A musical preview for this year’s Smugglers’ Festival

The cast of Music, Poetry and Smuggling Stories. Picture: Harriet Ellis
The cast of Music, Poetry and Smuggling Stories. Picture: Harriet Ellis

The Ballantrae Smugglers’ events for 2017 kicked off on Friday 9 June, with “Music, Poetry and Smuggling Stories” an event for the whole family in a marquee at Ballantrae harbour.

The production included the children from Ballantrae Primary School reading stories and poems from the book they published last year, and a performance of “Smuggler”, a song about smuggling in the local area. They were joined by “Celtic Voices” and Davie Hunter. The usual Smugglers’ Festival characters, The Minister and Doctor, and two new characters - the Innkeeper and The Narrator - enacted an incident which may or may not have been part of Ballantrae’s colourful smuggling history!

The Minister, who has been smuggling for many years had a change of heart, concluded that smuggling is a sin, and burned the recently landed contraband of tea, salt, tobacco and tea. Unfortunately the proceeds from the contraband were for the Doctor’s retirement. Forming a human chain, and using buckets, the children tried to help the Doctor put out the fire but without success. This upset the doctor who then shot the Minister! What a great night and a great start to this year’s Smugglers’ events.

At the Festival of Food and Drink on Sunday 11 June the “Smugglers’ Contraband Store” attracted a lot of attention, particularly since the smugglers were giving away free samples of the fine wines recently landed as part of the consignment of contraband, and using a variation of a “treasure hunt”, visitors were encouraged to guess where the contraband would be hidden before onward transportation inland.

This year’s Smugglers’ Festival is being spread over a number of months. In mid August “Smuggler Scarecrows” will once again appear across the village. On 26 August there will be a “Smugglers’ Supper” in the King’s Arms Hotel in Ballantrae, (adults only) and on 27 August “The Ballantrae Smugglers’ Chase” involving skiff racing, will take place in Ballantrae Bay. On Saturday 23 September a “Smugglers’ Road Trip” (coach trip with commentary) will work its way up the coast from Ballantrae, to the heads of Ayr and Barrhill, finishing with the launch of a new book “The Carrick Smugglers”.

For more details of all of these events go to www.ballantrae.org.uk/smugglers and watch local press, Information Ballantrae on Facebook, and noticeboards.