Sunday, 7 May 2006

Out for a duck

<![CDATA[ Today, I took the bus to Borve (on the West Side of Lewis) to participate in a duck race. The aim was to raise funds for the building of the Clan MacQuarrie Centre in the village. This is to be a multi-purpose community hall, where a diversity of events could be hosted. Incidentally, the name Clan MacQuarrie is derived from a ship that ran aground on rocks outside the village in a hurricane in February 1953. This was the same storm that sank a ferry in the Irish Sea, caused flooding in East Anglia and drowned 1850 people in Holland when the dykes broke. The whole crew of the Clan MacQuarrie was rescued using a breecher's buoy. One officer reputedly married a local girl.
The Lottery Fund has provided a nice contribution towards the cost of the centre, but as per normal, the sum has fallen short of the total required.

The villagers of Borve organised a charitable event to raise further funds. The event came in the shape of a duck race on the local river. The format is simple. You buy 260 plastic ducks, normally for use in baths, write a number on each one. Then you sell the numbers for a pound each. Judging by the fact that by the time I arrived, only 9 ducks were left, they must have gone like hot cakes.

Just after 1 pm, a sack containing 260 numbered ducks were chucked into the Borve River, and amidst much hilarity and laughter the poor wee things were helped down the river. The awful weather of the past few days had one benefit, in that it raised the level of the river. After a few minutes, the yellow ducks appeared from under the two bridges and the winner was announced. A small prize was awarded to whoever had subscribed to that number. All the ducks were retrieved from the river, using a barrier that had been erected across, nets and scoops. A second race was also held, but this had to be delayed for a second or two, as a lost duckling came drifting down the river all on its own. Once all the ducks had been retrieved and the barriers removed from the river, all participants were invited to the nearby Borve Pottery for a cuppa and some titbits.

After a convivial hour or so, I took myself off for a walk downriver, punctuated by a lot of mud. The day was glorious, wall-to-wall sunshine, only little wind and a temperature of about 15 C / 60 F. Very nice.

The ducks are coming...

Ducks after the race. Well puffed out, they were
The sun shone brightly, but the circle is a bad forecast
Trust a cat to find a comfy place
The spread
Croftland along the river
Cirrus clouds overhead


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