How to be a competitor at the Golden Spurtle part two: the competition weekend

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Spurtle smlThe Golden Spurtle World Porridge Making Championship is more than just a competition, it’s a weekend of events. If you make it through the selection process to become a competitor, you will receive an invitation to participate in these events. It’s really in the spirit of this friendly competition, held in the welcoming community of Carrbridge, to join in.

GS winnersThe Competition weekend begins with a reception. This is the chance to meet the other competitors, your rivals! eye ball to eye ball. In fact it’s a really pleasant social occasion where you will get the opportunity to meet previous winners, local legends and newcomers alike. It’s also the time to meet the very important person; the competition coordinator and all of her team. You will also get last minute news and updates and meet the judges.

Tip One: Unless you have the strong constitution of a certain mutli-spurtle winning competitor 😉 don’t drink too much, don’t stay too late! You will need a good nights sleep and be fresh faced ready for the competition.

Setting up smlThe day of the Golden Spurtle has finally arrived and it’s a prompt start. In the competition joining instructions you will receive exact timings but normally you will need to arrive to the competition venue (Carrbridge Village hall) around 9.30am.  The morning starts with competitors bringing their kit into the hall and generally chatting and settling in.

Tip Two, Lists and kit: Remember that list I told you to write in the first post? Well this is where it will come into it’s own. If you know what you need, you will know if anything is missing. As for kit, I’m known for my complex specialty Porridge recipes and coming with a lot of kit! That’s why I bought a large wheeled bag to transport my equipment. Other competitors use large plastic boxes or crates. A specific container makes moving your kit easier and means you are less likely to lose items. 

GS Group smlAfter you have unloaded your kit it’s time for the photo call. This is the opportunity for local, national and international press to get group photos of the competitors. Even if you don’t enjoy having your photo taken do try to put on a brave face. You should be proud of getting this far!

Tip Three: It’s not just the press taking photos, it’s your chance to get some nice pics too for your blog/twitter/Facebook and the family album too. If you have come with a friend or family member ask them to take lots of photos, throughout the day too. If you have travelled by yourself, ask one of the other competitors friends to get some photos for you, they are all a friendly bunch!

Parade 1 smlThen it’s on to the parade. A key part of the competitions opening ceremony is a parade through Carrbridge. Competitors are asked to assemble at the bridge (from which the village gets it’s name) to walk through the village being led by a piped band. Villagers and tourists alike, line the roadside to welcome the competitors as the Golden Spurtle trophy is paraded through the village.

Toast to the PorridgeThe parade ends at the village hall where the last part of the opening ceremony, the all important ‘Toast to the Porridge’, is led by the Master of Ceremonies.  Each competitor is offered a ‘wee dram’ of whisky or Iron Bru to toast to the Porridge, an offering for a successful competition! From here the competition begins and in the third post of this series I will explain in detail how the competition works.

Tip Four: Don’t forget to pop along to the events happening on the school playing field. When you have finished your round of the competition pop over and see the stalls on the playing field. From a 10k running race to craft stalls and a tasty venison lunch, there are lots of things on offer during the day of the competition. Don’t forget to pop to the Mary’s Meals stand too, the official charity of the competition, to find out what is happening for World Porridge Day held annually on the 10th of October. 

Now there is only one thing left to say and that is after the competition has finished, don’t forget to stay for the party! The last couple of years the Golden Spurtle has finished with a Ceilidh, a traditional Scottish dance. This really is the time to let you hair down, indulge in a little whisky and enjoy a traditional ‘stovie supper’. It’s also a nice time to chat to fellow competitors, commiserating and celebrating in equal measure. 

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