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OUR STONE LIFTING TRAVELS

These are our wonderful times away lifting stones.
Updated 15 July 2014

 

CRICCIETH STONE - 12th July, 2014

Stone weighs: 177.5k smooth egg shaped stone

Situated: in the garden of the Memorial Hall, Criccieth, Wales

Present: It was the Stone of Strength event

Conditions: The stone was under the gazebo.

My attempts:
I lifted the stone 6 times to under my knee height for a Level 1 lift.

Info from Les Wiltshire.
The Stone of Strength Challenge Day sponsored by AGRITRADER took place on Saturday 12th July 2014; the weather was great, with a little rain moving in just as we finished the contest. All attempts were carried out under a marquee to ensure ...the event ran smoothly, whatever the weather.

13 lifters attempted the natural ‘egg-shaped’ granite feat stone, which officially weighs in at 177.5 kgs.

There are 3 levels of lift:
Level 1: Break the ground
Level 2: To the chest
Level 3: To the shoulder

The contenders and their achievements were as follows:
Llyr Hughes Level 1
Dafydd Jones Level 1
Morris Williams No Lift
Simon Johnston: Level 2
Tim Willsdon Level 1
Les Wiltshire No Lift
Steve Burr: Level 1
Dave Ward Level 1
David Horne Level 1
Gareth Hughes Level 1
Cassie Wiltshire No Lift
Reuben Hughes: Level 1
Rob Bithell Level 1

As well as the usual local lifters, we were joined again this year by Simon Johnston, the reigning Wales Strongest Man who travelled from Rhyl to compete, with strongmen Dave Ward, Tim Willsdon and Rob Bithell also taking up the challenge.
“World of Grip’s” David Horne was also present, not only to attempt the stone lift, but to bring some grip contests to the event, and for the first time a female attempt was made by Cassie Wiltshire.

Chris Davies of AGRITRADER again offered £1000 to the first person to lift this stone to the shoulder and £100 to the first 5 people to perform a level 2, to the chest lift. Simon Johnston was the only person to achieve Level 2, however no one managed to perform a Level 3 lift.

David Horne’s grip events generated great interest, both in the encouraging audience and the athletes. Reuben Hughes broke 2 world records in the 93 kg and 105 kg bodyweight categories. Les Wiltshire took the World Masters record for the Half a Penny Hold and two Masters titles in the Shallow Hub Hold.

Tim Willsdon, Steve Burr, Dan Burr and Rob Griffiths all claimed World record titles in the Shallow Hub hold for their respective bodyweight categories.


 

YSBYTY IFAN STONE - 6th March, 2012

Stone weighs: 300lb Husafell style stone

Situated: on Gwyn Davies farm, between Ysbyty Ifan and Penmachno, Wales

Present: Nick McKinless, Gwyn Davies, Reuben Hughes, Elizabeth Horne, Tom and David Horne

Our attempts:
David Horne - lifted the stone to chest. On my second effort I lifted the stone to my chest, and walked 62 feet (measured by tape), with one turn (pictured below left).
Reuben Hughes - lifted the stone twice to his chest, and tried to shoulder it, but couldn’t. He had a couple of attempts after this, but was tired (pictured below right).
Nick McKinless - lifted the stone to chest height, but hurt both his biceps (pictured below centre).
Tom (Reuben’s friend) - tried, but couldn’t break the stone off the floor.

Gwyn enjoyed watching and said it was the best he’d seen with the stone.

Afterwards we signed the book.

Video of the Ysbyty Ifan stone carry below


 

CRICCIETH STONE - 4th March, 2012

Stone weighs: 177.5k smooth egg shaped stone

Situated: in the garden of the Memorial Hall, Criccieth, Wales

Present: Nick McKinless, Trevor Ray, Reuben Hughes, Elizabeth Horne, David Horne and many spectators

Conditions: The ground was wet, and so was the stone. The stone was never fully dry whatever we did.

Our attempts:
David Horne - had about 5 attempts, and lifted it twice. My best lift being 9” high. Checked on my video against the height of my boots (pictured below left)
Reuben Hughes - lifted it to a similar height to myself. He has large hands, and long arms, and can clamp his arms all the way round. He works with stone all day (dry stone walling), and has great strength. Nice guy as well. (pictured below centre)
I wasted a couple of efforts trying Reuben’s style, thinking it would be better, when in reality the bearhug style I trained with was ultimately the best style for me.
Nick McKinless - lifted it to knee height, getting it on his knees, but with the stone flopping forward he couldn’t fully get it comfortable to do anything with it. Super effort! (pictured below right)
Reuben’s 70 year old father had a go too, but it didn’t move. He had big strong hands too, and was a lovely bloke.

Afterwards we signed the book.

Video of the Criccieth stone lift and Ysbyty Ifan stone carry

 


 

DINNIE STONES - 3rd August, 2001 [3rd visit]

Stones weigh: Large stone 435lb and small stone 340lb, with rings attached

Situated: at Potarch Hotel, by Banchory, Scotland

Present: Jason Horne, Oliver Horne, Alexander Horne, Elizabeth Talbot and David Horne

Jason's attempt:
List of attempts made on the day (all lifts were performed with no hook grip employed):

Jason Horne (age 15) lifted the small Dinnie Stone with one hand

Another return visit
This was another trip to Scotland to support Elizabeth competing in the World's Strongest Woman qualifier in Callander.


 

DINNIE STONES - 28th May, 1999 [2nd visit]

Stones weigh: Large stone 435lb and small stone 340lb, with rings attached

Situated: at Potarch Hotel, by Banchory, Scotland

Present: Jason Horne and David Horne

Our attempts:
List of attempts made on the day (all lifts were performed with no hook grip employed):

David Horne lifted both stones together
Jason Horne (age 13) nearly lifted the small Dinnie Stone with one hand, with it skimming the floor on three occasions

A return visit
A year later I travelled north to lift the Blue Stone at Old Hartley, near Newcastle. After this I went to Aberdeen to see David Vass and also have another go at the Dinnie’s with my son Jason. Again it was raining, and again I hoisted them. This time I had the large stone at the front, as this was how I had trained for this particular attempt. I can’t honestly say it felt any easier, but there is a little less strain on the side muscles. Jason (aged 13 then) nearly lifted the small Dinnie Stone with one hand, with it skimming the floor on three occasions, and it’s surely there another day.


 

BLUE STONE OF OLD HARTLEY - 24th May, 1999

Stone is a Blue stone: weighs: 400-440lb

Situated: outside the Delaval Arms public house, Old Hartley (between Whitley Bay and Seaton Sluice), England

Present: David Webster, BBC North East Radio, Graham Noble, Jason Horne, David Horne and many spectators

My attempt:
David Horne – after 5 attempts I lifted the Blue stone an inch or so

The toughest stone I ever tried to lift was the ‘Blue Stone of Old Hartley’, made famous by Willie Carr. This came about on the 24th May 1999, when my son Jason and I went to Old Hartley in the north east of England for a pre-arranged attempt at this formidable stone. The council had taken this special stone out of its concrete moorings for this occasion and the BBC North East radio station was even there to record it. This is a very smooth, once again glass-like stone, and weighs around 400-440lb, and to make it even tougher it weighs off-centre to the right and back side. I failed my first 4 attempts, being unable to get the balance right, as there was very little to grip onto on the right side. The fifth attempt was going to be my last attempt anyway, so I wedged my hand further back, and took the brunt of the stone on my right wrist and went for it. The front once again came up first but this time I felt the sway as the back came up and the stone hovered for a very short period, with shouts of ‘it’s up’ being heard. I was very pleased and proud with this achievement. I didn’t take my training belt off for about an hour, I was absolutely shot!

Featured in Milo Magazine Vol. 7 No.2 / September 1999. High Noon at Hartley: The Blue Stone of Strength by David Webster [Trip to the North East to lift the Blue Stone of Old Hartley, etc].



 

INVER STONE - 5th April, 1998

Stone weighs: 265lb

Situated: at Crathie, Scotland

Present: Jim Richards, Nick McKinless, Lee Morrison, David Vass, Mike Thompson and David Horne

After the successful lifting of the Dinnies and a glass of Guinness with David Webster and Gordon Dinnie we made our way to the Inver Stone. After clearing the snow off it we commenced.

Our attempts:
David Horne – lifted the Inver stone to neck/chest height (pictured below left)
Nick McKinless – lifted the Inver stone to neck/chest height (pictured below right)


 

DINNIE STONES - 5th April, 1998

Stones weigh: Large stone 435lb and small stone 340lb, with rings attached

Situated: at Potarch Hotel, by Banchory, Scotland

Present: David Webster, Gordon Dinnie, Nick McKinless, Lee Morrison, David Vass, Mike Thompson and David Horne

History
Named the Dinnie Stones after Donald’s exploits with them, these are the most famous lifting stones in the world and possibly the toughest to lift. In around 1860 Donald lifted the two stones and carried them across the width of the Bridge of Potarch, which crosses the River Dee, near Kincardine O’Neil. Since then, they have become a popular test of strength for not only the local strongmen, but nationally and internationally as well.

Originally the weight of these stones was given as 340lb and 435lb, a combined total of 775lb. In 1998, Gordon Dinnie got the two stones weighed to ensure accuracy for granite replicas that he had commissioned. They now weigh 321lb and 413lb, a combined total of 734lb, a deficit of some 41lb, which had been lost over the years, possibly through all the attempts to lift them.

Dinnie Stones website

Our attempts:
List of attempts made on the day (all lifts were performed with no hook grip employed):

David Horne lifted both stones together (pictured below centre)
Nick McKinless lifted both stones together (pictured below right)
Lee Morrison lifted the small stone with one hand
David Horne lifted both stones together
Lee Morrison lifted the small stone with one hand for 5 reps
David Vass lifted the small stone with one hand
Lee Morrison lifted the large stone with one hand
David Vass lifted the large stone with one hand
David Horne lifted both stones together, nearly got a second rep
Nick McKinless did a lift and drag of around 4 yards with both stones
Lee Morrison tried lifting both stones
David Horne lifted the small stone with only the index and middle finger of the left hand (pictured below left)
David Horne nearly lifted the large stone with only the index and middle finger of the left hand
Nick McKinless walked 9 yards while holding the small stone in right hand-lost balance
David Horne lifted the large stone for 20 reps with right hand.

Replica rings
Exact replica rings and loading pins are now available here. These have been designed using the exact measurements that I took from the Dinnie Stones when I went up to Scotland the first time and lifted them.

A return visit
A year later I travelled north to lift the Blue Stone at Old Hartley, near Newcastle. After this I went to Aberdeen to see David Vass and also have another go at the Dinnie’s with my son Jason. Again it was raining, and again I hoisted them. This time I had the large stone at the front, as this was how I had trained for this particular attempt. I can’t honestly say it felt any easier, but there is a little less strain on the side muscles. Jason (aged 13 then) nearly lifted the small Dinnie Stone with one hand, with it skimming the floor on three occasions, and it’s surely there another day.

My training for the feat
The date for our attempt at lifting the Dinnie Stones was organised for 5th April 1998, with David Webster and Gordon Dinnie officiating. This gave me about four months to train, not only for the Dinnie Stones but also for the Blue Stones of Old Dailly and the Inver Stone, all part of our stone lifting tour of Scotland. So my training also consisted of rock lifting and the Bear Hug Deadlift, my own exercise I invented which simulates the lifting of round smooth stones.

If you go through training for the stones without encountering the pain you’re going to feel on the day, much of your preparation will be time wasted. So it is a must to recreate the apparatus, I did this by getting two metal rings made up and attaching them to two loading pins. Originally I didn’t have the exact measurements for the rings, so I estimated, and they came out a little thinner than the originals, which made a tough event even harder. I’m of the opinion that I would prefer the attempt on the day to feel easier than my training sessions. My friend, Nick McKinless, who also lifted the Dinnie Stones, trained on a similar set-up.

There are a few factors that on the day will stop you in your tracks if you’re not prepared for them. These are (1) 92lb differential between the stones, (2) the thin rings, (3) the sheer size of these stones. These problems can be overcome by using the replica rings now on offer, the largest discs you have and by having roughly a 92lb difference between each weight. If you get used to these, nothing should cause you a problem if you’re strong enough, even if it rains as heavily as it did on our day. Your training routine has got to include not only work on the replica apparatus, but also a lot of back, side, and of course a serious amount of grip training if you’re going to succeed in lifting these stones. Deadlifts performed with an overhand (non hook) grip will not only strengthen your back, but your grip as well. The One Hand Side Bend is a great exercise for strengthening the side muscles of the torso. This area has got to be trained heavily, as the Dinnie Stones take no prisoners. I used a strong H-bar (triceps bar) for this.

My best lifts in training prior to the attempt:
Using my Dinnie apparatus 190kg L/H (front) 225kg R/H (back) Total 415kg (915lb)
Bear Hug Deadlift 168kg x 3 singles
Deadlift a 140kg concrete rock x 20 consecutive reps
One Hand Side Bends 108kg x 5 reps either side
Middle Fingers Deadlift and Walk 90 feet with 100kg
One Hand Pinch Lift 60kg x 3 reps

Your attempt
On your attempt, I would strongly advise you to put both of the stones together and straddle them, then holding one ring at the front and the other at the rear, concentrate and start to lift. The lightest stone will probably clear the ground first, even when this occurs you have got to keep pulling the heavy stone in a kind of a side bend until it comes up as well. Whether you have the large stone at the front, or the rear, these stones will not come up easily. They certainly are a great test of strength and bravery.

Featured in Milo Magazine Vol. 6 No.2 / September 1998. Lads Go A’Lifting by David Webster [Trip to Scotland to lift Dinnie Stones, etc].
Stone Lifting in Scotland by Lee Morrison [Trip to Scotland to lift Dinnie Stones, etc].



 

BLUE STONES OF OLD DAILLY - 3rd April, 1998

Stones are Blue stones, and according to the book "Of Stones and Strength" weigh; large stone 290-320lb and small stone 280-310lb

Situated: in the village of Old Dailly, Scotland

Present: Nick McKinless, Lee Morrison, Mike Thompson and David Horne

Our attempts:
David Horne – lifted the small stone very easy
Nick McKinless – lifted the large stone to waist height
David Horne – Decided to see if I could rep large stone, after lifting it easily a couple of times. I proceeded to do 10 consecutive reps Deadlifting it to knee height. It was easy on my grip (pictured below left).
Nick McKinless – lifted and walked 30 feet with the large stone – an excellent performance (pictured below right).
Lee Morrison – Twice lifted the small stone to knee height, then lifted it to stomach height on his last attempt

 

 

Copyright David Horne 2006