A north-east performer has sung his way into the history books after becoming the Champion of Champions for a seventh year.
Joe Aitken, from Kirriemuir, secured the coveted porridge bowl and spurtle trophy and the Donald Ferguson Medal at this year’s Bothy Ballads as it made its return to Moray on Saturday.
The 75-year-old first began competing in 1986, and at the weekend secured an impressive seventh win, despite tough competition.
He last claimed the title in 2018, for his soulful rendition of Bogie’s Bonnie Belle on the Toonhaal Bothy stage in Elgin.
Watch winner Joe Aitken in action
During the one-night event, the retired crofter this time performed a spellbinding rendition of the ballad “The Hearst o’ Rettie”, securing him the top spot over a field that included last year’s winner Hector Riddle from Finzean, Aberdeenshire.
The famous ballad tells the story of the change over from the scythe to the back delivery reaper that took place in the 19th century.
Dozens of people packed Elgin Town Hall for the 38th annual competition – organised by Elgin Rotary Club – to celebrate the traditional Doric farming songs honouring the glorious countryside.
Crofters in the north-east developed the tunes to entertain themselves while they worked, reflecting on their hard work while poking fun at superiors in the industry.
Speaking after his success, Mr Aitken said: “I’m fair chuffed about it. It’s great to win.
“Some days you just know you are in good form and last night everything just seemed to click. It was a good competition.”
Mr Aitken said the competition was hugely important in keeping the tradition live for generations to come.
He added: “It keeps Bothy ballads to the forefront and I think they should be kept alive.
“There are younger people still coming through and interested in them and we are indebted to the Elgin Rotary club for keeping running the competition.”
Judges Pete Shepheard and Jimmy Hutchison described Mr Aitken’s performance as “immaculate” and said he had sung with “great feeling of the story”.
Second prize was secured by Doug Hay following his rendition of “Bogies Bonnie Belle”, followed by 2019 champion Hector Riddle in third place with his performance of “The Hash o’ Benagoak”.
Elgin Rotary Club President, Margaret Stenton, said: “It has been another tremendous evening.
“We’re delighted at the continuing success of Bothy Ballads, now in its 38th year.
“As a club, we’re proud we can help to make sure this unique part of the cultural heritage of the north east of Scotland is kept alive in this very entertaining way.”