A special award of the Waipu Caledonian Society
This award is known as the “Assynt Quaich” in honour of its place of origin and the style of the trophy. The award is in fact a pewter quaich, presented to the Caledonian Society by Mr. Norman MacAskill of Assynt, soon after he arrived to attend the Waipu Sesquicentennial celebrations in January 2003 and instead of being added to the already grand list of competitive trophies, it was felt that this valuable item was worthy of something more original. The formal establishment of this award was enacted at the April 2004 committee meeting under the following guiding principles. The “Assynt Quaich” is to be presented annually to a selected person or persons of any age group, who in the opinion of the Committee has supported the main ideals of the Waipu Caledonian Society in their constitutional objective to maintain the preservation of our Scottish and Nova Scotian traditions and heritage. The “Assynt Quaich” will be awarded in the Main Arena at the Annual Highland Games. Nominations for this award will be directed to the Secretary, who will present the candidates to the committee for confirmation and passed at our annual AGM. Although the “Assynt Quaich” will be returned to the society at the end of each year, a monetary donation or voucher will accompany the presentation and the winners name will be engraved on the trophy stand.
An outline of the Quaich
The classic drinking vessel for whisky is the quaich, which comes from the Gaelic cuach, meaning a cup or bowl. The earliest quaich’s were made of a solid block of wood, or of small staves of wood, often of different colours, supported by hoops, like barrels. They were also made from bone or leather. While quaich’s are no longer used as drinking vessels, except perhaps at weddings or other ceremonial occasions, they are beautiful examples of historical craftsmanship. Quaich’s have a rich heritage in Scotland - indeed, they are a uniquely Scottish invention, having no apparent connection to any other European drinking vessel.