Baird of Bute Society to bring VIPs and festival to the island

The Rothesay & District Pipe Band will perform at the Baird Day at Ettrick Bay next weekend.
The Rothesay & District Pipe Band will perform at the Baird Day at Ettrick Bay next weekend.

The Baird of Bute Society’s annual programme of autumn events is close to returning, bringing high-profile guests to the island and offering a day of fun for families while recognising one of Bute’s famous residents.

The society has organised for its two award winners this year, respected figures in the aviation and scientific communities respectively, to come to Bute next week for a civic reception.

The memorial stone at Ettrick Bay that marks the site of the Baird's historic flight.

The memorial stone at Ettrick Bay that marks the site of the Baird's historic flight.

Sir Stephen Hillier is the air chief marshal of the RAF, and will be presented with the Baird of Bute Scottish Aviation Award in Rothesay.

Sir Fraser Stodddart, the 2016 Nobel Laureate for chemistry, will receive the Baird of Bute Scottish Innovation Award.

The award recipients will be present at a public welcome reception at Rothesay’s Discovery Centre on Friday, September 8 from 5.30pm onwards.

They will then sit down for the annual awards dinner at the Victoria Hotel, where they will be presented with their prizes.

The Baird of Bute Scottish Aviation award, which will be presented to Sir Stephen Hillier of the RAF.

The Baird of Bute Scottish Aviation award, which will be presented to Sir Stephen Hillier of the RAF.

The following day, Saturday September 9, will see the return of the Baird Day at Ettrick Bay.

There will be a bouncy castle and kites for children, a ‘BairdBQ’, a fly past by visiting planes, a raffle and more.

Raffle prizes include two tickets for a return flight from Barra,

The Bute Blacksmiths will also host a display of blacksmithing.

Andrew Blain Baird was a blacksmith who lived on Bute, but his true passion was aviation.

He designed and built his own monoplane after being struck by inspiration during a visit to Blackpool’s aviation week in 1909, and was able to launch it from Ettrick Bay in September the following year.

It went down in history as the ‘first attempted all-Scottish heavier-than-air powered flight’, and the Baird of Bute Society celebrates his ingenuity and passion every year by presenting awards and holding a festival at the site of the flight.

Their mission statement is to ‘inspire’ children and young people to ‘aspire’ to great things, and they provide scholarships and trips for students annually.

(Picture credits: John Williams and Zac Harrison)