A lot of research goes unpublished.
Many visits to Universities, Libraries and exhibitions may take hours and days to arrange, yet result in a mere few words in a book or article. Or sometimes, nothing at all.
I found a number of interesting items when looking for information relating to Donald Dinnie. I hope you enjoy these facts, which never made it in to my book Donald Dinnie Uncovered.
The stones were lifted in 1860, right?
I have never found any proof to back up this claim. Donald Dinnie never provided a date when he mentioned his feat of strength in national newspapers on Saturday 7th October 1911. In fact, no articles or book of that era speculated a date for this feat.
19th century literature offered no date for the event. As the decades passed after Dinnie's death, it became about 100 years in several articles. By the 1970s an unexpected degree of specificity begins to appear with articles stating around 1860. At time of writing, most articles assume 1860 as the exact date of this event.
Who was the first to lift the stones since Dinnie?
We've all heard the question.
It's a poorly phrased question but the answer is "we can't be sure" regardless.
Does such a question refer to air under a single stone? Both stones? Perhaps it means the first to carry both stones?
We can't say to an exact certainty what the history of the stones is. However, we can say it is not the same as what is generally espoused on the internet as fact.
A small subset of information is recorded in books and even less is online and searchable. However, scanning the available information, it is clear that there was an ongoing interest in the stones after Dinnie's death. It is worth noting the two claimed lifts in 1911. They are potentially the same individual. Or it is a single event that are gained details in its retelling.
Weren't the Stones Missing for, like, 100 years?
Even though there is doubt around the specific date that Dinnie made his lift, the stones didn't disappear immediately afterwards, only to reappear in the early 1950s courtesy of the efforts of David Webster.
As you can see above there were claimed lifts in 1911 that made the national press. In fact, the blurry reference below from the Aberdeen Press and Journal , Tuesday 25th September, 1928 refers to the Dinnie stones, which were still present in 1928. Even rough arithmetic shown the location of the stones was unknown for about 25 years.
The myth that Louis Cyr lifted a Dinnie stone was also created around the time. The book authored by George Jowett contained that story. It was published in 1927 and titled The Strongest Man That Ever Lived. There was enduring interest in the stones.