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All change at Carrbridge as Porridge Chieftain hangs up his spurtle

By Tom Ramage

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It’s all change at Carrbridge. The village has a new Porridge Chieftain.

After many successful years at the helm – or rather, the hob – Charlie Miller has handed over the metaphorical apron strings of office to fellow villager Alan Rankin.

Charlie is their darling: joining the big parade at Carrbridge at one of the world championships is chieftain Charlie Miller (centre)
Charlie is their darling: joining the big parade at Carrbridge at one of the world championships is chieftain Charlie Miller (centre)

It’s the chieftain who leads the team at the famous Golden Spurtle World Porridge Making Championships and keeps all matters moving forward and everyone in line.

The role has been supported by many individuals from the village and is integral to the success the event has enjoyed. After many years unstinting work on the organising team Mr Miller stood down at last week’s briefing.

“Charlie is, however, not off the hook,” Mr Rankin told the Strathy, “as the committee has asked him to stay on as honorary chieftain, a role he has gracefully accepted.”

With characteristic modesty, Mr Miller pointed out that it was all a team effort: “In the lead up to and on the day of the event some 35 volunteers are involved.

Hail the new chieftain: Alan Rankin
Hail the new chieftain: Alan Rankin

“Local ladies run the kitchens and porridge tasting areas. The team work closely with the judges and competitors throughout the competition stages of the weekend.

“In addition, traffic and hall stewards help to keep things moving and volunteers deliver; programme design, media, raffle, auction, donations, village hall facilities, entrance door management, photography, website and so the list goes on!”

Mr Rankin remarked: “In addition to the massive support from local volunteers, we are also indebted to the support of sponsors and advertisers.

“Hamlyns Oats are our main sponsors, their support over the years has been so appreciated.

“The event just could not happen without these two important elements all coming together to make such a wonderful day – a day that puts Carrbridge and the strath on the world map.”

Charlie Miller has retired as the village's Porridge Chieftain
Charlie Miller has retired as the village's Porridge Chieftain

The team was delighted that the 30th edition of the well-loved event was a great success.

All agreed that the event remains in ‘rude health’ and they are already looking forward to the 31st edition on October 5, 2024.

The latest event attracted 46 competitors from 20 countries with 30 battling it out for the title of World Porridge Making Champion.

Despite the traditional pipe band parade being rained off, a packed village hall saw Londoner Adam Kiani win the Golden Spurtle and fellow Londoner Bobby Fisher win the speciality dish crown.

The title of World Porridge Making Champion is awarded to the contestant deemed to have made the best traditional porridge using just three ingredients – oatmeal, water and salt.

Entries are judged for appearance, texture, colour and taste. This year’s judges included former Gleneagles Executive Chef, Neil Mugg, American-Scot Christina Conte, and New Zealander Kirsten Gilmour, owner of KJ’s Bothy Bakery in Grantown on Spey.

Perthshire-based Master Chef finalist Sarah Rankin was a great hit as master of ceremonies keeping the audience entertained with her knowledgeable and fun approach to interviewing and commentating on competitors.

The event attracts international media attention. Social media channels across Facebook and Instagram reached world-wide audiences. The event was live streamed on Facebook reaching more than 10,000 people.

The event attracted over 20 media personnel on the day including camera crews from Australia, Sweden and the UK.

Details of the event, the rules and how to enter can be found at www.goldenspurtle.com Entries will open in March next year.

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