A CAMPAIGN to make Scotch Lamb the national dish for St Andrew’s Day is gaining momentum.

Rural communities were first to get behind the idea that November 30 should be associated with Scotch Lamb as enthusiastically as Christmas is associated with turkey, but the focus is now on getting butchers, supermarkets and families all over Scotland onboard and sharing their support on social media using the #LambForStAndrewsDay hashtag.

The campaign has the backing of Quality Meat Scotland, the National Farmers’ Union Scotland and the Scottish Government. Cabinet Secretary for Rural Economy Fergus Ewing said: “Scotch Lamb to celebrate St Andrews Day is the perfect union, and I would encourage everyone to get behind this great campaign and support your local hill and upland farmers and crofters.”

The original idea was first mooted back in 2010 by United Auctions’ George Purves with Willie Mitchell during the Scottish Enterprise Rural Leadership Programme – but now, with local sourcing much higher up the agenda, the campaign has been re-ignited and aimed at the general public.

“The aim of this campaign is simple – we want to make Scotch Lamb synonymous with celebrating St Andrew’s Day,” said Mr Purves, who led UA to start the ball rolling last month by offering 10 locally-sourced lambs to community groups wanting to celebrate St Andrew’s Day, and asking the auction firm's 18,000 customers to spread the word amongst their own families, friends and neighbours.

The call has been answered, with celebration dinners planned far and wide – including a Ballantrae Scout group, a Village Hall Committee in Ettrickbridge, a school in Stirlingshire, and community events on the Isle of Coll in the Hebrides, as well as in Perthshire, South Ayrshire, Argyll, North Lanarkshire, and Moray.

QMS chief executive Alan Clarke said: “We’re encouraging everyone in Scotland to get this great tasting and extremely versatile product on the menu so that, from now on, when we think about celebrating St Andrew’s Day, we think of Scotch Lamb.”

Former Scotland rugby captain Rob Wainwright, who is helping to organise the event on the Isle of Coll, commented: “This is a great campaign and we got behind it straight away. What better way to celebrate St Andrew’s Day than bringing our community together for a lamb dinner and ceilidh?”

NFUS president Andrew McCornick added: “We should all take the opportunity to enjoy the best on Scotland’s national day of celebration. Together we can make delicious Scotch Lamb PGI the national dish for St Andrew’s Day.”