Welcome return for the Scottish Coal Carrying Championships

Tuesday, 31 August 2021

The Scottish Coal Carrying Championships made a welcome return to Kelty, Fife on Saturday 28th August, with Wallace Nelson winning the men’s race in 4:56 and Caroline Lech the ladies in 5:02.  Rebeca Prowse from Broxburn won the girls race and Cohan Hunter from Kelty the boys.

Commencing in 1995, the annual event was created by Michael Boyle and is one of only two Coal Races in the world. His aim was to create an enduring link between the modern-day village and its’ rich coal mining heritage.

Lack of sponsorship between 2016 and 2019 and the impact of COVID-19 in 2020 forced its cancellation. This year however saw the full restoration of the event, thanks to sponsorship from National Pride UK Community Interest Company (CIC).

Former Prime Minister Gordon Brown together with National Pride UK Directors presented prizes to the winning participants.

The men’s race requires participants to carry a 50-kilo bag of coal and the ladies’ race requires a 25-kilo bag of coal to be carried over 1000 metres through the village of Kelty. Children carry a 15-kilo bag of coal.

National Pride UK are specialists in repurposing and rejuvenating redundant land and buildings, to support local health and social benefit through focused environmentally sustainable economic regeneration projects.

With its investor partner, National Pride UK recently purchased the 976-acre former coal mine of St Ninians and Loch Fitty, which is located near Dunfermline in the Kingdom of Fife. The site is to be developed into an Eco-Therapy, Leisure and Wellness Park to promote healthy activity, rejuvenation and mental resilience. Development plans include retaining the Charles Jencks landforms known locally as the ‘walnut whips’.

Michael Boyle, founder and race organiser, said:

“A big congratulations to not just the winners, who certainly hit a rich seam of form on the day, but to all those who took part in making this such a marvellous event. As one of only two Coal Races in the world none of this could have taken place without the generous sponsorship of National Pride UK, National Lottery Awards for All Scotland, Fife Council and the Scotland’s Events Recovery Fund, as well as other sponsors.”

Irene Bisset, Chair of National Pride UK, said:

“It was remarkable to see all those taking part in what has been an incredible test of strength and endurance. We were truly privileged to have had the opportunity to sponsor such a marvellous event, investing back into the local community.”

Videos of the event.

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Scottish Coal Carrying Championship