Voting on the finalists of the Sutherland flag competition has got off to a strong start with several hundreds of votes registered already. In the space of 24 hours the number of votes had already started to approach the totals of some other competitions, an even more impressive feat considering voting is only open to those living in the county. This positive start clearly shows the widespread engagement of the community with the competition generally and vote specifically.
The competition’s four designs features a wide range of symbols that between them represent Sutherland’s ancient heraldry, famous military heritage, Viking origins of its name, traditional and re-introduced wildlife, gold and purple scenery, Flow Country, dark skies and coastal topography. All these designs met heraldic criteria and the guidelines on good flag design that were provided to all entrants when the competition launched. These guidelines ensure a flags visibility and its subsequent ability to function effectively.
These were chosen by selecting the best designs from groups of entrants with similar primary themes – eagle, stars, wildcat and Nordic Cross. The whole Sutherland competition now mirrors the best practice process used elsewhere in Scotland. The finalists were judged anonymously and will be voted on anonymously too, with only finalist to be comprised of a merger of more than one submission being the eagle flag. With respect to the anonymity of the designers it can be acknowledged that three of the finalists can be credited to local designers, and two to entries from schoolchildren.
Voting can be done online at https://www.flaginstitute.org/wp/newhome/sutherland/ or by sending a letter or postcard with your choice, name and postcode to Sutherland Flag, c/o Highland Council, Drummuie, Golspie, Sutherland KW10 6TA Voting will be open until Monday 26th November.
Philip Tibbetts, honorary vexillologist to the Court of the Lord Lyon, said: “It looks like the vote has got off to the fastest start of any competition and is shaping up to be a close race between all the finalists. I am glad that logistical issues have been overcome for holding a vote owing to the re-evaluation and careful planning of the Flag Committee. I look forward to the final decision and whichever design wins will provide the county with a visually strong and symbolically rich flag, in the best traditions of Scottish community flags, that can fly proudly alongside the saltire itself.”