AN AWARD-WINNING Wemyss Bay butcher has retained his coveted 'King of Black Pudding' title in a prestigious award.

Nigel Ovens from McCaskie’s has kept the honorary National Black Pudding Championship title for 2024 with an unprecedented fourth championship win in the Scotland-wide competition.

And the undisputed winner said he was “absolutely delighted” to hang on to the title in one of the industry’s most fiercely contested competitions.

The butcher's latest champion is a new recipe created for the company’s 'Pirie’s' sub-brand, which narrowly pipped McCaskie’s to lift the West of Scotland Regional Championship, before going on to secure the national title in the Scottish Craft Butchers Awards.

As previously reported, James Pirie and Son’s world-beating pie is just one of the closely guarded award-winning recipes being sold by the Angus business to the UK’s Butcher Shop of the Year, McCaskie’s Butcher and Café.

The multi-award-winning Inverclyde butcher takes over the brand, coveted recipes and intellectual property of Pirie’s, which closed its business and Newtyle shop in April when owners Alan and Norma Pirie retired after hugely successful careers in the industry.

Largs and Millport Weekly News: Nigel Ovens has retained his undisputed and coveted title in the national competitionNigel Ovens has retained his undisputed and coveted title in the national competition (Image: Scottish Craft Butchers)

“If the renowned McCaskie’s black pudding had to be pushed out of the running, I’m absolutely thrilled that it was by another of my recipes,” said a delighted Nigel.

"We naturally didn’t want to change anything about the 2022 McCaskie’s champion, but our Pirie’s brand gave us the chance to experiment with a slightly sweeter version – and it has proved a winner on its first outing.

“We’re incredibly honoured to retain the title – it’s one that every butcher aspires to and we don’t take this achievement lightly. 

“It makes me immensely proud to say I have created two championship-winning black puddings – I’m absolutely elated.”

Nigel has now won the Scottish Black Pudding Championship title in 2024, 2022, 2004 and 2003. Around 1,000 kgs are produced at Wemyss Bay every week to supply customers across the UK.

Nigel’s passion for black pudding saw him spearhead a campaign to stage a National Black Pudding Day to celebrate and acknowledge the Scottish staple – the first being held throughout the UK on March 18 this year.

He added: “There’s little doubt that if you want the best black pudding in Scotland, then head to Wemyss Bay where you can have your choice of two Championship winners."

Largs and Millport Weekly News: Nigel has now won the Scottish Black Pudding Championship title in 2024, 2022, 2004 and 2003Nigel has now won the Scottish Black Pudding Championship title in 2024, 2022, 2004 and 2003 (Image: Scottish Craft Butchers)

Gordon King, executive manager of Scottish Craft Butchers, said: "The fact that he has once again come up with a championship-winning product proves that Wemyss Bay really is the home of the best black puddings in Scotland.

“It’s a remarkable achievement to retain the title with a different recipe and we’re delighted for Nigel and his family as well as the entire staff at McCaskie’s.

“Black pudding is one of the iconic products for craft butchers and to be crowned overall winner in Scotland is seen as the ultimate accolade. It’s quite something to repeatedly lift that title as Nigel has done.”

Drew Goudie, of sponsors Scobies Direct, added his congratulations to the champion.

“Scobies Direct is very proud to be associated with Scottish Craft Butchers and to sponsor the national championship for such an iconic product,” he said.

“It’s a real privilege to witness the level of skill, innovation and expertise that butchers from across the country employ to craft the very best black pudding that we all enjoy.

“To see the reigning champion retain the title with a new recipe is amazing and we congratulate everyone at McCaskie’s on the new Pirie’s title-winning product.”