THE Scottish Coal Carrying Championships will return to Fife next weekend thanks to sponsorship from National Pride UK.

The annual event, which takes place in Kelty on August 28, is one of only two coal races in the world. It was created by Michael Boyle who wanted to create a link between the modern-day village and its’ rich coal mining heritage.

Lack of sponsorship between 2016 and 2019, with the pandemic 2020, forced its cancellation, but this year sees the full restoration of the event.

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 5000 spectators each year. National Pride UK are specialists in repurposing and rejuvenating redundant land and buildings.

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The company 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. Development plans include retaining the Charles Jencks landforms known locally as the “walnut whips”.

Former prime minister Gordon Brown and National Pride UK directors will be presenting prizes to the winning participants. The closing date for entries for the adult race is August 17, with limited spaces available.

Boyle 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.

“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. We hope that as many as people as possible can take part on the day and join in the fun.”