Saturday, 16 July 2011

Arran Maritime Festival

There was a festival, based around Arran Yacht Club in Lamlash, arranged around the expected (hoped for?) visits of the tall ships to Lamlash and the rest of Arran. I saw around 18 of the tall ships (out of around 37 taking part in leg 1 of the Tall Ships Race) although I believe there may have actually been 24 of them visiting Arran. Several others visited ports on the Ayrshire coast or Campbeltown on their way to Greenock.

Lamlash pier area was very busy throughout the festival, but especially on Thursday.

There were dinghy sailing and power boat trips (organised by Lamlash Yacht Club). And kayaking taster sessions and more with the Arran Adventure Company...

I wanted to do a power boat trip, but the timings and popularity of the trips meant I had to miss out as I was already booked on a kayaking trip that afternoon. The power boat trips were apparently running late as the attendees were being invited aboard some of the tall ships. My brother and sister in law went on a trip and got aboard the tall ship 'Dolphin' for a look.

COAST had a stall at the pier, with some displays, and divers were regularly bringing back 'creatures from the sea' for folk to see. My young nephew loved this display and the young man manning the stall was extremely helpful and geared his information just right for a 5 year old. I was very impressed! The same 'young man' was showing his own younger side later on, dressed in a wetsuit and leaping with wild abandon off Lamlash Pier as I kayaked by!

The Corrie longship was  out in the bay (this view from the doorway of Mum & Dad's conservatory!) and later on, while kayaking, I saw it being rowed around the pier area. Another thing I'd have had a go at if I'd had the time...

The bay just seemed to get busier and busier...

... and in the evening the pipe band played at the end of the pier which was just lovely.

Whilst the pipe band were playing, crews were being ferried ashore from the tall ships. Often the boats stayed off the end of the pier, watching the pipe band and allowing the passengers to take photographs. It felt a little like the paparazzi zooming about in the boats taking photos of the celebrities on the pier!

Mostly, the folk on the pier probably felt like the crews in the boats being ferried ashore were the real 'celebrities'. This boatload was from the Christian Radich, which won the 1st leg of the race from Waterford.

After the pipe band finished performing, attention moved to the yacht club where there was a beer 'tent', barbecue and more music.

'Fish & chips' sang sea shanties, extremely well...

They were then followed by a ceilidh, and as dusk fell on the bay the ships were still visible by the lights on their masts...

The next day felt like it might be an anticlimax, but we saw lots of boats leaving the bay (sadly not in full sail) and were then rewarded with some great views of the Europa, which we'd first seen arriving into Lamlash Bay in full sail 3 days previously.

I can't wait for the next instalment of the 'tall ships story' as I should be meeting up with some of them again in both Orkney and Shetland.

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