Annie is the Queen Bee at Whiting Bay

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Words and pictures by Hugh Boag

What a difference a day made for this year’s Bay Queen Annie West. On Saturday she was dressed as a bee for the Lamlash fancy dress contest only to be transformed into a princess for her crowning glory on Sunday.

From early morning there was a cloudless sky and the sun shone for the opening day of the Whiting Bay fun week with the traditional raft race and Bay Queen crowning.

The day was full of promise for the start and setting up the centre of the village for the start of the fun week was smooth and easy. Village events do not happen by chance and an efficient background organisation is vital yet this first Sunday was a day which had a magical and relaxed quality. A real community celebration.

Although only a couple of entries were confirmed in advance for this year’s raft race a creative flotilla of seven rafts appeared at the jetty as the time of the race approached. The mellow crowd of spectators gathered in and whilst anticipation built up many queued at the popular burger stall.

The race was as exciting as ever – hard work for those on rafts and – excitement on the shore for spectators and supporters. Ian Cook on the megaphone set the scene and built the atmosphere by delivering an informative, irreverent commentary.

Everyone was a winner but the race ashore for first and second place was especially tight. First place went to the Otter’s Tail ahead of Mair Steam. The Old Relics (oldest combined age crew) were third followed by Queen Annie (best dressed raft), Kontiki (youngest team), Jolly Rafter and Pineapple Destroyer (last raft home).

A short time later the sound of bagpipes heralded the arrival of the royal procession led by Willie Robertson escorting this year’s Bay Queen, Annie West, to her throne for her crowning accompanied by maids Caitlin Fraser and Harriet Lucas in attendance and her young attendants.

Fun games for children, a climbing wall and the ever popular tombola kept the crowds entertained on a lovely afternoon in Whiting Bay.


The newly crowned Bay Queen Annie West with her entourage. 01_B29bay01

One of the traditional games at the gala day. 01_B29bay02

A young girl reaches the top of the popular climbing tower. 01_B29bay03

Digging deep at the tombola stall. 01_B29bay04

Piper Willie Robertson leads the Bay Queen procession from the village hall. 01_B29bay05

The young kilted attendants out in front at the parade. 01_B29bay06

The flower girl drops petals during the procession. 01_B29bay07

Annie is crowed Bay Queen by last year’s queen Greta Litton. 01_B29bay08

Annie West is the radiant Bay Queen. 01_B29bay09

Sid, Jesse and Kitty Townsend from Whiting Bay with their friend Lenny Boyd who’s visiting from London with their raft. 01_B29raft01

The race is on to get into the rafts first. 01_B29raft02

And there off with Queen Annie taking an early lead. 01_B29raft03

Andy and Elanor McNamara are the first raft home. 01_B29raft04

Elanor and Andy receive the raft winners trophy and prize from Queen Annie. 01_B29raft06

The oldest, The Old Relics and youngest, Kontiki, teams together after the raft race. 01_B29raft07

Fergus West collects the best dressed raft prize from his sister Queen Annie. The beer is for his dad! 01_B29raft08