Sand sculptures create an outdoor art gallery

Having a great time on the beach, Isla and Ava Pringle join friend Innes West to play in the water.

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Words and pictures by Colin Smeeton

Whiting Bay beach was transformed into an outdoor art gallery last week as 17 families put their sand sculpting skills to the test at the annual Whiting Bay beach sculpture competition.

One of the many exciting activities on offer during Whiting Bay Fun Week, the well attended event is sponsored by Nick Giles of the Arran Art Gallery and judged by renowned sculptor Tim Pomeroy.

Filling almost the entire beach, children, parents, friends and families brought out the buckets and spades and created works of art which were decorated with sea shells, seaweed and beach stones.

Many created marine themed sculptures based on mermaids, octopi, jellyfish, crabs and turtles while others opted for more exotic animals with a large elephant and a dragon featured among the entries.

Others allowed their creative talents to take them elsewhere which resulted in some unique entries which included an Egyptian landscape, complete with sphinx and pyramids, a circus tent, a golf course with attached football field, and a large pie.

Regular competitors at the event, the Banana Boys – in a huge earthmoving operation – created a large relief of Arran and then set about adding incredible detail. Starting with Holy Isle, Ailsa Craig and Pladda, they then created mountainous peaks in the north with Goatfell prominently featured. Green seaweed decorated the forested area and stones made up the String and Boguille roads. Unsurprisingly elongated beach pebbles  were used to create the Machrie Moor standing stones and beach gravel topped the mountains.

Nearer to the jetty where the sand was wetter, team Dumbo also created a large sculpture, an elephant which appeared to rise out of the sea sand and which was large enough for children to climb atop.

After a difficult deliberation period the elaborately carved dragon by the McNamara family took the family award while in the children’s category Sophie Macfarlane impressed with her masterpiece which was a bulbous mother whale with smaller baby whales swimming around it.

After a short prizegiving ceremony by members of Arran Visual Arts, the tired families who had enjoyed an afternoon of playing in the sun, sea and sand, and filled with food from the burger and hot dog tent, retired back home for the day as the tide neared ever closer to their impressive, but temporary sculptures.

Dad Quinton Black and mum Fiona with Sophie and their Egyptian themed sculpture.  01_B30beach01

Winners in the family category were the McNamara family with their dragon creation. 01_B30beach03

Team Fraser’s Vesuvius with their erupting volcano creation. 01_B30beach04

The Gow family return to Whiting Bay where they met in 1994. Now with a family of their own, they still regularly visit Arran where their families have holidayed for over 100 years. 01_B30beach05

Team Sharks with their Plastic Bag Jellyfish sculpture. 01_B30beach06

Team Crawford and their Crab Castle. 01_B30beach07

Highly commended by the judge, team Banana Boys created a relief of Arran complete with satellite islands, golf courses, the String and Boguille roads and Machrie standing stones. 01_B30beach08

Team This is Rubbish with their Keep Arran Tidy Hand which impressed judge Tim Pomeroy and earned themselves the newly created Eco Award. 01_B30beach09

Team Mermacorn with their mermaid and unicorn hybrid sculpture. 01_B30beach10

Father and son, young Joseph Cronin from Galashiels with his Pi sandcastle. 01_B30beach11

A popular theme, Team Wilson, went with a mermaid creation complete with seaweed hair and stone bikini. 01_B30beach12

Team Walrus with their Ollie Octopus creation which used scores of seashells for decoration. 01_B30beach13

Having a great time on the beach, Isla and Ava Pringle join friend Innes West to play in the water. 01_B30beach14

A great team effort by Team Dumbo, which included Bay Queen Greta Litton, who helped create the elephant rising out of the sand. 01_B30beach16

The Kings family who sculpted Elsa the Mermaid. 01_B30beach17

Winner of the Children’s award, Sophie Macfarlane created a perfectly formed whale surrounded by baby whales. 01_B30beach18

Unable to resist, children go for an imaginary elephant safari on Whiting Bay beach. 01_B30beach20