9 min read

I was wrong about this stonelifter...

What do you do when you inadvertently make a factual mistake? Plus news and updates from the stonelifting world.

Firstly, I want to give a huge thanks to everyone who signed up for the newsletter over the last couple of months! If you've been wondering where the newsletters have been, I was on a small hiatus while I traveled to Japan.

I'm now back! And newsletters will resume as normal (roughly monthly). Now that it's summer there's loads going on in the world of stonelifting (too much to cover in fact), so let's dive in.

Here's your list of this month's topics. Feel free to jump around to the ones that interest you most:

  • Visiting Japanese power stones
  • I was wrong about this stonelifter
  • Glen Livet stone update
  • Ireland stonelifting tour
  • The Nicol Walking stones at the Strongman Classic
  • Strength Unknown: China
  • Dinnie Stones enamel pin update
  • Upcoming: Donald Dinnie Day, The Gathering VII

Visiting Japanese power stones

Part of my trip to Japan was spent researching and lifting some power stones. In total I visited over 20 different stone locations, challenged the liftable stones, met with some other stonelifting enthusiasts, and learned a lot!

A stitch of two images side-by-side. Left: A statue of strongman Sannomiya Unosuke. Right: A pair of lifting stones.

Despite dedicating several days exclusively to visiting stones, I feel like I barely scratched the surface of what Japanese stonelifting has to offer. So I'm sure I'll go back for more in the future.

I don't want to spoil too much in this month's newsletter; I'll be writing articles about cool Japanese stones and their stories over the coming months. In fact, I published the first article as a result of my research in Japan today. And I hope you look forward to future articles!

I was wrong about this stonelifter

Forgive the mild clickbait. But this is an important topic to me: What do you do when you get something wrong?

During my trip to Japan I spent a fair amount of time researching a strongman from the 1800's – Sannomiya Unosuke. He's known for lifting dozens of heavy stones, and even the heaviest lifting stone in Japan at 610kg (1,345lbs).

In fact, the 610kg stone was the first Japanese stone I wrote about over 3 years ago. And my research has progressed a ton in those years. The thing about making progress in research is that you can find out that you were wrong.

About 18 months ago, I realised I may have made a mistake in the article about the 610kg stone: I called Sannomiya Unosuke a Sumo wrestler. I had good reason to believe that (including an official translation). But I also had my doubts. So one of my goals in Japan was to find out definitively and put the record straight.

I now have an answer; Sannomiya Unosuke was not a sumo wrestler. He was solely a strongman.

So what do you do when you get something wrong? I could simply silently update the article. But that seems a little disingenuous. liftingstones.org is a project dedicated to sharing research and factual information, so I need to be open about mistakes and developments through research. When I make mistakes, incorrect information can spread.

With all that in mind, I created a new Corrections page on the website to list all major corrections. Each correction will have its own article detailing what was incorrect, along with the evidence I have to support the change. I published the first correction today: Sannomiya Unosuke was not a sumo wrestler - where I delve into all the details.

Alongside the  correction article, I've revised the article about 大盤石 (the 610kg stone) and updated the photos with images from my visit to the shrine (and the local sweet shop!).

I'm hoping that corrections will be few and far between. But I'll always point them out here in the newsletter. And if you happen to find any errors, please email me – my inbox is always open.

Glen Livet stone update

Speaking of corrections: A few weeks back, a photo of the Glen Livet Stone spread across Instagram, showing a significant break.

A photo of a broken lifting stone. A large chunk is clearly separated from the stone.

It turns out that this isn't new damage - it's the same heat-damaged break from a while back. I (and others in the stonelifting community) originally thought this was additional damage. So when Jamie Gorrian confirmed it was the same break from a while back, I was at least a bit relieved.

If you do decide to visit the Glen Livet Stone, please take extreme care. We don't really know the extent of the heat damage or how that may affect the stone's strength. Please leave the stone with the damaged side facing down on the plinth when you leave.

Any time that we bring up broken or damaged stones, it's worth sharing the stonelifting etiquette article.

Ireland stonelifting tour

David Keohan has been leading the charge when it comes to Irish stonelifting. It seems like he posts about a new discovery every other week - it's hard to keep up!

Back in June, Sean Urquhart, David Keohan, and others went on a multi-day tour of the newly uncovered Irish stones in (what I believe was) the very first Irish stonelifting tour!

A group of five men pose for a photo next to the stone of Inishmore.

They visited over a dozen heavy stones across the country. Sean remarked that the average weight and difficulty of the Irish stones far exceeded his expectations. And that the majority of the stones were at least as heavy as Iceland's Fullsterkur stones! Irish stonelifters were strong indeed!

On the 26th of August, David will be at the O'Flaherty Festival at Inishmore celebrating Liam O'Flaherty. O'Flaherty wrote a story in 1937 called 'The Stone' based on the stone of Inishmore that David uncovered.

The festival will include talks, exhibition stonelifting by David, and more! Anyone is welcome to attend - so if it sounds interesting, put it in your calendar!

This tour and the recent buzz around Ireland's stonelifting history feel like just the beginning of Ireland's stonelifting resurgence. David is putting tons of effort and passion into his research and promotion of Irish stonelifting, appearing on multiple podcasts to share his stories.

I wouldn't be surprised if Ireland becomes a top location for stonelifting along with the likes of Scotland and Iceland in just a few years.

The Nicol Walking Stones at the Strongman Classic

Reminder: My recaps usually contain spoilers - skip this section if you don't want to spoil anything from the Giants Live Strongman Classic.

Earlier this month, I had the pleasure of going to the Royal Albert Hall to see the Giants Live Strongman Classic. I bought tickets long before any events were announced, so imagine my joy when I found out that the Nicol Walking Stones were going to be the first event!

There were plenty of impressive carries by the athletes, but Eddie Williams eclipsed the rest with an insane walk - surpassing Kevin Faires' record from last year. Luckily, I captured some images of Eddie just after the 30-meter mark.

A photo of Eddie Williams carrying the Nicol Walking Stones at the Strongman Classic.

The atmosphere the entire evening was electric, but when Eddie crossed the record-breaking mark, the crowd of 5,000 made some of the loudest noise I've ever heard at a strongman show.

Eddie went home with the new indoor Nicol Walking Stones record at 33.66 meters (110' 5")! Interestingly, Eddie's walk is almost exactly double the distance he posted last year at the World Tour Finals (16.58m, 54' 5")! An insane improvement. I updated the Nicol Walking Stones page with his new record as soon as I could.

Eddie's Nicol Stones record is the third new record in as many years at Giants Live. Now that the stones have appeared a few times, athletes are taking them more seriously. They now have better experience with the stones and are training harder now that they know they can gain precious points by walking just a few extra meters.

A few years ago, the 20-meter mark was the milestone to hit. Now 30 meters has fallen, leaving 40 meters - 2 full lengths - as the next huge milestone. I can't wait to see that!

Giants Live post clips and highlights of recent shows on YouTube, where you can watch Eddie Willams' insane carry. If you're in the UK, the Strongman Classic will likely be on TV this Christmas.

Strength Unknown: China

Martins Licis and Romark showed off more stonelifting culture in one of their recent Strength Unknown episodes in China.

The pair went to Jinqiao Park in Shanghai to find a group of people lifting with stone locks - one style of Chinese stonelifting. Stone locks can be thought of as an ancient version of a kettlebell or a dumbbell.

A chinese man swings a stone lock into the air.

Stone locks are rarely heavy since they're often lifted in a dynamic, acrobatic way as seen in the video. However, this group had a special stone created in April of this year weighing 428 jīn (214kg, 472lbs), claiming it to be the heaviest stone in Shanghai!

The challenge of this massive stone lock is to carry it in a duck-walk style. Of course, when presented with a test of strength Martins had to try it for himself. The sheer size of the stone makes it a difficult test of strength, but Martins managed a fantastic walk.

Martins Licis carries the huge stone lock.

You can watch this episode of Strength Unknown on YouTube.

Dinnie Stones enamel pin update

First of all, I want to thank everyone who replied to my last email to pre-order enamel pins! I wasn't expecting such a huge amount of support.

I received the batch of pins last month (they turned out great) and shipped the first orders! Here's a photo of mine on my copy of 'Of Stones and Strength'.

A Dinnie Stones enamel pin sits on a the Dinnie Stones page of 'Of Stones and Strength'.

Pre-orders remain open exclusively for newsletter subscribers until next month. After I ship all pre-orders, I'll open orders to anyone alongside a new shop page on the website. If you want to be one of the first people to receive a pin, please reply to this email, and I'll send you a checkout page.

Sales of every pin directly support the project and give you something uniquely 'stonelifting' in return. And they're perfect for pinning onto your gym bag, clothes, or whatever you like! Mine's on my backpack.

Donald Dinnie Day, The Gathering VII

This year's Gathering at Potarch is quickly approaching. And it looks like this year's is going to be the biggest and best yet.

The day of events consists of the Donald Dinnie Games, the first ever Jan Todd games, groups of lifters challenging the Dinnie Stones, record attempts, and more!

There are tons of incredible athletes attending too. You may remember Hannah Linzay from this year's Arnold Strongwoman Classic back in March. She'll be competing in the first ever Jan Todd games as well as challenging the Dinnie Stones.

Romark Weiss (best known as Martins Licis' videographer and best friend) will attempt to lift the Dinnie Stones too. Romark attempted the Replica Dinnie Stones last year at the Rogue Invitational in Texas and narrowly missed out. The question is: Will Romark attempt the lift in Crocs like he did with the Replica stones?

One of the highlights of the day will be Laurence Shahlaei's attempt to carry the Dinnie Stones a full 17’ 1.5” without dropping them. If successful, he'll break his own carry distance record (14' 10") and cement himself as a legend of strength.

The Gathering VII starts at noon on Sunday 6th August at Potarch café & Restaurant. The full schedule along with the lineup and events for the Donald Dinnie Games and Jan Todd games can be found on thedinniestones.com.

As always, thanks for reading!

In strength,


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The liftingstones.org shop

Dinnie Stones enamel pin

Inspired by the world’s most famous lifting stones, this liftingstones.org original pin is perfect for showing off your love of stonelifting by pinning it to your gym bag, clothes, or anywhere else.