Last weekend Mr B and I belatedly celebrated our 5th wedding anniversary (it was at the beginning of September but a few different factors put our celebrations on hold temporarily) in the Cairngorms. We found a good deal in a hotel in Aviemore and took ourselves off into the sunshine.
We started off with brunch at the Mountain Cafe (it’s one of my absolute favourite places to eat in the Caingorms, and I have blogged about it previously) with lovely friends before taking ourselves on a walk around Craigellachie Nature Reserve. On the path up, there were some beautiful sights amongst the trees and plants.
It was a decent ascent with rough gravel paths and we took a few breaths here and there to catch the view in the autumn light.
We stopped at the first viewpoint clear of the trees – the sight across Aviemore and the Spey Valley was visible for miles.
On the way down, there were lochans with beautiful reflections to spot.
After being wined and dined in the evening and enjoying a lazy morning, it was time to move on to Carrbridge for the one and only Golden Spurtle Porridge Making championship!
While I’m not a porridge eater, I love a quirky event and this definitely ticked all the boxes!
Held in the local village hall, the championship consisted of four heats, followed by a final cook off. Every year the Cairngorms host competitors from across the globe who battle it out for the coveted title of ‘World Porridge Making Champion’ and the opportunity to win their own Golden Spurtle! A spurtle is a sturring stick essential for making porridge.
Competitors make a traditional porridge made with only oatmeal, water and salt, as well as a speciality porridge dish which can have other ingredients added. The competitors have quite the task on their hands, making both dishes simultaneously.
We joined the crowds for the third heat as we watched five competitors from the UK, Sweden and the USA battle it out for places in the final cook off.
After the heat had finished (we weren’t told the finalists until later in the day), there was a bit of a break so we pootled off to the Carrbridge Kitchen for lunch.
A perfectly seasoned beef burger with some oozing cheese, fries and salad for Mr B, while I partook in a classic soup (bacon, bean and cabbage) and sandwich affair -perfect for an autumn day.
We still wanted to make the most of the beautiful autumn sunshine before heading back to the hall to see the final porridge cook-off, so we took a wander in Ellan Wood. The spectacular autumn colours are still to come but the light had a lovely effect on the trees.
After our wee woodland wander, it was time to head back to see the final cook off. Mr B managed to locate the leftovers of the dishes which were being dished out to queues of people. He got his hands on some very decadent porridge-like rice pudding with a thick toffee sauce.
Soon after it was time for the cookoff, after which the winners were announced. Thorbjorn Kristensen won the speciality porridge dish (I have no clue what it was, as the dishes weren’t introduced during the heats) and Bob Moore from the USA won the traditional porridge accolade as well as the coveted Golden Spurtle!
It was a great event to dip into during our time away and brought out little overnight trip to the Cairngorms to a close!