Bridgewater man joins list of people to lift the historic Dinnie Stones in Scotland

Published: Sep. 14, 2022 at 6:16 PM EDT
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BRIDGEWATER, Va. (WHSV) - In late July, a man from Bridgewater completed a feat that few people ever have. Rex Elsea lifted the historic Dinnie Stones in Potarch, Scotland, something just over 200 people have ever done.

“Having so much on the line, we planned this trip, we flew across the sea to Scotland. It felt really really good to be able to not just accomplish the lift but have no questions about whether I was capable of doing it,” said Rex Elsea.

Elsea is a Bridgewater College alum who began CrossFit training, powerlifting and participating in strongman events in his late 20s. Just before COVID hit, he watched a documentary and learned about the Dinnie Stones in Scotland.

“They were used as counterweights to build the Potarch Bridge across The River Dee. That was in the 1800s and I guess at some point it was used as a ‘Hey I bet I can lift those or I bet I can carry those,’” said Elsea.

After learning about the stones, Elsea told his wife he wanted to travel to Scotland and lift them before he turned 40. While COVID delayed his trip, he began training to lift the stones throughout the pandemic.

“To even be considered to come and lift them you have to videotape yourself doing a 300-kilogram deadlift which is 660 pounds or so. There was a lot of deadlifting and a lot of squatting for literally years,” said Elsea.

Elsea got his own iron rings to attach to weight plates and practice the way he would have to lift the stones which weigh a combined 733 pounds.

“My grip would actually make the base of my thumbnail bleed, so it’s a little bit like tree rings. You can see about every week my thumb used to have lines all the way up it,” he said.

In July, Elsea and his wife finally took the trip to Scotland where he became only the 207th person ever to lift the stones.

“I straddled them, grabbed them, I was the first person of the day. I pulled them up off the ground and I really wanted my name in the book so you have to hold them for two seconds and I made sure that stay there as long as I could,” said Elsea.

Elsea was joined by others in his group that day and two of them were also able to lift the stones.

“I was there with a gentleman who was a below-the-knee amputee and he was able to lift them. Then the youngest person ever to lift them was a 16-year-old from Canada and I was able to lift with him as well, so it was a real honor to lift with those guys,” said Elsea.

During his trip to Scotland Elsea also learned of another stone called the Inver Stone that people come to lift and he was able to complete that challenge as well.

“That’s just a large egg-shaped rock that weighs 260 pounds but there’s no handles or anything so you’ve got to pick it up and put it in your lap, and then I put it on top of a barrel,” said Elsea.

Elsea said he plans to take a break from stone lifting and will pursue something different now. He said that lifting the stones was a very fulfilling experience and he hopes others will take on the challenge.

“If I can do it, anybody can do it. I say that as long as you take the time and plan and train anybody can do it,” he said.