An American tourist has smashed the record for a famous weight lifting challenge – the Dinnie Steens at Potarch.
Bryan Hunsaker, 36, from Salt Lake City, Utah, heard about the legendary 733lb stones when he saw they were appearing at the Arnold Schwarzenegger festival this year in Ohio.
Weightlifter Mr Hunsaker – who was born in London – was already planning a holiday in the UK but decided to make the trip to Potarch to “give them a go” whilst he was in the vicinity.
But he did rather more than that – holding the stones off the ground for 33.9 seconds, nearly three seconds more than the previous 31-second record held by world-renowned strongman Mark Felix.
Mr Hunsaker said: “The lift itself was not difficult and wasn’t too hard on my hands.
“You have to really hold your breath – I only had to put them down as I thought I was going to pass out.
“The pain was ripping through my arms – but now I feel awesome.”
Mr Hunsaker and his family are planning another visit in August and will take in the Aboyne Games, where he will make another attempt.
He is also considering the lift and carry challenge over the Potarch Bridge – recreating the 150-year-old feat of the man who gave his name to the event, Donald Dinnie.
Overseeing the huge lift was official assessor Malcolm Nicol who ensures that the athlete “puts some wind beneath the stone” – a feat he has carried out himself every year since 2010 at the Aboyne Games.
The stones have recently been returned to Potarch Lodge after its redevelopment and are now a tourist draw for the Ballogie Estate.
Estate manager Helen Knowles said: “Bryan’s attempt was an amazing show of inner core strength. On his first attempt the clearance he achieved was fantastic, there was certainly wind beneath the stones.
“To follow that with a further lift and hold for 33.9 seconds was a true example of strength and determination.
“We welcome anyone to come and try to lift them – but only if they pass the new guidelines. Mr Hunsaker is a weight-lifter, so he met our criteria to attempt.”
A new database records all the lift attempts and can be found at www.thedinniestones.com