Is there a test of strength more pure than putting the wind beneath a natural stone?
to the Dinnie Stones Website
Where the Legend Continues
More people have successfully summited Everest WITHOUT oxygen (200 people) than have lifted the Dinnie Stones!
Donald Dinnie Day, The Gathering VI 2022
Dinnie Stones lifting attempts for 2022 are now available for booking. Please visit the Set Up Your Lift page for details on how to book and for details of upcoming lifts and available dates.
Donald Dinnie Day, The Gathering VI has been confirmed for Sunday 7th August 2022 at Potarch. Please keep an eye on the News page for more details.
Rediscovered by David Webster OBE in 1953, The Dinnie Steens as they are known locally are 2 giant granite boulders located outside the Old Potarch Hotel between Aboyne & Banchory, Aberdeenshire, Scotland. Together they weigh 332.49Kg or 733Lbs in old money. The 'smaller' of the stones weighs 144.47kg (318.5lbs) and the larger a massive 188.02kg (414.5lbs).
Legendary Scottish strongman Donald Dinnie was born at Birse by Aboyne in 1837, the son of stonemason, Robert Dinnie. Donald Dinnie was the world's first sporting superstar and achieved international fame from his exploits around the world.
In the 1830’s huge iron rings were attached to the stones so that they could act as counterweights for scaffolding during the maintenance of Potarch Bridge.
Now ordinary folk would struggle to lift even the smallest Dinnie Stone, however in 1860 Donald Dinnie famously carried them both with his bare hands across the width of Potarch Bridge – a distance of 17' 1 1/2"!!
The challenge went unanswered for over 100 years until 1972, when Belfast man Jack Shanks, weighing just 11 1/2 stone, successfully hoisted the giant boulders with his bare hands. He returned the following year and walked himself into the history books by recreating Dinnie's feat and proving to the world that it could be done. Few have successfully lifted both Dinnie Stones unassisted over the years since Dinnie, showing just how difficut a task it is. Carrying them unassisted remains the Ultimate challenge!
To date the Dinnie Stones have only ever been lifted and carried over the distance barehanded by 7 men:- Donald's father Robert Dinnie (according to Donald's own account), Donald Dinnie himself in 1860 then Jack Shanks in 1973. Pro Strong Man competitor Mark Felix successfully completed the challenge at the Aboyne Games in 2014. On Sunady August the 6th 2017 at The Gathering Brian Irwin from Belfast, Northern Ireland and Mark Haydock from Preston, England added their names to the history books by successfully carrying the Steens across Potarch Bridge. Pete Seddon is the latest to add his name to the list by successfully carrying the stones across Potarch Bridge on 18th April 2018.
In recent times two modern era challenges have emerged. One is to lift and hold the stones for time. This was first introduced at the Aboyne Hughland Games in August 2016 by Drs Terry & Jan Todd and David Webster OBE. The first holder of the record was James Gardner with a very impressive 12.8 seconds. This has been pushed out to an incredible 46.2 seconds by Mark Haydock. A further challenge to evolve has been to pick the stones up in a farmers walk style and walk as far as possible without seting them down. This record is currently held by one of the most loved British strongman competitors ever and former Europe's strongest man, Laurence Shahlaei at 14 feet 10 inches.
The Potarch Hotel was closed for renovations in 2013 and the Steens were held in care by the Aboyne Highland Games committee. Renovations are now complete and in August 2016 the Steens were returned to their historical home in the new Potarch Cafe & Restaurant where they can now be seen and enjoyed by strength athletes the world over.
Have you lifted the stones? Please feel free to contact us with details of your adventure along with photos and / or links to videos and we will be delighted to add your name and welcome you to the Brotherhood of the Stones.
Click here to access the Google Maps location of the Dinnie Stanes at Potarch
Sponsored by The Stark Center for Physical Culture & Sports