Baird of Bute festival takes advantage of excellent weather

Great weather contributed to a successful Baird Day at Ettrick Bay.
Great weather contributed to a successful Baird Day at Ettrick Bay.

The Baird of Bute Society’s annual celebration was a success last weekend, with high-profile guests presented with the society’s awards and a well-attended Baird Day at Ettrick Bay.

Friday, saw a reception for two visitors to the island in Rothesay’s Discovery Centre, with air cadets from the mainland forming a guard of honour for the award-winners and representatives of Bute organisations also in attendance.

The Rothesay and District Pipe Band performed on the day.

The Rothesay and District Pipe Band performed on the day.

Sir Fraser Stoddart, joint recipient of the 2016 Nobel Prize in chemistry, received the Baird of Bute Society Scottish Innovation Award for his scientific work, while Sir Stephen Hillier was presented with the Scottish Aviation Award as recognition for his long career with the RAF, of which he is now Chief Air Marshall.

Both award winners are Scottish-born, and they both said a few words at the reception in Rothesay’s Discovery Centre.

Sir Fraser Stoddart said: “I’m extremely honoured to be here, back in my native land and on this beautiful island. Thank you all very much.”

The award-winners then crossed the road for a dinner at the Victoria Hotel, where they were presented with their awards.

Andrew Blain Baird, the man who inspired the Baird of Bute Society.

Andrew Blain Baird, the man who inspired the Baird of Bute Society.

The celebrations continued the following day, with the Baird Day held at the site of Andrew Blain Baird’s historic flight attempt.

The weather was ideal for a day of outdoor fun including a bouncy castle, music and an aviation display by several passing planes.

A raffle was also held, with the main prize being two tickets for a return flight from Barra.

The Baird of Bute Society is named for Andrew Blain Baird, a Brandane blacksmith who had a passion for aviation and who built his own plane on the island.

He flew it from Ettrick Bay in September 1910, and in doing so achieved the first attempted all-Scottish heavier-than-air powered flight.

The society now uses Baird’s example to encourage Scotland’s young people to aspire to their own achievements.

They provide a number of scholarships for students every year and work with schools, and also present awards to young achievers.