Inver stone


Once sat outside of a cottage next to the River Dee was the Inver Stone - an oval shaped granite stone.

The Inver stone
The Inver stone

The Inver Stone is arguably one of the most famous lifting stones in the world - rivalled only by the Húsafell stone and the Dinnie stones. '265LB' is carved into its face, which makes it instantly recognisable to those that know its story.

Despite its 265lb engraving, the Inver stone actually weighs 118kg (260lbs).

Challenge

Putting wind beneath the stone is enough to secure a successful lift. However, there are several records of people pressing the stone above their head. Bill Kazmaier, three time World's Strongest man, is the most well known athlete to have pressed the stone above his head.

Like other traditional stones - the 'five stages' of lifts are often attempted with this stone.

  1. Break the ground (put wind beneath the stone)
  2. Bring the stone to waist height (lap the stone)
  3. Bring the stone to the chest
  4. Bring the stone to the shoulder
  5. Press the stone overhead

After the stone was relocated to the Braemar Highland Games Centre, a barrel was placed outside especially for the Inver Stone. The goal is to lift the stone from the floor and place it on top of the barrel.

Bill Kazmaier presses the Inver Stone
Bill Kazmaier puts the Inver Stone overhead, 1979

Contrary to popular belief the Inver Stone was not carried to the Inver Hotel bar by Bill Kazmaier.

After your attempt you are invited to sign the Inver guest book, recording the history of lift attempts.

History

The Inver stone has a long history, and may have been used as a clan lifting stone before 1715. It's believed that the Inver stone used as a weight measure for around 60 years. June Richards started the guest book in 2005, and was the keeper of the stone for over 40 years until she sadly passed away in 2020.

Its history dates back to the 17th century where men would lift the stone in ad-hoc competition at the Inn, just to entertain themselves. Likely during their travels as they passed through Inver village.

Then, from the mid 18th to the early 19th century the stone was a weight for measuring corn and wheat. Explaining the unique engraving on the stone's face which displays the weight.

After falling out of use as a measuring weight, it was once again used as a lifting stone - though it might not have been lifted often. It has been sat outside of Inver Cottage since the early 20th century.

The Inver Stone was used in a competition in Glasgow in 1963, influencing the creation of the McGlashen stones. Athletes would lift these four sandstone balls onto whisky barrels in successive weights. The McGlashen stones eventually became an event at World's Strongest Man. A fifth stone was introduced in 1986, and it evolved into the Atlas Stone event that the sport is famous for.

A man lifts the Inver Stone in a competition in Glasgow
The 1963 competition in Glasgow, featuring the Inver Stone

The Inver stone’s influence in Strongman doesn’t stop there. At the 2020 Arnold Strongman Classic, the stones used in the ’Trial by Stone’ event were directly inspired by the Inver stone. Down to the shape and weight engravings.

Timeline of the Inver Stone (adapted from Peter Martin's research)
Time frame Location Use
Before 1715 and earlier Outside ancient shebeen Lifting stone with possible Clan association
Up to 1715 Outside ancient shebeen Lifting stone and weight measurement
1760 - 1820 Outside Stables of Inver Inn Used to measure Boll of meal
1820 - beginning of 20th century Outside Stables of Inver Inn Lifting stone, no longer used as a weight measurement
20th century - 2020 Outside Inver Cottage Lifting stone
July 18th, 2021 - Present Braemar, with the Highland games committee Lifting stone

Location

The Inver stone moved to a new location in July 2021. It is now located at Braemar, cared for by the highland games committee. If you want to lift the stone please contact the Braemar Highland Games Centre.

Inver Cottage, with the stone sitting outside
Inver Cottage, the stone's old home, with the stone sitting outside

The location is on our map.

Related stones

The Inver stone seems to have influenced the stones used at the 2020 Arnold Stronman Classic in the 'Trial by Stone' event. Athletes had to press the first two stones, and lift the second two stones onto barrels.

Stones to be used at the ASC 2020
ASC2020 Stones

The stones are all roughly the same shape as the Inver stone, each is engraved with its weight. The 275lb stone is remarkably similar.

In media

Featured in Stoneland

References

The Inver stone (.pdf)

Aberdeenshire - The Inver stone (.pdf)