Moray town hall packed out as Doric takes centre stage

Bothy Ballad winner Hector Riddell

House full signs went up at Elgin Town Hall at the weekend when over 700 people attended the annual ‘Bothy Ballads Champion of Champions’.

It was the 33rd year for the Elgin Rotary Club as hosts of Saturday’s event with some of Scotland’s finest voices performing the best Doric ballads in the hope of winning the coveted Macallan Porridge Bowl and Spurtle.

Judges had to decide between six regional winners that included defending champion Geordie Murison – and in the event they only managed to split the top three by a single point.

Hector Riddell from Finzean came out top with a performance of ‘Sleepytoon’ which recalls the harsh life of those working on the Sleepytoon Farm in the 19th century. Peterhead’s Bill Gray was runner-up while Shona Donaldson from Tarland finished in third place.

Following the event judge Jimmy Hutchison said: “It was a wonderful night – if you told someone down south you were going to a Bothy Ballad evening in February in the north of Scotland, they might expect no more than a dozen people there.

“But the place was sold out and it is a credit to the competition – I think it will keep going forever.”

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