Flying high at Baird of Bute festival

The annual Baird of Bute festival attracted visitors of all ages both to the Baird Airstrip at Kingarth and to Ettrick Bay.
The annual Baird of Bute festival attracted visitors of all ages both to the Baird Airstrip at Kingarth and to Ettrick Bay.

For the last two years the sun has shone on the Baird of Bute Festival - and this year was no exception.

The festival, the brainchild of Brandane Chris Markwell, was first held in 2010 to mark the centenary of the first all-Scottish heavier-than-air flight, made by Bute blacksmith Andrew Blain Baird in 1910.

This year’s event got off to a fantastic start at ‘Baird Airstrip’ at Kingarth on Saturday morning.

The evening before, a special dinner was held in Victoria Hotel at which the first annual Baird of Bute Society Scottish Aviation Award was presented, with it’s inaugural recipient - chairman of Loganair Scott Greir OBE - only too delighted to accept.

Mr Grier, in his acceptance speech, announced he would be launching the Loganair-Baird Flying Scholarship for one school-leaver within the Highlands and Islands each year to undertake 12 hours of flying lessons at Tayside Aviation in Dundee.

Speaking to the spectators at the airstrip on Saturday morning, Mr Grier said: “I am delighted and thrilled to be the first recipient of this wonderful award. It’s rewarded to someone who’s made a significant contribution to aviation - so, I’d like to accept this on behalf of the thousands of people who’ve contributed to the success of Loganair over the last 50 years.”

Also present on Saturday were MSP Mike Russell, Councillor Robert Macintyre and Provost of Argyll and Bute Isobel Strong.

Following the wonderful display of aircraft at Kingarth - and delicious hot rolls served by Kingarth Hotel - the festivities moved to Ettrick Bay.

The Royal Navy rescue helicopter kept spectators thoroughly entertained with a sea rescue, and ended it spectacularly by landing in the field beside the tearoom, allowing hundreds of people to get up close with the massive aircraft.

Following the laying of a wreath at the Baird monument outside the tearoom and entertainment provided by Rothesay and District Pipe Band, the traditional fly-past took place of the 21 pilots - some flying so low you could clearly see them waving at the crowds.

Bringing the day to a jaw-dropping close was the aerobatic performance provided by two of the pilots over the bay. With flips, rolls and daring stunts, it was a wonderful end to the third annual Baird of Bute Festival.