When you read this edition we will be coming up to the day of the Hill Race, The sole survivor of "Gala Week" in Abernethy so I thought this would be an appropriate time to give you a little bit of the history of the race which was first run in 1979. I remember it well!
I had a list of all the winners and their times but I gave this over a number of years ago when the Williamson Hall Committee was doing a history of Gala Week but sadly the list disappeared so all I have now is a note of the overall winners, thanks to our editor Jimmy Swan
Since the race was for everyone in Abernethy we had to have different categories: primary school children, boys and girls, senior school children boys and girls and adults men and women so somewhere there is a record of 1st 2nd and 3rd in each group. Recalling some of the names of the primary competitors, they now have children of their own who would be competitors and some of that section are now grandparents! The passage of time!
The Hill Race came about at a time when we were needing some new events to keep Gala Week alive and the inspiration came from the Lomond Race. I had a friend who competed in this so I asked him along to assess the situation on Castlelaw He thought the track would be OK and so along with John Brown then of Glentarkie Farm and other members of the Community Council plans were made. This by the way was Abernethy's first Community Council following regionalisation.
Everything was very basic at the time. First of all the track had to be marked out which was done by tying strips of cloth obtained from The Factory to whatever they could be tied to, from the bottom of the Main Street to the top of Castlelaw. This was done by Jimmy Swan, Robin MacDonald and I can't remember who else
Numbers for the competitors were written out by hand using different colours of card for each category and a large box of safety pins acquired to pin the numbers on the competitors' vests or tops. Registration took place in John Brown's caravan which was parked in the Square I can't remember what the entry fee was - not very much as the prize money was not very much either. The family of Borland who owned the Butcher's Shop at that time awarded a shield for the overall winner.
The race started in the Square and finished in the Square where cold drinks were served up during the afternoon by Irene McLaren and myself.
So that was the start of the Hill Race. As far as I know there have been no casualties but lots of fun and excitement and now thirty-nine years on we keep the fingers crossed for good weather on the day and lots of entries.
Below is a list of past overall winners.
From 1979 up to 1996
1979 Bryan Mair 18 minutes
80 Bryan Mair 17.45
81 Gerald Gahan 17.45
82 Douglas Folan 18.29
83 Andrew Brown 18.11
84 Douglas Folan 17.54
85 Douglas Folan 16.54
86 Stewart Watson 19.32
87 Alistair Blyth 18.19
88 Michael Walker 17.39
89 Michael Walker 16.56
90 Michael Walker 16.53
91 Tom Ross 16.27
92 Michael Walker 17.20
93 Craig Ferguson 18.49
94 Phil Munro Time Unknown
I have no further record but maybe someone has who could add to the list.