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Dinnie Stones: IHGF Scottish Stones of Strength World Challenge

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  • #21
    Francis,
    If you do not believe Dinnie carried the stones in reality then why does it all this matter anyway?

    I have lifted the stones in the farmers walk fashion as well as the straddle fashion, barehanded. Barehanded the large stone gets caught on the leg with the farmers walk position, meaning even getting the stone up to that point of fully standing would be greatly aided with straps. Without straps a walk in this manner is likely not even possible.

    With straps this is a separate issue and lift. I would not dream of taking straps to the Dinnies but if you want to measure those who do use straps, don't crow that Dinnie has been exceeded. Even if only a myth, it is the feat we understand as the reason for the Dinnies being a big deal. Publish pictures of someone carrying the stones barehanded, for whatever distance, and there will be no question about the comparison to Dinnie.

    If someone tried to strap up to carry the Loon Stones here at the NHHG, they would be disqualified. The main challenge with carrying the stones that are attached to rings is the grip. Let's see someone strap up at WSM on the farmers walk. Would not be allowed. But if you allow straps, then that is the IHGF's rules.

    As for the men who came to the competition, I will say they did do something extraordinary. There does not need to be any defense of that. Why cloud their accomplishments with claims that provoke many who knows these stones to be annoyed? And then when this is brought to the forefront be offended and surprised at the response?

    With all that aside I would say, especially to Chad, that these men are clean athletes and very strong men. Other comments about PED's is unwarranted and unfair. Congratulations for their efforts. They do not need a history to be exceeded to make their own history.

    Publish the results of the competition with the straps. No problem. If the rules of the IHGF are that you allow straps, so be it. But you cannot do something like this and insist it is THE record. It is the IHGF record and your record or at the very least a record with straps.

    These stones have a history and lore. I will stand to protect that. Why go all the way to Potarch to strap up and lift these stones? Simply make another set and allow straps. But leave these stones out of the that if you want to compare yourself to Dinnie.

    This is a thoughtful reply. We disagree. All those who think it is okay to lift the stones with straps and compare themselves to Dinnie are mistaken. He surely did not use straps. Either you believe or you do not believe, simply put. If you do not believe he carried the stones, then they do not mean any thing anyway.

    Bill

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    • #22
      Great response Bill. I've been typing one-handed lately but that's not the only reason I've been quiet on it. I understand a lot of arguments thrown around here and on NASGA and see many of the points that are trying to be made. I sit here and read it all just thinking that I want to heal up and head over there next fall for my own lift, one that I'll only compare to my last and to no one else. But I think all the heartburn started with the reference to surpassing Dinnie and that touched the first nerve. It was a great feat but under different circumstances and I think all those arguing would agree with that statement and leave it at that.








      But to all who doubt Dinnie, look at Jack Shanks.

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      • #23
        Crawford made a hell of a post on another board, hope he doesn't mind me pasting it here:


        I have to weigh in now.

        Some history, not related to Dinnie. Up until the early 1970's when Jack Shanks, a 180 lb police officer from Belfast, lifted the stones bare handed the thought that someone lifted the stones without straps at all was in question. Jack trained and did it. Prior to that several people lifted the stones but with straps, but that was not recognized as replicating the Dinnie feat.


        To Chad, you noted that the website shows those with straps lifting the stones. The man who had created the website, Gordon Dinnie, a generational relative of Donald Dinnie, readily agreed that the strap lifts were different and aside from barehanded lifts. That is why he clarifies if you had straps or wore a belt or lifted them barehanded. He assumed that common sense would allow that people would know the difference. I had the privilege of lifting the stones in front of Gordon and David. God bless Gordon, he has since died. In the last year, David Webster expressed the need to maintain the website and to clarify the lifts with and without straps.


        Note also Chad that the website has Bill Bangert (?spp) (a first class charlatan) with his contraption lifting the stones. That was put there for a reason. To let people see what he did when he clucked he lifted and carried the Dinnies.


        One of the stones was in the Dee River and one was on the bank when David Webster found them in the early 1950's. David and his lifting partner Alex Thomson dragged them from the river. They put them in front of the Potarch Hotel by crisscrossing a pair of old exercise bars in the rings and a man to a side, carried them up to the amazement of the patrons in the pub who assumed they carried them by hand. I have video of David explaining this under the Brig O' Dee next to the river.


        The stones were used as ballast to hold a platform on the the side of the Brig O' Dee to allow stone masons to point/repair the mortar on the bridge. Daily, Donald and his father dragged and pushed large ballast stones like the ones we call the Dinnies.


        We weak, modern pencil pushers cannot imagine that someone is strong in ways that are not promoted by lifting barbells. What about Slim the Hammerman? He used a sledge to make a living and started demonstrating his strength with hammers to the public. Without photos, would those a hundred years from now doubt what he did? Leveraging a 50+ lb hammer? Can't be. But it is. Why couldn't Dinnie do the same with something he dealt with all the time. How many of you have seen a fat plumber walk out of the crowd and lift the Inch Dumbbell like a popsicle stick? I have. Same thing.


        So if you do not believe Dinnie lifted or carried the stones, then stop calling them The Dinnie Stones. And stop going to Potarch. They don't mean anything. And if they don't mean anything, then you cannot exceed Dinnie's marks because he didn't do anything. As such, you cannot crow "History has been made" by exceeding his mark. You have only created your own history with stones that don't matter.


        You cannot have it both ways. If you call those stones "The Dinnie Stones" you have to believe the story or "myth" as is popular to call it now. If you do not think Dinnie carried or lifted those stones, then you are creating your own history, separate from the accepted reason you are there anyway. This is logic. I challenge someone to refute that logic.


        I prefer to call those stones "The Dinnie Stones" for the accepted reason they are called such. If you don't believe he carried them, then stop calling them the Dinnies and don't go there. That comes down to basic respect.


        Another story. No one had video proof of someone carrying a certain stone around a sheep's pen in Iceland. I know of one man who was credibly witnessed to have carried the stone around the pen up to that point. But there was no "proof". A 43 year guy from America went over and carried the Husafell Stone around the pen in one turn without putting the stone down. Was I stronger than Snorri Bjornsson? No, I doubt that seriously. But it was proved possible.


        I am waiting for that person who can to go and carry the Dinnies barehanded. I have stumbled forward a couple of feet with the Dinnies before with the stones side to side, barehanded. The way to carry them is to straddle the stones and lift them barehanded and move forward. But it is possible. We just haven't seen it yet.


        Bill

        Comment


        • #24
          Originally posted by Travis Willingham View Post
          Crawford made a hell of a post on another board, hope he doesn't mind me pasting it here:

          Travis -

          Thanks much for posting Bill's post and I think we're getting to the bottom of things, because Francis laid out his reasons for wondering about the original lift and then Doc Rock replied, including a comment I loved:

          "I am waiting for that person who can to go and carry the Dinnies barehanded. I have stumbled forward a couple of feet with the Dinnies before with the stones side to side, barehanded. The way to carry them is to straddle the stones and lift them barehanded and move forward. But it is possible. We just haven't seen it yet."

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          • #25
            Originally posted by Travis Willingham View Post
            Crawford made a hell of a post on another board, hope he doesn't mind me pasting it here:
            Thanks Andrew, but just like I said, you believe or you do not believe. I have spoken at great length about the Dinnies with David Webster. I am sure he will tell you what he told me. The credible story is that he carried them across the bridge. Again, believe or don't believe. That is the logic. But certainly, no straps were involved.

            That is all I have to say about that. Forest Gump


            Bill

            Bill i talked with Dave only last year in France and asked him if he thought that Dinnie carried both stones at the same time barehanded across the bridge without dropping them, he said that he most likely Donald Dinnie carried them in a lift step and drop method across the bridge.

            Francis
            Last edited by Francis Brebner; 06-25-2013, 01:12 AM. Reason: addend Donald Dinnies names

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            • #26
              Francis,
              No straps though. Period.
              Bill

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              • #27
                Are we sure that Mr. Dinnie didn't use straps? They could have been fashioned at any time in history. Its not like they are high tech or anything.

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                • #28
                  Originally posted by Erick Brown View Post
                  Are we sure that Mr. Dinnie didn't use straps? They could have been fashioned at any time in history. Its not like they are high tech or anything.
                  Hi Erick.

                  I very much doubt that Donald had used straps back then, if he had there would have been records of such use by other great strong man of that time period also i would reckon in other major events, i an not a expert in stone lifting nor do i claim to be, i have in the past have shared a passion for stone lifting and attempt various stone like many other athletes. I agree with David Webster OBE, Strength Historian and Bill Crawford that Donald Dinnie would have walk with the stones in a lift, step and drop method barehanded multiple times across the width of the bridge 5 yards, i would be very much interested to know the thoughts of others in the Stone World if they would also agree this would be how Dinnie would have managed such a feat. I would very much like to hear Terry Todd,s views on this also, his wife Jan Todd who was a great lifter in her day made History with the Dinnie Stones back in the 1970,s being the first woman to lift the Dinnie Stones, as far as i know she is still the only woman that has done so to date this was officially recorded and with use of hand straps if i remember correctly, very impressive.


                  Francis

                  Comment


                  • #29
                    Originally posted by Randall Strossen View Post
                    Travis -

                    Thanks much for posting Bill's post and I think we're getting to the bottom of things, because Francis laid out his reasons for wondering about the original lift and then Doc Rock replied, including a comment I loved:

                    "I am waiting for that person who can to go and carry the Dinnies barehanded. I have stumbled forward a couple of feet with the Dinnies before with the stones side to side, barehanded. The way to carry them is to straddle the stones and lift them barehanded and move forward. But it is possible. We just haven't seen it yet."
                    The one thing I think about regarding this point is that I grew up in a rural area full of farms and the strength we had growing up with a stead diet of farm labor. When I was a kid, we just worked the farm and spent days throwing hay bales and wrestling whatever implement we had to. Though I went away to college and have been soft ever since, I have childhood friends that are the immensely strong in ways I will never be. The strength of their hands is unreal. I go back home for a visit and a handshake from some of these guys feels as if my hand will never work right again. To watch them grab something odd such as a steel auger to attach to the tractor is unreal, or wrestle the weights that attach to the front of the tractor ... Yet because I lift weights attached to a bar and do the occasional competition, they have this idea that I'm the strong one. The point is, hard working folks like Dinnie, didn't need weights and a gym to be able to accomplish a feat of strength. They came by this strength through hard work. And just because guys who spend their lives in gyms can't do something doesn't mean it can't be done. Thinking otherwise borders on arrogance of the gym lifter.

                    Case in point. Fotissimus 2008 - The last stone in the natural stone event is 530#. Big Z failed. Poundstone struggled and put great effort into it and loaded the stone. I think this is one of the great strength feats of the last few decades. In 2009, Shaw, Z and Poundstone and everyone else fail lifting this stone(if i remember correctly). These are some of the strongest men on the planet no doubt yet they are humbled by this stone, and rightly so.

                    2008 - http://youtu.be/dcJhby-z4UY

                    Yet, there is a guy in New Zealand named Regan Bridge who can almost toss a similar stone with relatively much less effort: http://youtu.be/fHRwo7j7byk

                    Notice the size of Regan. Nothing near the size of these beasts who failed on the Cyr Stone at Fortissimus. Yet watch him handle this stone. I believe Regan is a dairy farmer and used to be a firefighter if I recall correctly. He's a humble fellow with great strength.

                    There are men who stay in the shadows like Regan who have immense strength and can do things that we assume can't be done just because we can't replicate it. And like Bill says, "[I]t is possible. We just haven't seen it yet."

                    Comment


                    • #30
                      The rings on the Dinnies hurt (well my replica ones do anyway) and are not like grabbing 1+" weightlifting bars at all. Guys who work with their hands have hands that are desensitized to pain more so than we weight room guys. They can pull harder with less thought as to what is happening to their hands. Back when I worked construction or trimmed trees I had that kind of hand toughness - you may think weight training does the same thing but it does not - I can remember carrying 5 gal buckets of "mud" while tending block as a teenager - I thought my fingers would break the first couple weeks - then it got where I never even thought about it. Do your next set of Farmers Walks with a wire bail and see what you think. Pull and climb rope for hours - it's a different kind of hand strength and toughness - farmers - mechanics - laborers etc have it - you probably don't. Donald Dinnie probably did.

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                      • #31
                        This is a fascinating thread and it's clear to see how much passion the Dinnie Steens stir in anyone interested in them. I'm very late coming to this thread and not sure if anyone will see it but I would like to offer a humble opinion on how I see the stones, Dinnie's feat and the feats of others who have come along since. I don't offer this to agree or disagree with anyone rather these are my thoughts based on having an association with the stones through my dad, Jack Shanks, since I was 8 years old and having a life long interest in them (I'm 53 now) and their incredible story from Dinnie's time, through to David Webster rescuing them from the river Dee in the 1950s and their subsequent history to date.

                        The main evidence that I have seen is Dinnie's own account of the feat and that is where I would like to start:

                        "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. In the early 1830's massive iron rings were placed in them, to which ropes were fixed so that scaffolds could be attached for pointing the bridge. Now, one of these stones was somewhat heavier than the other. Very few strong men of that day could lift the heavy one with both hands, but my father could raise one in each hand with apparent ease, and could throw the heavier stone of the two on to the top of a parapet wall of the bridge.

                        Those stones are still on the bridge and I myself lifted one in each hand on many occasions and one market day, I carried them across the bridge and back, some four to five yards."

                        So given the weight of the stones that David uncovered and Dinnie's description of them there can be very little doubt that the stones currently located at Potarch are indeed the Dinnie Stones and that the Potarch bridge is the bridge he refers to.

                        Dinnie refers to raising one in each hand so I think it's fair to assume that both his lift and his carry were done with both stones simultaneously as he doesn't distinguish between lifting them and carrying them.

                        Given that we have taken the Dinnie challenge from his words I can see two separate and distinct challenges (and possibly a third which I'll come back to)

                        The first challenge he refers to is raising one in each hand - he talks about his father raising one in each hand and himself raising one in each hand on many occasions

                        Secondly he states that on one market day (Peter martin wrote an excellent article on this and makes a great argument as to the date that this may have occurred - https://uploads.strikinglycdn.com/fi...E%20STEENS.pdf ) he carried them across the bridge and back - some 4 to 5 yards. This is a very clear second challenge.

                        A third challenge that to me is implicit in his story and sits very comfortably within Scottish stone lifting tradition is the father and son lifting of the stones. As stone lifting was seen as a manhood challenge it was passed from father to son and Dinnie and his father seem to have acknowledged this tradition with the Dinnie Stones. The fact that Dinnie's father lifted the stones may have been the reason Donald first lifted them himself (I can't substantiate this but it seems like a reasonable assumption to me)

                        In terms of how Dinnie lifted and carried the stones there are no substantiating facts from his account but logic would seem to dictate the following assumptions:

                        1/ given that it was a market day and not a sporting event like the highland games I doubt Dinnie would have had a set of hand straps in his pocket and I have not seen any evidence that hand straps would have been used in those days (based on what I've seen and read). He does however in his account state that very few strong men of the day could lift the heavy one with both hands. If straps were being used I doubt that a man of even average strength would have a problem lifting the large stone with both hands strapped up which seems to confirm that it was a natural grip challenge?

                        2/ The distance of the carry is stated as being 4-5 yards - this most definitely confirms that we are dealing with the width of the bridge and not the length. There is however a conflict in his statement as he says that he carried the stones across the bridge and back. The current width of the bridge is 17' 1 1/2" this is 5 yards, 2 feet & 1 1/2 inches which is consistent with the distance Dinnie talks about (4-5 yards) but not consistent with crossing the bridge and back which would be over 11 yards. Cars were not invented until the mid 1880s so in 1860 there were no cars crossing the bridge so there may have been a wider footpath making the distance on the road narrower? This is the only possible explanation for the apparent contradiction that I can come up with but I think the 4 - 5 yards is pretty clear.

                        Based on what I have seen over the years I don't think it is possible for a man of Dinnie's body weight (15 stone) to carry the stones the distance without putting them down. I don't doubt Dinnie's grip strength for I have seen with my own eyes 3 men holding the stones for around half a minute give or take a few seconds. The reason I don't think a 15 stone man can carry them without setting them down is due to the momentum the stones create when lifted. I think this would pull a lighter man off balance.

                        Mark Felix and my dad Jack Shanks remain the only two men in living memory who have carried the stones unassisted for the full distance using a lift and set down method. Mark Felix is regarded throughout the strength world as one of the strongest lifters who ever lived with one of the strongest grips. If Mark was unable to walk the distance in 2014 without setting them down it does confirm my suspicion that Dinnie also used a lift and set down technique.

                        I do however think that maybe one day Mark or someone else may still achieve this and prove me wrong. For now though my opinion based on the facts that I have, all that I have read over the years and my own personal experience with the stones is that Donald Dinnie carried the stones a distance of 17' 1 1/2" on the bridge at Potarch using a lift and set down technique without the aid of hand straps. This in no way diminishes his legend in my mind given that only two men have answered his challenge in the past 157 years.

                        I write this with the utmost respect for anyone who has lifted the stones unassisted over the past 157 years answering Dinnie's first challenge. A very small group that currently stands at only 49.

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