Dinnie Stanes: Real or replicas

After a global search, the annual Aboyne Highland Games have found a strongman worthy of attempting the ultimate strongman challenge.

By The Newsroom
Friday, 20th June 2014, 10:00 am

Not just anyone has the strength, determination and ability to carry the Dinnie Stanes at the Aboyne Highland Games.

Strongman and World’s Strongest Man competitor Mark Felix will attempt to fill the athletic shoes of legendary Highland strongman Donald Dinnie.

Mark will re-enact the famous scenario where he will attempt to lift and carry the original stanes, which weigh over 733 lbs, for a distance of over 5 yards, the width of the famous 200 year old Potarch Bridge.

Originally from Grenada, UK-based Mark has competed nine times at the World’s Strongest Man and is a previous World Record Holder for the IronMind Silver Bullet challenge. The muscleman will attempt to carry the stones over a replica of the Potarch Bridge placed in the centre of the Games arena, which has been created by pupils from Aboyne Academy.

Earlier this year, the Games set out on their worldwide search to find a person strong enough to rival Donald Dinnie.

The search began initially by trying to locate a competitive weightlifter called Peter Puszer whose titles include Strongest Man in Slovakia. However, finding him proved to be the greatest challenge and the search went global, capturing the imagination of the local and national press! Eventually, the mysterious Peter contacted the games, but was not able to visit to attempt to lift the stanes.

The Games’ next step was to head-hunt muscleman Mark Felix, who is equally worthy of the heavy-lifting historical challenge.

Celebrated as the ‘World’s Greatest Athlete of the 19th Century’ with 20 Highland Games championships under his belt, Donald Dinnie famously carried the ‘Dinnie Stanes’ across the Potarch Bridge in 1860.

He then became a founding member of the Aboyne Highland Games in 1867. The challenge is highly respected by strongmen and one that many have attempted, but not been able to complete without the use of aids in the past.

Ian Scott, chairman of the Aboyne Highland Games, said: “Donald Dinnie is a historical figure at the very heart of these games, as he was a founding member of the Games back in 1867. Having a World Strongest Man competitor take on the Dinne Stone challenge at this special Homecoming Scotland 2014 Games will be really exciting and one of the many highlights of this year’s games.”

Mark Felix’s Dinnie Stanes attempt completes the exciting programme of events at this year’s games which takes place on August 2.

More than 9000 visitors from all over the world will descend on Royal Deeside for the Aboyne Highland Games, where they can enjoy traditional events including tossing the caber and a fiddle competition.

Caroline Packman, Homecoming Scotland 2014 Director, said: “Aboyne Highland Games will see one of the most exciting feats of Homecoming Scotland 2014, when Mark Felix attempts to lift the legendary Dinnie Stones.