'On the granite stone bridge that crosses the River Dee at Potarch there were, and still are, two large stones weighing about 8cwt the pair, placed in a recess'. Donald Dinnie 1860

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Donald Dinnie





Is there a test of strength more pure than putting the wind beneath a natural stone?

Welcome to the Dinnie Stones Website
Where the Legend Continues

In light of current events, all scheduled lifts from now until June will be postponed. In addition the Gathering 2020 Committee have taken the difficult decision to cancel this year's Donald Dinnie Day scheduled for Sunday 2nd August.
Our main priority is to safeguard the welfare of everyone involved including spectators and competitors. To do this we must adhere to current government guidelines.
We shall see you all in 2021,
stay home �� stay safe ❤️
stay strong! ����

We would like to take this time to thank Jim & Rosemary Splaine who have been keeping our Donald Dinnie spirits raised with their excellent photos and videos! Good luck with all your training ahead!

Click here for a full report on Donald Dinnie Day, The Gathering III, by head referee Steve Gardner.

Click here for the Scores and Results from The Gathering III

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 August the 6th 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 4 time World's Strongest Man & 3 time Arnold Strongman Classic winner, Brian Shaw at 11 feet 6.5 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 a map to the location of the Dinnie Stanes at Potarch

Thine very truly D Dinnie

The Old Potarch Hotel. Now the Potarch Cafe & Restaurant and location of the Dinnie Stanes

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