A Stone Lifter’s Dream Come True

A Stone Lifter’s Dream Come True
By Erik Sauve
An opportunity knocked on my door recently; a tour of the Scottish Highlands with [Strength Historian] David Webster. What would I do? What would any stonelifter do? So, with less than 5 weeks of direct training, Bill Crawford, Dana Florence, and I boarded a plane for Glasgow, Scotland.

Erik Suave lifts the Dinnie Stones

Bill Crawford takes a crack at History

David picked us up Monday morning at the hotel and we began the journey to the Highlands. The 3 hour car ride was filled with old time strongman stories and history of the local landmarks we passed on the way. The Highlands are visually stunning…but we’re here for the stones! We crossed the Brig’ O Dee and parked in front of the Potarch Hotel.

There they were…The Dinnie Stones, and David had arranged for Gordon Dinnie, a 5th generation Dinnie, to witness our attempts.

Gordon mentioned the stones actually weigh in at 321 lbs and 413 lbs for a total of 734 lbs of history. Attacking the stones with child-like glee, we all pulled the smaller Dinnie with one hand. The heavier one would take much more grunt.

Bill and I managed a single hand lift of the beast…now was the time to get serious.

On my second attempt with both stones I knew if I could hold on to the heavy one, I’d lock out. I decided either the stones were leaving the ground or my arms were leaving their sockets, and I strapped in. It was an awkward pull, not only is the large stone 90 lbs heavier but it comes alive when it leaves the ground and tries to pull out to the side, tearing skin with it. After a pull that seemed to last forever, I locked out…I get goose bumps just recounting the moment.

Bill made several attempts using a hook grip and was able to break the stones from the ground just short of locking out. Dana was unable to lift both but settled for bear hugging the small one and pulling it to chest height.

We spent some time chatting with the locals who came out from the hotel to watch our trial and I could have stayed there all day but, The Inver Stone was calling us on. We made our way to Crathie and the residence of Mrs. Richards…the keeper of the Inver Stone.

The stone says 268lbs but that’s an understatement, it is odd shaped and very hard to get a hold of. We all managed several lifts to the shoulder but Dana redeemed himself by making it look easy. He threw the stone to his shoulder like a sack of potatoes! Bill and I struggled a little trying to keep up with him.

Sue, the proprietor of the Inver Hotel, was so pleased with our lifts, she opened up the pub and treated us to a free pint.

Dana Florence, Erik Suave and Bill Crawford tackle the Inver Stone Challenge

We stayed at the Inver Hotel and spent most of the night listening to David’s stories and looking at some strongman memorabilia he brought with him. We went to bed that night knowing the ancient testing stone of the Fianna was waiting for us tomorrow.

The search for the Fianna stone had us traveling Glen Lyon, the longest Glen in the Highlands. David had an idea where it was but did not know the exact spot. We spoke to some locals and we’re told to look for the sheep dung piles, by the big tree, three houses down, the stone would be there… waiting.

The Fianna testing stone is estimated to be around 300 lbs… not counting the sheep excrement. The challenge is to lift the stone and place it on a flat rock some 10 feet away. Dana went first. A little struggle and away he went. I was next. It is a smooth stone and I really had to squeeze in to hold on but carried it to its platform.

Bill attacked it next. He struggled with the stone but was unsuccessful. Not about to end this trip with a failure, Bill called on the Fianna spirits to help him. Tearing his shirt off he grabbed the stone, stood up and made his way to the platform. We played with the stone for a little longer, while onlookers stopped to take pictures and talk about the stone’s history.

Dana Florence and Bill Crawford answer the call of The Ancient Testing stone of the Fianna

We finished our epic journey with a couple of pints at the Drover’s Inn, a favorite spot for Rob Roy. I was impressed with the hospitality of not only our host, but everyone we came in contact with. Strangers would stop and cheer us on, take pictures and bid us “Haste ye back” The legends of Manhood Stones are alive and well in the Scottish Highlands.

The stones are there, waiting, just waiting for the next generation of strongman to have a go at them.


(A BIG thanks to Erik Suave for sending in the article and pics!)