It’s now been about six weeks since Steven the Scottish stone master started working with us, and we have become somewhat stone-crazy at Monte da Vida. Steven’s enthusiasm for stone is infectious, and also makes a lot of sense.


Stone is abundant, cheap and long-lasting. What I did not realise is just how much stone is required to build with. Steve likes to use big stones, rolling and wrestling them into place, and it amazes me just how quickly the piles of stone get eaten up as they get arranged into walls.

stone detail

We have stone on the land, but not enough of the size and quality we need. So we have also been buying in stone by the truckload from wherever we can find it. There is now a burst of excitement when we come across a big pile of chunky stones on a roadside or at a builders merchants. We have to follow every lead to keep the stones coming.

stone delivery

Servan has caught the stone bug and has already started building a stone circle and some stone steps.

The stone circle site

The stone circle site


I am loving how the hillside where the building is taking place is being enhanced and sculpted by stone, mud and human hands in such a harmonious and timeless way.

Steven writes about his work:

Standing on this ball of rock, I feel honoured to reassemble the stones on display. Nature left them lying around and I get to shuffle them randomly into unique infinite patterns. Can’t imagine doing anything else as satisfying as piling stones that may last millenia, or at least centuries, when properly built.
This stone puzzle playing keeps me outdoors and I have worked in many an isolated scenic place. Eating and sleeping well come naturally with this work or one wouldn’t last long.
I build stones that men have built thousands of years before. Who knows the history of a stone, if they could talk?
When one gets into doing this work, at some point one enters what I call the “stone zone” , where time flows differently, where the subconscious mind finds peace in the timeless artistic outpouring.