Fes­ti­val cel­e­brates great chief­tain o’ pud­ding race

The Oban Times - - News - EL­LIE FORBES eforbes@oban­times.co.uk For more pic­tures and re­sults, go to www.oban­times.co.uk.

A GROUP of ded­i­cated vol­un­teers have kicked off the start of the tourist sea­son by host­ing the third an­nual hag­gis fes­ti­val.

Spean Bridge res­i­dents hosted the High­land Hag­gis Fes­ti­val last week­end which saw more than 200 peo­ple cel­e­brate Scot­land’s na­tional del­i­cacy.

This year’s fes­ti­val wel­comed Lochaber res­i­dents as well as tourists, some from Ger­many, to en­joy all things hag­gis.

Eight-year-old Ruar­idh Ste- phen, win­ner of the De­sign a Hag­gis-themed gon­dola com­pe­ti­tion, of­fi­cially opened the fes­ti­val with help from Hec­tor the Hag­gis and Dougie Beck.

Spean Bridge Pri­mary School hall was packed with stalls, all with lo­cal home-made crafts and foods, a hag­gis cafe serv­ing up hag­gis pas­try rolls, hag­gis pakora and tra­di­tional hag­gis, neeps and tat­ties, and there were a num­ber of chefs in cook­ing demon­stra­tions for a hun­gry au­di­ence.

This year was the first time the fes­ti­val has been run with­out any fund­ing. With a com­mit­tee of just six vol­un­teers, a huge amount of time and ef­fort through­out last year went into fundrais­ing the £5,000 needed to stage the event.

Com­mit­tee mem­ber Deneil Snaith told the Lochaber Times: ‘Last year we had fund­ing from the Big Lot­tery and the year be­fore that we ap­plied to the High­land Coun­cil for help, but th­ese were one- off fund­ing streams so this year we had to raise the money our­selves.

‘It cost more than £ 5,000 to put the fes­ti­val on, and we held a num­ber of fundrais­ers last year. We had a Christ­mas af­ter­noon tea which was re­ally pop­u­lar, and we hosted a wine and beer tast­ing night, which we’ll be hav­ing an­other one of soon too.’

A whole host of hag­gis-re­lated events and games took place.

Com­mit­tee mem­ber Vanessa Martin said: ‘We have cook­ery demon­stra­tions, a hag­gis fling, a hag­gis hunt and a chil­dren’s hag­gis recipe com­pe­ti­tion.’

Glenn Russell, of Russell’s Restau­rant, kicked off the cook­ery demon­stra­tions with a hag­gis and goats’ cheese cheese­cake, and was fol­lowed by head chef at In­ver­lochy Cas­tle, Andy Turn­bull.

Deneil said she was pleased with the way the event had gone. She said: ‘It’s been re­ally busy and ev­ery­one seems to be en­joy­ing all the dif­fer­ent types of hag­gis.’ She said the com­mit­tee was des­per­ately on the look-out for more vol­un­teers, adding: ‘We re­ally need to get more peo­ple in­volved with the fes­ti­val. It’s not a huge amount of work. It gets a bit crazy the week lead­ing up to it, but it all ends up be­ing re­ally fun, and the more you can share it out the bet­ter.’

Pic­tures: Iain Fer­gu­son/ The Write Im­age.

Hec­tor the Hag­gis was pop­u­lar with the younger fes­ti­val- go­ers.

Ruar­idh Stephen opens the fes­ti­val with help from Hec­tor the Hag­gis and Dougie Beck.

Three-year- old Ge­orge MacRae in the ju­nior hag­gis ing with Glyn Davies.

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