'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 Day, The Gathering III

Sunday 4th August 2019 @ Potarch Café & Restaurant

A Report on the Gathering 3 by Steve Gardner
Written for Stevie Shanks and Eric Fiorillo of Etched in Stone and Motivation & Muscle.

A Tale of Two Dinnies

The Dinnie Stones at the Gathering 2019.....featuring the first ever Donald Dinnie Games Event

Harking back to ancient times when men were men and stones were nervous ( and don’t get me wrong here, I mean men as in mankind and not the male of the species, because we also had members of the fairer sex taking part in these extraordinary feats of strength too! )
As with all notable Gatherings, the Pipe Band led the Competitors into the arena, and the Chieftain of the Gathering ( none other than the World famous Strength Historian and Authority on such matters: David Webster in his 93rd year) Officially Opened the event.

This years meeting was the third such gathering organised by Stevie Shanks ( Son of Dinnie Stones Legend: Jack Shanks - who was also on attendance) and huge thanks go out to all who helped and supported Stevie in this venture, especially the Ballogie Estate and the Event Sponsors and Coordinators, and Andy Cairney who supplied the event T Shirts.
In this the third year, Stevies vision was to run a Donald Dinnie Games, to celebrate the great man ‘Donald Dinnie’ who had been the first Worlds Sporting international Superstar, as he travelled the World competing and dazzling crowds with his Highland Games abilities to become undisputed Champion of the World in the 1800,s. As he had been such a great competitor, Stevies idea was that this event would Honour his memory, and I enjoyed our meetings and chats as we discussed ideas and decided on the events for the competition.
The Games was always going to be using and based around, Stones, keeping things very traditional! It was decided that the competitors would perform Stone Lifting, Stone Carrying, Stone Throwing and Stone Loading, in their quest to win the four event challenge to claim the title “1st Donald Dinnie Games Champion’

On the day eight strong men and true lined up to put themselves on the line: Neil Elliot, Sean Peatfield, Lewis Mclukie, Jamie Gorrian, Andy Cairney, Dean Kent, Matt Jones and Mark Haydock.... all Champions in their own sports ... Highland Games, Weightlifting, Strongman, Powerlifting and more, so nothing was a given here, it was going to be a new challenge for all of them and so it seemed any one of them could take the title.
In the event it was just as we all expected, it was very close all the way through with the lead changing consistently by a point here and a point there:
Event One - The Ballogie Stone Challenge....As Head Referee I was delighted to be supported by fellow Officials James Grahame and Martin Jancsics . In this event the athletes had to lift the huge 223 kilos stone scoring 2 points for breaking ground, 4 points for lapping the stone, 6 points for standing upright and 8 points for taking the stone to the shoulder...it was fascinating to see how some went for the upright stand mixed with lapping and some did the shoulder and some consistent on breaking the ground for regular two points scores. When it was over Sean Peatfield was the event winner scoring 60 points in the allotted 75 seconds.
Event Two - The Nicol Stones Carry coordinated by Brett Nicol using his stones which are a little lighter than the Dinnie Stones. The athletes had to lift and carry the stones side by side as far as possible, they were allowed to set the stones down once but then lift and carry on within ten seconds. As soon as the stones hit the ground the second time then that was the distance recorded. The winner of this event was Young Matt Jones with a distance of 30 feet and 6 inches.
Event Three - The Steintossen... throwing the mighty Rendrag Stone. The stone was provided by myself and I coordinated the event. The Rendrag Stone is a Viking Granite Mill Stone brought to the U.K. 30 years ago by myself from the Channel Islands. a monster 36lbs in weight. The rules for this event were simple, the thrower could use any method to propel the stone so long as they didn’t stand on or go over the stop board. It was interesting to see how everyone started with overhead reverse two hand throws, but then some started to try a running two hand putt which proved equally effective. The winner of this event was Neil Thomas with a throw of 24 feet one and a half inches, and Neil was presented with the Rendrag Stone Tankard as Winner which was sponsored by Steve and Karen Gardner.
Event Four - The Ardblair Stones, a well known event provided and coordinated by the ‘Gentleman of the Stones’ Charlie Blair-Oliphant. In this event the athletes raced to see who could load the most of the man hood stones up onto the barrels and in the best time. It was an exciting last event, and whilst several of the now tiring competitors managed 7 stones and a few did 8, the event was won by Andy Cairney who loaded all 9 Stones.
With all four events completed the points were totted up and the first winner of the Donald Dinnie Games was Jamie Gorrian with 24 points, just one point ahead of Sean Peatfield in Second, and again one point behind him was Andy Cairney in third. I take my hat off to all of the competitors for putting on an amazing spectacle, and again well done to Jamie a great and deserving Champion!
As if this was not enough excitement for one day, we also had official attempts on the Dinnie Stones Lift going on throughout the day, with lifters from all around the World climbing onto the platform...including USA South Africa, Canada, Italy, Ireland, England and Scotland. I was proud to have James Grahame and Strong-woman Emmajane Smith working with me as officials for these attempts! In all we had 15 attempts on the Dinnies, 8 successful and 7 not on this occasion, and one of the eight successes was another well known Strong Woman Donna Moore, straps assisted (and very close without straps too). We were also treated to a successful lift from Enzo Donadio from Italy, the Worlds oldest Dinnie Lifter at 64 years of age. That was not all, we had a Dinnie Carry attempt by Josh Brown who walked 6 feet 11 inches on the trailer carrying the Dinnies side by side and a Dinnies Hold attempt by Mitch Jackson who held them for 16.37 seconds.
There was also the Inver Stone Exhibition where Martin Jancsics and Jamie Gorrian gave a great demonstration of how to lift the famous Stone weighing 122 kilos- 268lbs, both shouldering the weight at which point Martin drew his phone with his free hand to take a Selfie ( as is his trademark now) in fact Jamie almost managed to press it above his head as well!
There is no doubt that the huge and appreciative crowd at Potarch were fully entertained and were present to see history in the making at ‘The Gathering 3 and the Dinnie Games’
A dream of Stevie Shanks’s came true, I think the big man up there would have been very proud indeed.... so Stevie, keep dreaming. God Bless you all, stay healthy and Strong, Steve Gardner

For a full set of photos from the day please visit Jim & Rosemary Splaine's Facebook pages - some great shots!

Click here to access a map to the location of the Dinnie Stanes at Potarch

Thine very truly D Dinnie

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