Sun shines on second annual Baird of Bute

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Last year, the sun was out in all its glory for the Baird of Bute event, which saw planes, light aircraft and microlites take to the skies in celebration of Andrew Baird, the pioneer who flew the first ‘all Scottish’ heavier-than-air powered flight in September of 1910.

This year was to be no exception, and in fantastic conditions, the Baird of Bute Festival has grown considerably in the last 12 months.

In addition to the spectacular display of 18 aircraft landing at the Andrew Baird Airstrip (formerly Kingarth Airstrip), this year’s event boasted a demonstration by a Royal Navy Sea King helicopter at Ettrick Bay, showing the skill and precision which is required when carrying out sea rescues.

The aircraft which had landed at Kingarth then made their way in a procession to Ettrick Bay, where they flew low across the bay, much to the delight of the large crowd below.

Children on the beach enjoyed the flying spirit of the event, and carried on the tradition of bringing kites to fly - and given the wind strength, conditions were ideal!

At the Andrew Baird monument, located outside Ettrick Bay Tearoom, a wreath was laid to commemorate the 60 years since his death, on September 9, 1951.

This year, a third venue was added to the Baird repertoire - Mount Stuart, where there really was something for everyone.

Bute Astronomical Society provided displays and even had a planetarium for space-enthusiasts.

Perhaps the biggest thrill of all was the hot-air balloon provided by the University of Edinburgh Hot Air Balloon Club. Unfortunately, the wind which had proved excellent for kite-flying, provided problems for the balloon, and we understand that it only made it into the air once. Regardless of that, the sight of a hot-air balloon on the front lawn was something which everyone seemed to enjoy.

Scots pilot Jim McTaggart then took everyone’s breath away with a spectacular aerobatics display above Mount Stuart, which saw him looping, swooping and diving above the crowds below - and which, although remarkable, turned this reporter’s stomach!

To finish off a tremendous day celebrating the achievements of a truly innovative pioneer, a ceilidh was held in Mount Stuart’s Marble Hall allowing those who had any energy left after such a fun-packed day to let loose on the dance-floor.