THEY loom up from the ground along our coastlines, appearing in the landscape like strange, abstracted figures watching our beaches. Some shorelines look like busy rock festivals, crowded with forms, staring perhaps out to sea, or poised in perfect balance, as if waiting to be caught by the wind.

Stone stacks now seem to be everywhere – infinitely Instagrammable, and, often virally shared. The creation of the perfect tower is almost as common an occupation now as sandcastle building.

Perhaps the most famous stone-stacker globally is the Canadian stone-balancer, Michael Grab, who says of his art, “It is a kind of yoga that unites the stones, the environment, and the practitioner. There is a moment I call the zero point at which I intuitively feel that the structure is in equilibrium. At that moment, there is no perceived separation between self and the environment.”

The East Lothian town of Dunbar is at the centre of this craze in Scotland, home to the European Stone Stacking championships, first set up there in 2016, by James Craig Page. The artist had come to stone stacking having seen examples of it shared online. He began trying it out himself, and found his arrangements becoming increasingly elaborate. “I often found nature,” he writes on his websiste, “was providing me with the next stone without any deliberate thought on my part.”

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Craig Page believes there are so many benefits to the meditative process of stone-stacking, and would even like to see it put on the national curriculum.

“It’s like a creative meditation,” he told me once. “As soon as you start to practice this and engage in it, you go into this very meditative state and you don’t think about the future – you’re just totally in the moment.”

He has even started doing workshops with children in schools. “It’s been remarkable. A lot of the children that are least attentive in the class, that have been labelled with ADHD seem to get it.”

Stone-stacking is a movement that has gathered momentum. In recent years the practice has become so ubiquitous that some have become concerned at the impact of all this stone-shifting on the environment, and warned those who practise it to do so responsibly.

This year the championship has been incorporated into a new week long European Land Art Festival or ELAF. The main stacking competitions take place on the weekend of July 9-10, at Eye Cave Beach, Dunbar.