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500 people attend Newburgh bear burning celebration following two-year hiatus

Newburgh bear burning
The bear was carved into the hillside above Newburgh by local farmers.

The annual Newburgh bear burning is back for its first year post-Covid.

Lindores Abbey Distillery host the event every year, but had to take a two year hiatus due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Our members and the local community have been so supportive of us, and we are excited to celebrate with them all again.”

The bear is carved in the Fife hillside above Newburgh by local farmers, and is over 300ft.

Farmers line the bear with coffee grinds to create the shape, and leave rags dotted along the outline.

The rags are then set alight, and as a result creates the burning bear image.

Newburgh bear burning.
Locals gathered to enjoy the spectacle.

At least 500 people have visited the attraction since it was set alight on Friday evening.

Where did the tradition come from?

According to local legend, the bear burning symbol is The Bear and Ragged Staff which represents the Earls of Warwick.

Guido, the first Abbot of Lindores Abbey, was a member of the Warwick family.

Owners of Lindores Abbey Distillery, Drew, Helen and their daughter Gee McKenzie Smith, who host the bear burning.
Owners of Lindores Abbey Distillery, Drew, Helen and their daughter Gee McKenzie Smith, who host the Newburgh bear burning.
People gathered at the event for the first time in two years.

A spokesperson for Lindores Abbey Distillery said: “We set the bear alight to celebrate all sorts – family weddings, the new harvest, or just for a big celebration.

“Our members and the local community have been so supportive of us, and we are excited to celebrate with them all again.”

Bringing back community spirit

The event aims to bring the people of Newburgh together to celebrate the heritage of the town.

Whisky was flowing at the distillery.
The event is hosted by Newburgh's Lindores Abbey Distillery.
The event is hosted by Newburgh’s Lindores Abbey Distillery.

Helen McKenzie Smith, co-founder of Lindores Abbey Distillery, said: “We are absolutely thrilled to be welcoming so many whisky pilgrims back to the bear burning this year.

“It is a real calendar highlight for us, so bringing it back after two years is hugely exciting.”

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