It was competition time at this year’s Saltire Festival (24-30 November 2014) – with more events than ever on the calendar and thousands enjoying the annual St Andrew’s Day celebrations in East Lothian, the ‘home of the flag’.
The Saltire Festival celebrates St Andrew’s Day and is part of Scotland’s Winter Festivals – a programme of events funded by the Scottish Government and managed by EventScotland.
Seven local schools took part in a Saltire Education Day, with St Martin’s Primary in Tranent winning Best Dressed Dining Room. Runners-up were Loretto RC Primary in Musselburgh. A special poetry competition was won by Ben Nightingale from Innerwick, Maya Downs and Jessica Crosbie from East Linton and Maria Schettulli from Loretto RC.
The Saltire Raceday at Musselburgh Racecourse attracted a crowd of more than 1,500 people and the Saltire Conditional Jockey’s Handicap Hurdle race was won by ‘One for Hocky’.
The John Muir Winter Carnival at Foxlake Adventures proved very popular and involved some intense competition!
James Barbour, Director at Foxlake, said: “More than 1000 competitors and spectators attended our second John Muir Winter Carnival, making it a huge success. It was great to see so many people competing and also trying their hand at everything from zorb balling and coastal rowing to archaeology at the ‘dig on the hill’. The atmosphere on the day was fantastic. A big thanks to everyone who attended and helped make it such a great day, including all the traders and activity providers.”
The 2014 Saltire Festival enjoyed a great turnout at several events celebrating St Andrew’s Day. The first ever Saltire Epicurean Affair at Haddington Corn Exchange, showcasing luxury food and drink brands, sold out, attracting almost 500 attendees.
One of this year’s signature events, Hue and Cry at the Brunton, Musselburgh, played to more than 400 music-lovers.
A special Saltire-themed Haddington Farmers Market drew large crowds, who enjoyed a cookery demonstration courtesy of Mark DeFreitas from the Maitlandfield House Hotel and Cullen Skink and shortbread from the Waterloo Bistro, both Haddington.
Feast n’ Folk gave locals and visitors the chance to enjoy traditional music and a delicious Scottish menu at more than 14 bars and restaurants in the area.
The Festival was rounded off by the traditional service and flag handover ceremony at Athelstaneford Church. The flag was carried from Athelstaneford to Prestonpans on horseback, then, a team of volunteers and members of Beyond Boundaries East Lothian (BBEL offers a wide range of outdoor adventurous activities and all-ability cycling to people with disabilities and mental health issues aged 16 years plus and living in East Lothian) carried the flag from Prestonpans to Fisherrow where it was met by the Honest Toun Association members.
On arrival at St Michael’s Parish Church, Inveresk, the flag handover marked the start of The Saltire Concert, hosted by comedienne Jo Caulfield, which celebrated St Andrew’s Day with Scottish music and verse and was attended by 150 people.
Councillor John McMillan, Cabinet Spokesperson for Economic Development and Tourism said: “Once again, we’ve had a great Saltire Festival with a huge variety of events for people of all ages and interests. It’s great to celebrate East Lothian’s heritage as the home of the Saltire flag and to celebrate St Andrew’s Day. I hope everyone who took part had a fantastic time and will return next year and bring their friends!”.
The Saltire 2014 was organised by East Lothian Council.