One of the famous Dinnie Stones, which reside outside the Potarch Hotel, near Kincardine O’Neil, briefly went missing this week after being accidentally ploughed away in the snow.
The Dinnie Stones are located outside the hotel at Potarch Bridge and were originally understood to have been used as anchors for the bridge during its construction over the River Dee. While helping his father repair the bridge in 1860, Donald Dinnie lifted both stones and carried them across the bridge, a distance of over 15ft. Together, the stones – which each have ring handles - are understood to weigh 734lbs, with one stone heavier than the other.
Che Mueller, chef/patron at the Potarch Inn, said: “The stone was scooped away on Thursday afternoon by a local man doing us a favour, Frank Burnett. On Friday, four of us spent two to three hours searching one pile of snow and on Saturday, two more searched a further pile.
“Eventually on Sunday, Mr Burnett returned with a hydraulic tractor and sifted snow as we tried to spot it from below. The stone was recovered around 2pm on Sunday afternoon. They were at the far end of the parking, closest the bridge.
“We had to recover the stone, as Roger Davis was flying up from Luton Airport on Tuesday to attempt a lift of the Dinnie Stones. He has travelled a lot of Europe lifting stones. He has lifted the Inver stone as well as stones in Scandinavia, Iceland and elsewhere in western Europe.”
The 41-year-old weightlifter, of Hemel Hempstead, visited Deeside over the summer and lifted the stones successfully while wearing straps. At the time, he said: “It was a great feeling when I finally lifted the stones, especially as clan Chieftain David Webster, as well as a large crowd of spectators, witnessed it.”
This time round, his attempt on Tuesday (December 7) involved a lift without the aid of straps. Roger, who weighs 85kg, said he was aware he had not chosen a very good time to attempt the lift, with some of the coldest temperatures for 30 years, but had flights already booked and his training had hit a peak.
Roger said: “As you have probably gathered, the lifting of these stones is a bit of an obsession to those that make the journey, and although it may seem strange to some, I say that everyone needs a challenge to go for in life.
“If you think about it, swimming the Channel or climbing Mount Everest is just as mad as lifting 333kg of Scottish granite in the snow! I have a background in competitive weightlifting but have been training exclusively to lift the Dinnie Stones for the last four years. I managed to lift them last summer, which was considerably warmer, but had to use hand straps to help with the grip. Although I was pleased with this, my objective was to lift them without any wrist straps in the manner of Donald Dinnie.
“I was delighted to achieve this to say the least, and will now look for another challenge to pursue.
“I want to thank Che and my Scottish friends for their help and hospitality in arranging for the stones to be (relatively) snow-free for me. That helped a lot and it is much-appreciated. I am planning to do some more stone lifting in the west of Scotland next year but think I will wait until the summer.”