Tension is mounting among the 70 entrants to the annual World Scotch Pie championship as they wait for the winner to be crowned on November 29.
Entries from bakers and butchers - 69 from Scotland and just one from England - were scrutinised by a panel of judges at Lauder College in Dunfermline last week. The sole English entrant, Graeme Trotter from Seahouses in Northumberland, said he had entered every year since the awards were launched nine years ago and is "determined to take the title from the Scots".
Reigning champion Keith Stuart hobbled into the judging room on crutches, having broken his heel in a fall. He said: "We thought about changing the recipe, but it has stood the company in good stead for 150 years and it won last year, so we have left it the same."
Bathgate-based Paul Boyle, champion three years ago, said he had added extra stock "because the judges last year said they liked to see some juice on top of the pie".
Robert Cowan from Airdrie, the winner in 2006, and two-time champion Thomas Auld and Sons also decided to stick with tried-and-trusted recipes.
But 2003 champion Lewis Maclean, of Forres-based Maclean’s Highland Bakers, has tinkered with his pie. The firm entered a ’victory pie’ to celebrate Scotland’s double win over France in the European football championship.