VIDEO: Watch 11-stone weightlifter enter Deeside history after tackling 52-stone Dinnie Steens

A father-and-son have written themselves into Deeside history after completing their story with the legendary “Dinnie Steens”.

Stevie Shanks travelled from Belfast to Potarch Lodge at the weekend to lift the two stones at their historic home on the banks of the River Dee.

His father, Jack Shanks, is credited with being the first person to lift and then carry them unassisted exactly the same distance as strongman Donald Dinnie did in 1860, a feat which the policeman achieved in 1973.

The “steens” made their way into the history books after legendary athlete Dinnie carried them 17ft across the Potarch Bridge.

The pair are believed to be the only father-and-son to have accomplished the feat since Dinnie and his dad.

Mr Shanks jun fulfilled a lifelong ambition in 2015 by lifting the 733lb stones in Aboyne Green after overcoming Guillain Barre syndrome.

However, the 53-year-old drummer was not content with his first lift.

Soon after, he set his sights on a better attempt which put “wind beneath the stones” – and on doing so at the same spot where Dinnie and then his father made history.

On Saturday, in front of a supportive crowd of family and onlookers, Mr Shanks jun lifted the stones and held them for five seconds.

Stevie Shanks embraces his father, Jack Shanks, after his successful lift at Potarch. Credit: Colin Rennie.
Stevie Shanks embraces his father, Jack Shanks, after his successful lift at Potarch. Credit: Colin Rennie.
Stevie Shanks lifting the Dinnie Steens. Credit: Colin Rennie.
Stevie Shanks lifting the Dinnie Steens. Credit: Colin Rennie.

The Northern Irish powerlifter weighs a mere 156lb, just a fraction of the two stones combined, and hoisted them on his third attempt on the day.

He was joined in taking on the stones by Aberdeen strongman, Ben Thomson, and Ayrshire lifter, John Pollock.

Mr Shanks jun said the Dinnie and Shanks families would now be linked forever.

He added: “Back in the day, you had to put the wind beneath the stones. The first couple of attempts they came off the ground and I was repeating what I did in 2015, on the third try everything felt right. I was not giving up.

“It means more to me than I could even begin to describe. That is the Shanks story.

“The stones’ history is here at Potarch, that is where it lives. To come and be successful at the place where Dad did it is nice. I think at the same time there is the feeling that a wee penny is in place.”

Stevie and Jack Shanks on the Dinnie Steens. Credit: Colin Rennie.
Stevie and Jack Shanks on the Dinnie Steens. Credit: Colin Rennie.

Mr Shanks sen said: “It is just so amazing, all these years gone by. It is just lovely to see him doing them.

“It wasn’t just getting them up and down, that was a proper lift. He has got it correct, the last time he wasn’t satisfied.”

Aberdeen strongman Ben Thomson said lifting the Dinnie Steens had been a goal for him since he started out in weightlifting.

Aberdeen's Ben Thomson takes on the stones. Credit: Colin Rennie.
Aberdeen’s Ben Thomson takes on the stones. Credit: Colin Rennie.
John Pollock lifts the Dinnies. Picture by Colin Rennie.
John Pollock lifts the Dinnies.
Picture by Colin Rennie.

The 26-year-old carried out the feat on Saturday with his wife, Kyla, and children, Avery and Charlie, watching on.

He said: “I had only ever lifted them one at a time. It is something I have wanted to do ever since I started as a strongman, to get there finally is good.

“It was much better to do it this way instead of me just coming and doing it myself.”

He is moving to the US permanently this week and will be competing at the 2017 Arnold Sports Festival, in Columbus, Ohio.

The gathering was also attended by three Dinnie Stone lifters of the 1970s – Jim Splaine, Mr Shanks sen and Imlach Shearer – reunited for the first time in 45 years at Potarch.

Shanks4

John Pollock, of Kilwinning – also known by his weightlifting nickname “the machine” – said he had tackled several of the Scottish lifting stones – but the Dinnies were the most famous of them all.

The 40-year-old said it “touches the heart” to witness the personal connection felt between the Shanks family and the stones.

He added: “It is such an honour especially with Jack here and Jim. I’ve seen pictures of these guys doing it 40 years ago. I have got to treat them with respect.

“I come from a background of lifting stones, these are right up there with the most famous ones you can get in Scotland.”

Jack Shanks lifting and carrying the Dinnie Steens a7ft unsupported in 1973 - the first to do so since Donald Dinnie himself in 1860.
Jack Shanks lifting and carrying the Dinnie Steens a7ft unsupported in 1973 – the first to do so since Donald Dinnie himself in 1860.
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