet in East Ayrshire, Parish of Mauchline, Scotland. The habitation is situated about two and a half miles downstream from Catrine, on the north bank of the River Ayr. The River Ayr Way runs through the village.

Haining Place and the Barony of Haining-Ross

Haining Place or The Haining in the Parish of Kilmarnock lies near an old fording place across the Cessnock Water in East Ayrshire, Parish of Riccarton, Scotland. Hanyng (sic) was the caput or laird's dwelling of the Barony of Haining-Ross with a tower house or keep located in a defensive position on a high promontory of land, half encircled by the river. Later Haining Place may have been a dower house, then a tenanted farm, finally being used as farm workers accommodation. Haining Place is now a ruin following a fire. The old farm of Haining Mains is still located nearby.

Lands of Borland Human settlement in Scotland

The Lands of Borland formed an estate lying between Aiket Castle and the town of Dunlop, East Ayrshire, Parish of Dunlop, Scotland. The laird's house at Borland stood near the Sandy Ford over the Glazert Water. The names Bordland, Boreland, Borland, Laigh Borland, Low Borland and Nether Borland have all been applied to the site of the laird's house.

Wallaces Heel Well

Wallace's Heel Well or Wallace's Heel is located beside the River Ayr (NS35502122) near the old Holmston lime kiln, Ayr, Scotland. It is a petrosomatoglyph said to represent the imprint of a heel and is associated with the story of an escape from English soldiers made by the Scottish hero William Wallace.


  1. "Glossary of Trail and Greenway Terms". South Carolina State Trails Program. 2008. Retrieved 5 January 2014.
  2. Love, Dane (2003), Ayrshire : Discovering a County. Ayr : Fort Publishing. ISBN   0-9544461-1-9
  3. King, Robert (2009). Oral Communication.
  4. "Robert Burns Country: Scotch Drink :".
  5. Akula, Lakshay (2021-10-21). "The Squid Game glass bridge game explained with probability". Medium. Retrieved 2021-11-04.