Cowal groups up for and receive awards

Item Posted: Tuesday 17th November, 2009

Awards by the barrelful!

… or is it by the bottleful? Fyne Ales of Cairndow continue to pick up awards when ever they go to a festival or competition. At the recent International Beer Challenge (described as ‘ The World’s Largest Packaged Beer Competition’) the brewery on the shores of Loch Fyne picked up two gold medals and a bronze, and then capped it all when their Ale ‘Highlander’ won the Ale Class Trophy as well.

Mind you I don’t care how the beer buffs describe it (their language is nearly as flowery as wine cognoscenti e.g.: ‘A straw coloured brew with a citrus aroma, grapefruit taste and a satisfying dry finish.’ ‘A darkish brown beer with smokey roasted malt). I just know I love the stuff. I won’t even tell you my favourites in their range – if you are already a fan of this very special local brewery I wouldn’t persuade you to change your mind about which you like best; and if you are a newcomer to the brand I refuse to be a killjoy and spoil your fun in finding out which best suits your taste buds!

The setting up of the brewery in 2001 was the brain child of Tuggy and Jonny Delap using a redundant milking parlour in the traditional farm buildings on their farm, and is still run very much as a family business
The design for the brewery and the impact which the brewing makes on the locality are arranged to have as little environmental impact as possible. Water is sourced from a burn above the brewery overlooking Glen Fyne and the head of Loch Fyne, and the quality of the water adds enormously to the taste. Their aim has been to produce a range of excellent beers for a discerning market - hence "uncommonly fine ales". Within nine months of starting production, they were awarded the Scottish regional gold awards from the SIBA (the Society of Independent Brewers) for two of their beers; and went on to compete with these beers in the National Championship in 2003 against strong competition from the English regions, and brought home a silver and bronze award. By 2004 they had won awards in the Scottish regional competition and have not looked back since, picking up National and local CAMRA Awards along the way.
Sadly Jonny Delap died in the summer, but he would be pleased as Punch to see the continuing success of the business. But more importantly I think he would be happy that so many more people are now enjoying the fruits of his labours.

Award at the Mod

Congratulations to Arlene MacKechnie who won a bronze medal for Fiddle at the Oban Mod. Arlene is taught in Strachur School by Sarah Naylor, schools tutor for Fiddle Folk/ Lochgoilhead Fiddle Workshop.
Her achievement was particularly impressive as there were 40 fiddlers in the Under 13 category, and Arlene has been playing for less than two years. Not content with that medal she went on to win four medals for Scottish Country Dancing!

Tourism Award for Theatre Group Leader?

The shortlist for the Highlands and Islands Tourism Awards has been announced, and the winners will be announced at a ceremony at Drumossie Hotel, Inverness on 20th November. Including dinner of great Highland fare and magnificent entertainment from the ubiquitous Red Hot Chilli Pipers and the Bruce McGregor Ceilidh band.
More informatio

The Dining Out Award received a record number of public votes with people flocking to support their good local restaurants, but the Green Award and the Leadership Award attracted the highest number of entries.
Glendaruel’s Sadie Dixon-Spain, who runs the successful Walking Theatre Company, has been short listed. The Company have had a ‘high-exposure’ year already, being involved in a large number of Homecoming projects, such as the The Hidden Jewel and events at Dunollie (which have themselves been short listed in the Best Community Event category.) As Catherine Gillies, project manager of the Macdougall Trust says: ‘It is also a huge tribute to The Walking Theatre Company from Cowal which is consistently showing itself to be both a huge asset within Argyll and excellent ambassadors outside the area. Their director Sadie Dixon-Spain has been short listed for the Leadership Award, which all of you who have met her will agree is richly deserved.’
The Majestic Line, based in Dunoon, is also in the running in the ‘Best Visitor Experience’ category, despite having only been in operation since 2005. They offer cruises and trips from Holy Loch and Oban to see the coast line of Argyll and the Inner Hebrides.
These two shortlist places are a terrific boost for Cowal, demonstrating that we have organisations and personnel capable of delivering a product which competes with the best in the Highlands and Islands.
More information on the awards, or to book a place at the dinner, at

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