Details of Baird of Bute festival announced

The third Baird of Bute festival will give the public the chance to see visiting aeroplanes up close at the Baird Airstrip at Kingarth on September 22.
The third Baird of Bute festival will give the public the chance to see visiting aeroplanes up close at the Baird Airstrip at Kingarth on September 22.

The organisers of the annual Baird of Bute festival have announced details of the programme of events for the third annual commemoration of the island’s own aviation pioneer.

The celebrations kick off on Friday, September 21, when the Baird of Bute Society and Argyll and Bute Council will host a civic reception dinner for Scott Grier OBE, the chairman of Scottish airline Loganair, who, as we reported last week, is the first recipient of the Baird of Bute Society Scottish Aviation Award.

A new book on the life of Andrew Blain Baird, the Bute blacksmith who undertook Scotland’s first heavier-than-air powered flight in September 1910, will be presented to Mr Grier and other dignitaries.

The big day for members of the public will be Saturday, September 22, when the Baird of Bute festival begins at 11am at the Baird Airfield at Kingarth.

The airfield will be closed to the public before 11am to allow visiting aircraft to arrive on Bute from all over Scotland, and spectators will be asked to stay clear of the flight path until all the planes are on the ground.

Subject to the weather, more than 20 planes are expected to fly in to enable their pilots to attend the official presentation of the Baird Aviation Award to Mr Grier, while the public will have the chance to view the planes at close quarters.

Later in the day the focus moves to Ettrick Bay, where Baird undertook his historic flight 102 years ago, for the annual ceremony at the Baird memorial at 1.30pm.

The Rothesay and District novice juvenile pipe band will play as the visiting aircraft fly past after leaving the Baird airfield, while a Royal Navy helicopter will put on a rescue display, subject to emergency call-outs.

In addition to the Baird of Bute Society’s own activities, we understand two of the visiting pilots have offered to put on an aerial stunt display at around 3pm, after the other planes have departed.