Gone but not forgotten: We take a look back at Edinburgh's annual Shrove Tuesday race in pictures

Every year, in their masses, hundreds of locals came out to cheer on participants as they tore down Portobello Promenade, tossing pancakes for the annual Shrove Tuesday race.

Pictured above, more than 350 “hardy souls” braved freezing conditions for the race, including representatives from the police, banks and hotels, each armed with a frying pan and desperate to be the first over the finish line for a cash prize.

Women taking part in the traditional Shrove Tuesday pancake race along Portobello promenade in February 1982.

Women taking part in the traditional Shrove Tuesday pancake race along Portobello promenade in February 1982.

Today, most of us will probably enjoy a more leisurely Pancake Day, spent in the comfort of our kitchens with minimal exercise.

The only dash many of us will make will be to the cupboard or fridge to stock up on extra fillings as we gorge on piles of the sweet, sugary treats.

Yet there was a time in Edinburgh when Pancake Day races were quite the norm. In fact, the Portobello event was hailed as the UK’s major Shrove Tuesday race at one point.

Chefs taking part in a pancake race on Portobello promenade in February 1983. Picture: TSPL

Chefs taking part in a pancake race on Portobello promenade in February 1983. Picture: TSPL

“People came from all over Edinburgh either to take part in the race or just watch,” explained event organiser Bill Westwood in 1982, “and I believe we have some Americans here this year as well.”

In 1979, 75 women led the Portobello race, which was won by Sandra McGrory, a buffet attendant and housewife from Bath Street, romping home by at least ten lengths. She took home prize money of £50.

In 1982, 450 pancakes were made for the race by Mr Westwood and his team of workers at Porto Grill cafe, on Bath Street.

There was also fun to be had in 1979 at HMS Cochrane, on the Forth, where servicemen and women set up an obstacle course at the base for a special Pancake Day race.

These pancake races weren’t only exclusive to Edinburgh either as these pics from the Jif pancake race at Kelvingrove Park in Glasgow in 1971 show.

Mina Mitchell wins the Jif pancake race at Kelvingrove Park, Glasgow, February 1971.

Mina Mitchell wins the Jif pancake race at Kelvingrove Park, Glasgow, February 1971. Picture: TSPL

So what do you think should we bring them back?

Should we bring back the Shrove Tuesday pancake race?

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