THE unique Scottish Coal Carrying Championships will return to Kelty this weekend.

Running for its 24th year, the event is the brainchild of organiser Michael Boyle who aims to create an enduring connection between the modern-day village and its past, with the race one of only two of its kind in the world.

There's an added twist to the entertainment this year with a 'wife carrying race', as well as the first flower show in the village for 60 years and a heritage bus trip added to the programme.

Also returning will be draughts and dominoes and the 'gird and cleek' contest for kids.

The highlight will see hardy competitors dashing through the village, along a 1km course, with a 50kg bag of coal on their back – ladies will shoulder a 25kg burden for their race.

Children's races will also see youngsters take on their course with coal of five, ten or 15 kilogrammes.

The event, which is sponsored by National Pride UK, has also attracted the interest of a German television crew who will be in attendance to film the championships.

Michael explained: "They wanted to come to Scotland and picked three traditional events. They are covering the tattoo, some Highland Games and they are going to cover our race.

"The script is anything that involved a miner's life. This is the purpose of it. It is not too distant in relation to the old miner's gala. We have got a street market and a fun fair and the street market is pretty much everything. That is to get people who have got things like cottage industries to get them out and trading and being part of the selling process.

Central Fife Times:

"We have singers and community acts, community bands and anyone still wanting to get involved can.

"We kick off with the mascots then a new event, the wife carrying competition to get people going. It doesn't have to be someone's wife, it can be someone else's or man with man or woman with woman. As long as it is two consenting adults who manage to carry each other over the course.

"This is how traditions and stories and legacies are left. People will remember."

Michael said the weekend will help bring the area's heritage to life.

"I could book the Moray Institute and set up a museum but that is not what heritage is all about. Heritage is now. This is a historical event because the people that have just run the race have just made history. It is living history.

"It is something a bit different, a bit off the wall. We like to do things out of the box.

"We are respectful that these miners built our community and it is a nice throwback to the days of the 60s and 70s when everything was good. Then, there were vegetable shows, heritage buses and the like and it is a throw back to the past."

The 24th Annual Coal Carrying Championships takes place this Saturday, August 24, at Main Street, Kelty, with all the action, fun and entertainment beginning at noon.