Going for Gold

Going for Gold

You may not be the next Mohammed Ali, but here in Scotland we offer some quainter – and less punishing – ways to become a world champion. Simon Varwell tells you how

World Porridge Making Championships

With a strong culinary heritage, it’s no surprise that we’ve invented a competition around one of our national dishes. Porridge is a staple Scottish food, and not only have we invented the World Porridge Making Championships, but we host it, usually win it, and a local man is current champion. Do you think you’re ready to take on the mighty Scots?

Porridge is a traditional Scottish dish made from oatmeal, although the best way of preparing it is hotly debated. Some soak their oatmeal overnight in water, others use milk. It can be a simple dish with nothing but salt added, while others will go gourmet and add sugar, syrup, fruit or any number of things.

Hosted in the highland village of Carrbridge, in the beautiful Cairngorm National Park, the contest forms part of a weekend of activities that also includes a race and a piped procession. But it’s the ‘Golden Spurtle’ prize that we’ve all got our eye on and it goes to the best porridge made with only oatmeal, salt and water, while the speciality award is open to those who add other ingredients.

If you fancy entering, there’s still time – so get thinking of what you could add to porridge to win the speciality award. But you can’t add midgies, because we’ve already bagsied that recipe. OK?

The Porridge Championships take place on Sun 11 Oct, Carrbridge. Visit www.goldenspurtle.com for more info.

World Stone Skimming Championships

Another sport the Scots have declared their own is stone skimming, the scintillating challenge of bouncing stones off the surface of the water. But don’t knock it until you’ve tried it.

The 2009 world championships take place on the wee island of Easdale, in the Firth of Lorne, with both junior categories, men’s and women’s competitions, and an ‘Old Tosser’ event for the over-60s. There’s a chance for everyone to become a champ. However, the rules are strictly enforced and the competition is likely to be stiff with hundreds of competitors expected from all over the world.

Our tips for success if you fancy a pop at the title are …

1. Go smooth – your stones have to be as smooth as possible, to ensure minimum friction with the surface of the water. Ensure the edges, as well as the faces, are free of bumps and lumps. No bringing in outside stones, however – you must use Easdale slate, of which, thankfully, there is plenty around the island.

2. Go low – to get the best angle, crouch down and make sure you launch your stone as close to the surface and as horizontally as possible. This will aid your stone’s ability to bounce off, rather than hit, the surface.

3. Launch with the wrist – don’t fling your stone out there, be short, sharp and controlled with a deft flick of the wrist.

Follow The Midgie’s advice and you could well be heading towards a world championship title to make your family proud and your mates quiver with envy. Erm, yeah.

The Stone Skimming Championships take place on Sun 27 Sep, Easdale island. Visit www.stoneskimming.com for more info.

World Stone Skimming Championships

Held on Easdale Island, Argyll, the stone skimming championships attracts competitors from all round the world. Anyone can enter and have a skim, and if you arrive the night before you get to go to the pre-skim party.

Golden Spurtle World Porridge Making Championship

The hotly-contested battle for the highest accolade in the world of competitive porridge-making kicks off again with international fans of Scots cuisine battling it out for the golden spurtle. With pipes toasting the porridge, craft stalls, beer and whisky tastings.

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