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On April 20, 2022, Fergus Crawley put himself in rare company when he became the 184th person to lift the Dinnie Stones in Potarch, Aberdeenshire.
The Dinnie Stones are two granite stones with different weights that athletes pull with the Jefferson deadlift variation (where they straddle the weight and keep it between their legs). The aim is to hold up the stones for as long as they can. They also have the option to farmers carry them as far as possible. The larger Dinnie Stone weighs 188 kilograms (414.5 pounds), while the smaller stone checks in at 144 kilograms (317.5 pounds) for a total weight of 332.5 kilograms (733 pounds).
Check out a video of Crawley’s legendary lift below, via his Instagram profile:
Crawley dons a kilt and lifting belt for the lift. He uses a staggered stance and chalks his grip on the round metal handles of both rocks. Given the triumphant moment, he flashes an appropriate smile to the camera as he finishes the lift.
History of the Stones
According to Liftingstones.org, the Dinnie Stones tradition began in the 1830s when stonemason Robert Dinnie had a job maintaining the Potarch Bridge. He initially attached iron rings to the stones to use them as counterweights on his scaffolding during any work on the bridge.
His son, Donald Dinnie — a 21-time Scottish Highland Games Champion (1856-1876) — was the first recognized person to carry the Dinnie Stones across the bridge’s width in 1860.
Sometime in the early 20th century, around World War I, someone lost the stones. Scottish author David Webster eventually found them next to the River Dee in Scotland, with one of them missing a grip.
Following Webster’s rediscovery, a litany of athletes worldwide made attempts to lift the restored Dinnie Stones. However, they could only manage the feat while wearing wrist straps. In 1972, Jack Shanks was the first person to lift them bare-handed again, more than a century after Donald Dinnie.
In the years since, lifting the Dinnie Stones has almost become a rite of passage for strength sports athletes.
Brett Nicol holds the world record for the most-ever lifts of the stones with over 400 successful attempts as of November 2021. Meanwhile, strongman Kevin Faires possesses the world record for the farthest Dinnie Carry when he took the stones a distance of 25 feet and eight inches during the 2022 Rogue Record Breakers (RRB).
A Dream Comes True
According to the caption of Crawley’s post on Instagram, lifting the Dinnie Stones was the equivalent of him fulfilling a childhood dream. When he heard of the tradition an approximate decade ago, the Scottish athlete made it a mission to one day travel to the site of the stones and join a very exclusive club.
332kg/730lbs of history, heritage, and simply: weight — in my hands as a real symbol of why I enjoy training the way that I do.
Crawley was not the only inductee into the historical pantheon of successful Dinnie Stone lifts. His coach, Jonny Pain, was present with Crawley and also pulled the stones.
About Fergus Crawley
A former accomplished powerlifter turned hybrid athlete (a specialization in strength and endurance), Crawley now regularly performs endurance challenges for charity to raise awareness for men’s mental health issues. As of December 2021, in a partnership with the Movember Foundation, Crawley has raised a total of £100,225 ($132,511) to help this cause.
Crawley’s next formal competition will be the CELTMAN! Extreme Scottish Triathlon, which is part of the XTRI World Tour® — a series of triathlons across the globe in parts of South America, Asia, North America, and European countries like Scotland. Those will begin on June 18, 2022.
Perhaps Crawley’s lift of the Dinnie Stones will act as a catalyst to thrive during the event.
Featured image: @ferguscrawley on Instagram