Midsummer fun at Scalpsie Bay

Flames lick around the edges of a stunning sculptural kiln built as part of Discover Bute's midsummer family celebration at Scalpsie.
Flames lick around the edges of a stunning sculptural kiln built as part of Discover Bute's midsummer family celebration at Scalpsie.

MIDSUMMER is a time rich in tradition, when the hand of history seems to sit particularly heavily on the shoulder.

But old traditions sat comfortably alongside the modern way of life at Scalpsie Bay on Saturday at Discover Bute’s midsummer family celebration event.

Sadly the weather wasn’t always as summery as the organisers had hoped - but there was still enough activity, and sufficient dry spells through the day, to entice more than four hundred people along to take part in or simply to watch a packed programme of events.

Those included samba drum processions - with a bright pink bird behind the band! - along with music from the Bute Ceilidh Band, dramatic performances by Achievement Bute and the Tale Spinners and traditional seaside games, the latter courtesy of the members of the Brianne Roberts Challenge Group, formed to raise money for the Clic Sargent children’s cancer charity.

Visitors also had the chance to see and to try out traditional rural crafts, such as basket-weaving, wood-turning and wool-spinning, and to take part in guided walks around the Scalpsie area on subjects as diverse as geology, photography and Haiku, the ancient Japanese form of poetry.

Nearby, on the shore itself, families built sandcastles - the winning entry a superb sandy version of a shark carrying off a helpless human - while a group of talented visiting artists spent the day building a bread oven and a stunning sculptural kiln, in which pots made by local children were left overnight to heat and harden.

The day ended with a re-enactment of an old Bronze Age sacrifice, in which the body of a pig, wrapped in a blanket, was laid atop a pyre of wood and hay which was then set alight.

The sculptural kiln, too, was soon ablaze, while a hand-crafted bread oven proved practical as well as pretty when it was used to cook some delicious pizza to feed those present - many of whom had been watching or working for the best part of ten hours.

Discover Bute project co-ordinator Bridget Paterson said: “My thanks, and a big round of applause, are also extended to the 400 or so who came out to Scalpsie and got involve. I am very grateful to you all.

“The rain held off for the most part and I think everyone enjoyed their day.”

* Sadly, limited space prevents us publishing more than this small selection of pictures - but please feel free to call in to our office in Victoria Street to browse and order reprints of your favourites.