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Haggis is the star of Lochaber village festival

Spoilt for choice as ‘Haggis Girls’ Fiona MacKenzie (left) and Morgan MacDonald offer six haggis recipes to sample and vote on.
Spoilt for choice as ‘Haggis Girls’ Fiona MacKenzie (left) and Morgan MacDonald offer six haggis recipes to sample and vote on.

A Lochaber village has cooked up a storm for the third consecutive year to celebrate the delights of Scotland’s national dish.

Spean Bridge yesterday hosted the Highland Haggis Festival, which saw devotees of the traditional delicacy tuck into such items as cheesecake, chocolate truffles and soup with Burns’ “great chieftain o’ the puddin’ race” as the staple ingredient.

If that wasn’t enough, haggis in all shapes and sizes were also hunted and flung during a series of competitions throughout the day.

Festival committee member, Deneil Snaith, said: “It went really well and around 250 people came along. This is the first year we have run the event with no external funding help and a lot of hard work has gone into organising fundraising activities. But it has all been worth it as the day was such a success.”

Local youngsters played a big role in making and decorating different haggises for the traditional hunt. This year, they were all given different names and hidden in various locations around Spean Bridge.

But there was a clue to the hiding place in each name and the children had to work out where to find them.

Ms Snaith added: “This year, we also had a competition to design a haggis-themed gondola and it was won by Ruaridh Stephen who is eight and a pupil at the Gaelic school in Caol.

“It was really good and had not only haggis in the gondola, but a monkey! As part of his prize, Ruaridh officially opened the festival and there was a display of all the other gondola designs.”

There were also junior and senior haggis-flinging competitions and cookery demonstrations by two local chefs, Glen Russell of Russell’s Restaurant in Spean Bridge and Andy Turnbull, head chef at the Inverlochy Castle Hotel.

Ms Snaith added: “They created a haggis cheesecake and dark chocolate truffles made with haggis which were just delicious.

“The winning children’s haggis recipes were also demonstrated and everyone had the chance to taste different makes of haggis to decide the winner.

“This year, we also had a bouncy castle and Countryside Ranger-led activities as well as the usual craft and produce stalls. The sun shone throughout too which just made the day.”

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