Smuggling stories, music and boats big and small

The Ballantrae Smugglers Chase involving small boats and the tall ship La Malouine on the Sunday. Pic: Andy McAlpine
The Ballantrae Smugglers Chase involving small boats and the tall ship La Malouine on the Sunday. Pic: Andy McAlpine

The Ballantrae Smugglers’ Festival was in full swing again on the weekend of 25-27 August.

Festival-goers were treated to an “On the Spot” storytelling session for the pupils in Ballantrae Primary School on the Friday, the “Smugglers’ Supper in the King’s Arms Hotel on the Saturday, and the “Ballantrae Smugglers’ Chase involving small boats and the tall ship La Malouine on the Sunday.

Ballantrae Primary Schoolchildren with the Exciseman. (pic: Ballantrae Primary School)

Ballantrae Primary Schoolchildren with the Exciseman. (pic: Ballantrae Primary School)

During the “On the Spot” session in the school, the children heard Ballantrae’s smuggling story from two different points of view - from the point of view of the skipper of the HM Customs Revenue Cutter and the leader of the local Smugglers. Saturday’s Smugglers’ Supper entertainment was provided by Davie Hunter, Lorna McColm and Beatrice Clark with a musical programme that included Scottish songs - many funny - but also some with haunting melodies. Davie’s excellent guitar playing, Beatrice’s flute and guitar work, and the three fabulous voices all contributed to a great performance.

On Sunday five skiff crews from coastal rowing clubs from the south west of Scotland battled it out in Ballantrae Bay for the hand-crafted Ballantrae Smugglers’ Chase Trophy. The overall winners were the Firth of Clyde Coastal Rowing Club for the second year running.

Andy McAlpine Chairman of the Ballantrae Smuglgers’ Festival said: “This year’s festival has been spread over four months rather than being concentrated in a week or weekend.

“The session with the children on Friday was great fun. They asked us good questions and didn’t let us away with anything. The staff at the King’s Arms were the perfect hosts for the Smugglers’ Supper and Davie, Lorna and Beatrice were fantastic.

Ballantrae Primary Schoolchildren with one of the smugglers (pic: Ballantrae Primary School)

Ballantrae Primary Schoolchildren with one of the smugglers (pic: Ballantrae Primary School)

“On Sunday we had more boats in the water and more rowers than last year. Thank you to everyone who made this weekend a success.”

The last event in this year’s festival is on Saturday 23 September and involves a “Carrick Smugglers’ Road Trip” from Ballantrae to the Heads of Ayr ending with a book launch of “Carrick’s Smuggling Story”. Watch local press, Ballantrae Smugglers Festival and Information Ballantrae, both on Facebook, for more details.

Davie, Lorna and Beatrice (pic: Andy McAlpine)

Davie, Lorna and Beatrice (pic: Andy McAlpine)

The skiff armada. (pic: Carl McIntyre)

The skiff armada. (pic: Carl McIntyre)

The Ballantrae Smugglers Chase Trophy overall winners were the Firth of Clyde Coastal Rowing Club for the second year running.

The Ballantrae Smugglers Chase Trophy overall winners were the Firth of Clyde Coastal Rowing Club for the second year running.