Sunshine sees Easter crowds flock to Brodick Castle

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Pg 6/7 head: Lots of fun and games all weekend long

Words and pictures by Colin Smeeton

The newly reopened Brodick Castle and Country Park enjoyed one of its busiest holiday weekends for a number of years with an extended Easter event taking place over four days and record breaking temperatures helping to draw in the crowds.

Usually just taking place over the weekend itself the Cadbury Easter Egg Hunt and a Teddy Bear’s Picnic took place every day of the Easter break including Good Friday and Easter Monday.

The format of the event remained the same though, albeit far slicker with two Victorian egg hunters, both in costume and character, welcoming the children and sending them on their egg hunting missions. After locating the clues and revealing the missing word, they – Thaddeus and Mortimer – congratulated the children and presented them with their prize, a chocolate Easter egg.

Children and parents who stopped for lunch were able to enjoy the Teddy Bear’s Picnic in the shade of a gazebo in the company of two large resident teddy bears. A life-size teddy bear, which looked suspiciously like Thaddeus in costume, engaged with the children and posed for photos with them.

On Sunday when temperatures were at their peak at 22C degrees the popular Wacky Races drew in the crowds with many local faces making their annual appearance. Taking place on the freshly manicured lawn in spring sunshine, children and adults enjoyed tradition three-legged races and sack races and the more unusual welly boot and wheelbarrow races. Children competed in various categories to win chocolate prizes – which were dispensed with liberal abandon – and even the adults were encouraged to take part. The usual thrills, spills and funny commentary all contributed to a lively and fun atmosphere.

In the early afternoon judging took place for the Easter egg decorating competition which saw children, and adults, getting their hands dirty with paint and glitter to see if their creation could be judged best in their age category.

Following this the very popular Easter bonnet competition took place with the contestants parading their inventive, colourful and amusing creations in front of the judges. Winners were presented with chocolate prizes before scurrying away to enjoy the final event of the day.

The duck derby took place on the cascading stairway leading down from the castle where a number of numbered table tennis balls were thrown down the stairs whith those travelling the farthest winning nominal cash prizes.

The Easter event proved once again, to be a popular highlight in the Easter calendar and much like the castle attraction itself, all the familiar elements are still there, it is just now bigger and better.

Leah Jones and Shiona McGarrigle enjoyed the sunshine with children Ryan Jones, Eve and Erin McGarrigle. 01_B17castle01

Welcoming the young egg hunters were Victorian egg hunters Matt Jebb ‘Thaddeus’ and Cameron Hall ‘Mortimer’. 01_B17castle02

Visitors learn the rules of the egg hunt from Victorian egg hunter Mortimer (Cameron Hall). 01_B17castle03

The third generation to be visiting Arran from Edinburgh are brothers David and Matthew with their wives Holly and Sarah and their five children. 01_B17castle04

Brodick Castle operations manager Jared Bowers with two of the stars of the teddy bear’s picnic. 01_B17castle05

A little bit shy but happy to receive her prize was Edie with dad Andy Duke of North Yorkshire. 01_B17castle06

Young Angus Blain of Blackwaterfoot prepares to tuck into his Easter egg. 01_B17castle08

Dad Ian Blain with mum Alison are pictured with Thomas, Rory and Angus who are eating their Easter eggs. 01_B17castle09

Parents and children decorate eggs for the egg decorating competition. 01_B17castle10

Don’t drop it, children set off on the egg and spoon race. 01_B17castle11

Adults join in on the fun of the egg and spoon race. 01_B17castle12

Grace Popplewell leads the pack in the sack races. 01_B17castle13

Sack racers make their way towards the finish line. 01_B17castle14

Young competitors work together in the three-legged races. 01_B17castle15

Setting off on the right foot, adults take their turn in the three-legged races.  01_B17castle16

Racers at the ready in the wheelbarrow race. 01_B17castle17

Teamwork is key in the well boot race. 01_B17castle18

Owners trail behind their pets in the pooch race. 01_B17castle19

Lucy Young of Whiting Bay won a prize for her Easter bonnet in the under seven age group. 01_B17castle20

Cousins Emily Gee of Wales and Alice Holmes from Manchester took first and second places in the Easter bonnet competition for seven to 12-year olds.  01_B17castle21

Scarlette Wilson of Blackwaterfoot shows off her winning decorated egg and her prize. 01_B17castle22

Helping with fundraising were the Friends of Brodick Castle, Linda MacCallum, Joan Stuart, Liz Rose and Lyn Mowatt.  01_B17castle23

Arran ranger Jackie Kemp throws the balls down the castle stairs in the duck derby. 01_B17castle24

Mum Caroline McArdle and Bonnie are delighted to win second place in the duck derby while son Mac seems less impressed. 01_B17castle25

Two young friends are still brimming with energy after a long day in the spring sunshine. 01_B17castle26