AN ANCIENT RACE is being reintroduced to the Moray calendar this spring that celebrates a one-time sport that lends its source to the work of Whisky warehousemen.
Every day the men who are responsible for managing the countless thousands of barrels containing Scotland’s treasured national product have mastered the art of ‘Barrel Rolling’ – now they are set to test each other over a 50m course.
The event is just one of many that is taking place during the Spirit of Speyside Festival from April 28 to May 2.
A course for the special event is being laid in Dufftown, at the heart of seven distilleries including arguably the most famous of them all, Glenfiddich.
The barrel race looks set to attract many of the thousands of visitors from throughout the world attending the Festival’s 500 events. It will take place on a closed road through the town centre on Sunday, May 1 and is being organised by the Dufftown and District Community Association.
Nicola Alexander, an Association Trustee, said: “The idea came about because we wanted to do something different from all the tours and nosings and tastings, but still keeping with the whisky theme.
“We hope the community will come out for this event, along with the visitors, and enjoy the Festival spirit. Competitors will be asked to race a 50m track and back up again, when the other member of the team will take over and do the same. The winner will be the fastest team.
“Before the race, two experienced warehousemen from a local cooperage will show everyone how it is done. We hope to make this a yearly event and even get all the local distilleries to have a competition between each other.”
The action will take place under the shadow of the iconic Dufftown Clock Tower at 2.15pm and will form part of a wider Dufftown Whisky Street Festival that provides entertainment throughout the May Day afternoon.
For those who still have the energy, there’s also a chance to take in all seven of the town’s distilleries in the Seven Stills Race. The course will take in all the famous and lesser known names and offers a varied and challenging route – the race takes place from 2pm.
Whisky festival manager Pery Zakeri says, “We pride ourselves on offering something for everyone, regardless of their level of interest in whisky.
“It’s possible to come and enjoy the Festival and the atmosphere without touching a drop – although we thoroughly recommend that all our visitors give the region’s fantastic whisky a try.
“There are almost 500 events on the programme this year and we defy anyone not to be able to find something that they will enjoy.”
Tickets for all events in the 2016 Spirit of Speyside Whisky Festival programme are available to buy now at www.spiritofspeyside.com.