Viking extravaganza at Lochranza

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Pg 12/13 headline: Sea Queen Daisy has her day in the sun

Words and pictures by Colin Smeeton

Vikings, visitors and villagers added an Up Helly Aa festival atmosphere to the Lochranza gala last Saturday.

Offering an entire day and evening of events, the gala weekend also included a Ceilidh and Quiz in the days leading up to it and the Texas scramble, teddy bears picnic, barbeque and duck derby on the final day on Sunday.

Squeezing a huge amount of events into just a few days, the highlight of the weekend’s activities was the Viking themed fun day. From parades to live music, children’s races to bogie races, there was a craft fayre, a barbeque and a Viking re-enactment along with traditional games, stalls, raffles and a beer tent.

Kicking off events, the Arran Pipe Band performed on the castle spit – with the dramatic backdrop of Lochranza Castle – before leading a parade carrying the Sea Queen and King, Daisy and Michael Innes along the road to the village hall. Following them the Arran Viking Society members, in full garb, were joined by the Glasgow Vikings and the Swords of Dalriada groups on the mainland. Children and adults, many dressed as Vikings themselves, joined the long procession to the village hall where the craft fayre and barbecue awaited them.

On the expansive lawn and under glorious sunshine, visitors enjoyed an afternoon of fun games which included egg and spoon races, piggy back races and a bogie race where contestants were pelted with water balloons.

Later in the afternoon a well-attended dog competition was held while visitors enjoyed refreshments from the barbeque, snack stalls and the bar. Preparing themselves for the evening performance of Soundcradle, the band Brown Noise entertained the crowds with well known rock ballads from the stage that had been set up in the back of a large open sided truck.

After an action packed day filled with fun, laughter and activities, visitors retired to the beach below the castle to watch the Viking re-enactment of a Viking landing and battle. As the Viking boat approached the shore, Celtic warriors awaited their enemies before they landed their ship to the cry of ‘The Vikings are coming!’

In a flash of swords, axes and shields, a protracted battle ensued which resulted in just one Celt surviving to defend against the remaining attackers who, while outnumbered, were defeated. After the re-enactment some of the children climbed aboard the Viking vessel to explore it.

The gala weekend also included a ceilidh and quiz in the days leading up to it and the Texas scramble, teddy bears picnic, barbecue and duck derby on the final day on Sunday.

The Arran Pipe Band perform with Lochranza Castle as a dramatic backdrop. 01_B30gala02

An exhausted Viking takes a break from looting and plundering.  01_B30gala03

Sea Queen Daisy Innes and King Michael Innes are joined on their float by Viking Batman. 01_B30gala04

Arran Viking Society, Glasgow Vikings and Swords of Dalriada join forces at the Lochranza Castle.  01_B30gala05

Charlotte and Elise Lambie, along with Cameron and Isla Hutchison, make for some very friendly young Vikings.  01_B30gala06

Viking families from near and far join the gathering before the procession. 01_B30gala07

Children dressed as Vikings join in the fun atmosphere. 01_B30gala08

Sea Queen and King, Daisy and Michael Innes, wave to the crowds. 01_B30gala09

Vikings join the procession to the village hall. 01_B30gala10

Leading the parade, the Arran Pipe Band with Lochranza Castle behind them. 01_B30gala11

Sea Queen Daisy Innes cuts the ribbon and declares the gala day officially open. 01_B30gala12

Sweet smiling faces, Fergus West, Ewan Morrison and Scott O’Neill host a honey stall in the village hall. 01_B30gala13

Brown Noise perform classic rock songs during their afternoon performance.  01_B30gala14

Young rockers get on stage to sing an entire song with band, Brown Noise. 01_B30gala15

Concentration etched on their faces, children take part in the egg and spoon races. 01_B30gala16

Parents are convinced to join the children in the adult and children piggy-back races. 01_B30gala17

A large field of canine entries took part in the dog competitions during the afternoon. 01_B30gala18

Best in show winners: Pepper the Cocker Spaniel with owner Amanda Hunter and Lola with owner Abigail Young of Whiting Bay. 01_B30gala19

Bogie competitors Eddie and Matthew O’Neil in Bogie McBogie and Isla and Cameron Hutcheson in the Hutchy Wright Hurler. 01_B30gala20

Spectators hurl water balloons at the bogie racers and other spectators. 01_B30gala21

Attacking Vikings make their way along the shore towards the Lochranza castle. 01_B30gala22

Two friendly swans lead the Vikings along the water. 01_B30gala23

A Celtic warrior defends against a Viking attack during the Viking re-enactment on the cobbled shore. 01_B30gala24