The mood was jovial, the cider was flowing but the crab picking was very serious indeed! The grand opening of the South Devon Crab Festival hosted by the Millbrook Inn, at the end of the beautiful Southpool creek, was attended by the BBC’s Countryfile team on 5th August.
Clare Balding and Matt Baker plus film crew got involved in the inaugural McCrab Cup where their challenges included a speed crab picking contest and crab pot rolling down the street.
Their rivals were none other than Rob Johnstone (a heavyweight picker for Salcombe Finest’s crab meat) and Geoff Foale who ran the fishing boat Crustacean for years bringing in hundreds of tonnes of South Devon Crab. Since retiring from the crabbing scene, he has begun taking some wonderful photography in the South Hams capturing the local wildlife, coastal views and the crab fishing industry. But don’t let that fool you; Geoff is still very handy with a pick and hammer!
The crab picking contest of Rob and Geoff against Clare and Matt was very closely contested with the eventual winners of the crab weigh-in being the Countryfile team. The monster crab given to Matt might have had something to do with it, not that it was competitive at all!
Onto the crab pot rolling – a relay race rolling a crab pot on its side with one’s hands – and a bit of* A) a trip from Geoff B) a shove from Clare (*delete as appropriate) meant that the winners again were Clare and Matt and they took the McCrab Trophy 2011. We hope for a different result next year to keep the trophy on the coast but our congrats to the Countryfilers.
It was a wonderful start to the weeklong celebration of the South Devon Crab. The South Devon Crab Festival is held all over South Devon at various locations and includes photography competitions, crab cracking demos, cooking demonstrations, crabbing competitions, boat trips, train rides and special crab menus at a range of local restaurants, pubs and hotels.
You can see some a clip from the BBC Countryfile show featuring South Devon here: