Strongmen lift “Dinnie Steens” to emulate Victorian strongman

Strongmen from all over the world gathered in Deeside yesterday to celebrate the life of their famous predecessor Donald Dinnie.

More than 500 visitors assembled at Potarch Bridge, near Kincardine O’Neil, to witness a magnificent show of strength as a new generation of leviathans emulated their hero by hoisting the “Dinnie Steens”.

The 733lb rocks have been the stuff of legend for strongmen the world over since Birse athlete Dinnie lifted and carried them the 17ft width of the Deeside bridge in 1860.

Yesterday competitors came from as far afield as America and Australia to take part in the inaugural Donald Dinnie Day, which came the day after the 150th Aboyne Highland Games and will now become an annual event.

Leading the field were Brian Irwin, from Ireland, and Mark Haydock, from England, who both lifted and carried the stones the full 17 steps across the bridge.

Chad Ullom, who had travelled from America, David Bagnall, from Ireland, and Ewan Massie, from Fraserburgh, and Chris Beetham, from Clackmannanshire, managed to lift and carry the stones some of the way.

Others who lifted the stones included Brett Nicol, Bryan Edwards, David Little, Charlie Blair Oliphant, Dean Kent, James Grahame, Ryan Stewart and Stevie Shanks, of Ireland, who was following in the footsteps of his dad Jack, who lifted them many years ago and was there to watch his son triumph.

Jim Splaine, from Bridge of Don, who holds the record for the most successful attempts, as well as being the lightest-ever lifter to move the stones, was involved in organising the event.

Mr Splaine, who lifted them 65 times between 1973 and 1994, said it had been a “fantastic day”.

He added: “It was a great atmosphere. More than 500 people turned up to watch which was a really good turnout.

“Most of the guys who came here have been lifting these stones for many years.

“Everyone involved in the Dinnie Stones was here – it was a fantastic day.”