The Scottish Coal Carrying Championships return to Fife thanks to sponsorship from National Pride UK
The Scottish Coal Carrying Championships return to Kelty in Fife on Saturday 28th August, thanks to sponsorship from National Pride UK Community Interest Company (CIC).
The annual event was created by Michael Boyle, commencing in 1995. His aim was to create an enduring link between the modern-day village and its’ rich coal mining heritage. One of only two Coal Races in the world, the event thrills spectators who witness the effort of the coal carriers in a test of strength and determination.
COVID-19 in 2020 forced its cancellation but this year sees the full restoration of the event with spectators once again able to celebrate the sheer will of participants to cross the finishing line and be a ‘champion with every step’.
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. There will be races for children too carrying a 15-kilo bag of coal.
There will also be an array of market stalls and entertainment on a day which attracts up to 5,000 spectators each year due to the irresistible community spirit and fun the event fosters.
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.
National Pride UK with its investor partner 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’.
Sensitive environmental enhancements are a key priority in the development and through a highly respected and renowned delivery team of professional consultants, plans are rapidly evolving. Details of the development will be released to the local community as they take shape.
Former Prime Minister Gordon Brown together with National Pride UK Directors will be presenting prizes to the winning participants.
Michael Boyle, founder of the race, said: “As one of only two Coal Races in the world, it’s great to see the event going again this year and we would like to thank National Pride UK for its invaluable sponsorship.
“Kelty is a village that was built on coal and there are few people who live here whose life and family have not been touched by the coal industry. As the years go on, it can be difficult to maintain the heritage links of a village to its core roots, so I am thrilled to continue the tradition in 2021.”
Irene Bisset, Chair of National Pride UK, said: “We are ecstatic to be sponsoring such a fantastic community event, especially one that has such large social and economic value for Kelty.
“At National Pride, we take social responsibility extremely seriously and relish the opportunity to celebrate the heritage of the village, investing back into the communities we operate in. We hope that as many as people as possible can take part on the day and join in the fun.”
The Scottish Coal Carrying Championships
The idea of a Coal Race was the concept of Race Organiser, Michael Boyle who was looking for a modern-day link to the heritage of his home village of Kelty. The village became the home of the Scottish Coal Carrying Championships in 1995.
The race was acknowledged by the Scottish Parliament in 2013, when the Parliament “recognised the Scottish Coal Carrying Championships that are held each year in Kelty, Fife to be the National Championships and stated the belief that the race was indeed the link to the rich coal mining heritage of the village”.
The Scottish Coal Carrying Championships is one of only two known Coal Races in the World, the other being held annually in Gawthorpe, England.