Strongmen from across the world hoping to make mark with Deeside stone challenge

Jim Spaine sr lifts the Dinnie Steens with son Jim jr on his back in 1975 at the Potarch Hotel.

It has been the ultimate challenge for strongmen across the world for 150 years.

And now, the latest generation of power lifters will attempt to stamp their names in the record books by lifting and walking with the famous “Dinnie Steens”.

The 733lb rocks were made famous by Birse athlete Donald Dinnie in 1860 when he carried them the 17ft width of the Potarch Bridge.

Next month, between six and 10 heavy hopefuls will arrive in Deeside on August 6, aiming to mirror the original achievement and cement their place in sporting lore.

In total, there have been 55 heavies who have managed to lift the huge weights, but no one has ever managed to replicate the original feat.

Competitors from as far afield as America and Australia will be in attendance on Donald Dinnie Day, which comes the day after the 150th Aboyne Highland Games.

Jim Splaine, from Bridge of Don, holds the record for most successful attempts, as well as being the lightest-ever lifter to move the stones, and is still involved in promoting the challenge.

Mr Splaine hoisted them 65 times between 1973 and 1994 and weighed just 10st 4lb.

On one spectacular occasion, in 1975, he completed the challenge with his then eight-year-old son, also known as Jim, on his shoulders.

The 70-year-old said: “Dinnie Steens are the ultimate challenge when it comes to stone lifting.

“People have been lifting stones in Scotland for hundreds of years, and when you managed it you became a man, and that’s why they were called manhood stones.

“There’s hundreds of stones across the country but when it comes to the toughest, any weight lifter worth their salt wants to lift the Dinnie Steens.”

In March, an American tourist smashed the existing record and held the stones for 33.9 seconds, nearly three seconds more than the previous 31-second record held by world-renowned strongman Mark Felix.

The stones were recently returned to Potarch Lodge after its redevelopment and are now a tourist draw for the Ballogie Estate.

They will be on display at the Aboyne games on August 5, where lifters past and present have been invited to attend.

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