We were delighted to welcome eight-year-old Ruaraidh Stephen from Fort William in Lochaber on, Saturday 25th March, he won the Scotland wide competition to design a ‘Highland Haggis Festival’ themed Gondola for Nevis Range Mountain Experience, home to the UK’s only Mountain Gondola. The competition was part of the 2017 Highland Haggis Festival, the family and fun focused celebration of Scotland’s iconic national dish, that will be held in the village of Spean Bridge, near Fort William in the Outdoor Capital of the UK, on Saturday 01 and Sunday 02 April 2017.
Ruaraidh Stephen, who is in P4 at Bun-sgoil Ghàidhlig Loch Abar, a Gaelic-medium primary school in the village of Caol near Fort William, was extremely excited to hear that his design had won the competition and reflected on the process: “We have been busy learning about all the things that make Scotland good. We were trying to picture how a Haggis might look and we looked at some strange designs. I don’t really like to eat Haggis!”
The judging panel, made up of Highland Haggis Festival Committee members and Nevis Range staff, felt Ruaraidh’s design best celebrated the Haggis and The Highland Haggis Festival 2017. The fun design has now been specially adapted by local firm All Round Signs and the new artwork has been wrapped around a Nevis Range Gondola, bringing it to life in time for the start of the Festival. The Haggis Gondola will now be used every day to transport visitors from all over the world up the slopes of Aonach Mor.
Heather Negus, Marketing Manager at Nevis Range Mountain Experience, said: “We had almost 100 entries from children from schools and nurseries across the Fort William and Lochaber area and further afield. We even had entries from children as young as 6 months which we thought was brilliant! We had a fun time looking through all the designs, both pictures and models and are delighted they will all be on display at the Haggis Festival for everyone to see.
“It was an extremely tough job choosing a winner as the standard was so high, so a huge thank you to everyone who got involved. After a lot of deliberation we chose Ruaraidh Stephen’s design because it was bright, colourful, fun and imaginative. It shows lots of lovely happy haggises all around the Gondola, reminding everyone about the Haggis Festival and the versatility of Scotland’s iconic dish.”
As part of his fantastic prize Ruaraidh Stephen and his family will be guests of honour at The 2017 Highland Haggis Festival and Ruaraidh will officially open the event on Sunday 2nd April. The whole of Ruaraidh’s class (a composite class of P3 and P4) have also been invited to a giant tea party at Nevis Range to celebrate Ruaraidh’s winning design and all of the fantastic entries received from the pupils attending Bun-sgoil Ghàidhlig Loch Abar.
All entries for the ‘Design a Highland Haggis Gondola’ competition will be displayed at Spean Bridge Primary School, the venue for the main events of Highland Haggis Festival, on Saturday 2 April 2017.
The Highland Haggis Festival brings locals and visitors together to learn about the traditional and versatile Scottish dish.