Celtic Challenge

The Celtic Challenge is a chance for the Celtic countries to get together over a weekend and compete for the Celtic Challenge Trophy. The Countries that come together annually are Scotland, Isle of Man, Cornwall, Eire, Northern Ireland, Wales, North Wales and occassionally Brittany. Many of these countries are Federations in their own right, but a few are members of other PAGB Federations, the common link is our Celtic heritage.

As well as the competition itself, the weekend normally features a lecture by the Judge as well as an opportunity for some photography with an organised outing or two, and a dinner to present all of the results and awards.

The SPF enter using a selection of our member photographer's photos, usually from work supplied for the Portfolios or PAGB Inter-Fed Competitions. Members of Scottish clubs are welcome to submit entries for consideration.

2018 Event

The 2018 Celtic Challenge will be hosted by the Northern Ireland PA. To be held on Saturday 13th October 2018, at The Strangford Arms Hotel, 90-92 Church Street Newtownards, Co Down BT23 4AL


We are delighted to host the Celtic Challenge 2018 and to be able to return the hospitality we have enjoyed from our friends in the ‘Celtic’ group of Federations, Associations and Societies. We hope you will join us over the weekend of 13th-14th October for the Celtic Challenge Competition 2018.

Any SPF Club member interested in attending would be made very welcome. Contact Libby ASAP if interested or go direct to the organiser Anne Given (details below).

The Competition and Awards Dinner will be held in the Strangford Arms Hotel, Newtownards, which is 11 miles from Belfast. Flights are available with several airlines and from many regional airports to George Best City Airport or Belfast International Airport. Ferries are available from Liverpool, Cairnryan and Douglas IoM. If you are arriving by plane, and do not intend to hire a car, we may be able to arrange transportation. Please contact me before 1st September to discuss.

The Hotel Conference rates are: B&B(single occupancy) £64 per night; B&B(double occupancy) £74 per night; Accommodation bookings should be made with the hotel, quoting ‘NIPA Conference’ to secure the special rates: info@.strangfordhotel.com +44 (0)28 9181 4141

Awards Dinner £30 per person: Please let me know by 1st September if you wish to attend.

The hotel is well-situated for visiting the Ulster Folk and Transport Museum at Cultra, Mount Stewart (National Trust) and exploring the landscapes of County Down. We will offer some self-guide tour information and some of our members will be available to show people around on Saturday morning and Sunday. Full details of the event, timetable and suggestions for outings will be sent out in early May. Meanwhile, if you have any queries, don’t hesitate to contact me: Annie Given annie.given [at] ntlworld.com

What is the Celtic Challenge?

This event was conceived in 1995 over a small libation, in a pub in Drogheda, by the late, great, Sean Casey of the Irish Photographic Federation chatting with Rod Wheelans from Scotland. The first was held in Dublin in 1996 and it became a regular annual get together.

Sean procured an Irish Crystal Bowl and Rod had an elegant wooden base turned for it and this trophy should be presented for the 20th time in Scotland next year.

Although the standard of photography is high, the competition is informal and it’s more about the social occasion and the craic.

There are generally six Celtic peoples recognized in the world today. They divide into two groups, the Brythonic (or British) Celts, and the Gaelic Celts. The Brythonic Celts are the Welsh, Cornish and Bretons; the Gaels are the Irish, Scots and Manx.

All of these have participated over the years, although the Bretons have not been able to enter recently. (Some people recognize a seventh Celtic nation in the region of Galicia in Spain although their Celtic language died out a thousand years ago, and so their Celtic links are more tenuous.)

Who can enter

Members of any Scottish Club are eligible to submit entries for all three categories for consideration as part of the SPF's entry. We will select our strongest entry from those available to us. Simply look out for details of the next event here, and our SPF details and deadline for entries to be submitted.

SPF Clubs and Individual members cannot submit directly to the Celtic Challenge. Entries must come to the SPF first for selection.

How to Submit an Entry for Selection

Details will appear here shortly once our online entry upload facility is open. Before then please feel free to contact Libby Smith for details.

2017 Event in Stirling - Nov 2017

The Scottish Photographic Federation were delighted to host the Celtic Challenge 2017. We caught up with the many friends we have in the ‘Celtic’ group of Federations, Associations and Societies, over the weekend of 18th and 19th Nov 2017, at the Judging of the Celtic Challenge Competition 2017. The main events took place on Saturday 18th November 2017 at Stirling Court Hotel.

The Celtic Challenge Competition was held in the afternoon, the Judges were Phil and Gwen Charnock from L&CPU. This was followed by the Celtic Challenge Print Lecture by Colin Trow-Poole MPAGB, FRPS, FIPF. The day ended with the Celtic Challenge Dinner and Awards Presentations.

You can find out the results of this event by visiting the dedicated webpage (click here) where you will also find a link to the gallery of the SPF's winning images.

Results 2016

The WPF hosted the annual Celtic Challenge Competition at the Glamorgan Holiday Hotel Porthcawl recently. Visitors from 5 of the Federations who competed enjoyed an abundance of splendid photography, and a masterclass in how to judge a competition by Martin Fry FRPS, APAGB, AFIAP, AV-AFIAP.

The Irish Photographic Federation won the Competition, and won two of the "Best in" awards, for colour print and projected image. It was generally agreed that the event was a great success and well put together. Every print was projected on to a large screen through Live View so everyone could see them in detail, and the projected images were displayed using DiCentra which put titles and scores on screen. In the evening we enjoyed a splendid 4 course meal at the Hotel and welcomed Madeline Moon MP as a special guest.

The Meal was preceded by entertainment by the Morlais Male Choir, and it was a very convivial evening. Congratulation to the Scottish Photographic Federation's Margaret Elliot who received the Best Monochrome Print for 'Jack'

The SPF finished 2nd in the competition, ending a long running winning streak. A selection of this year's entry can be seen here. The full details of the SPF's entry can be seen below, and all of the entry can be seen by visiting the Celtic Challenge 2016 gallery (click here)

Result 2016Federation/CountryMono PrintColour PrintProjectedOverall
1stIrish PF169181171521
2ndScottish PF173172169514
3rdNorthern Ireland PA163165169497
4thWelsh PF157161175493
5thNorth Wales PA162159158479
6thIsle of Man154150162466
Results 2015

This event was held in Kilkenny, Ireland and was hosted by the Irish Photographic Federation and the Southern Association of Camera Clubs.

Full individual results are available below. A selection of the entries are shown on this page. A Gallery of all the winning images can be found in our galleries section (click here)

Result 2015Feder'n/Region Colour PrintMono PrintProjectedOverall Score
1st Scottish PF175177168520
2ndIrish PF170170163503
3rd Welsh PF167166162495
4th Northern Ireland PA165166154485
5th Cornwall PA158161162481
6th Isle of Man160160153473