Summer is cancelled

The mass bands of the visiting pipe bands at the Brodick Highland Games will fall silent this year.

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Summer is cancelled … and that’s official as the ongoing coronavirus pandemic wipes out events across Arran.

As predicted in last week’s Banner, both the Arran Farmers Show and Brodick Highland Games were cancelled by the organisers this week. The SWI handicraft show, which has been held on show day since 1926, has also been postponed till 2021.

This year the farmers show was due to have been held on Wednesday August 5, which would have the 184th staging of the  event. The Highland games was due to be held three days later on Saturday August 8 when Ormidale Park is turned into a sea of fun for visitors from near and far.

Indeed Ormidale Park should have been packed tomorrow (Saturday) for the Arran Rugby Sevens, which, like last year, would have been bathed in sunshine. And the crowds would have been back for the Ormidale 10k on Sunday.

Highland games secretary Sheila Gilmore said: ‘It’s the busiest event on the island, but realistically having 4,000 plus in such a busy space at one time is probably not what people want this year. Easier to cancel now and let people know. We’ll have a blast next year instead.’

A statement the games organisers said: ‘Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, and possible restrictions that may still be with us in August, it is with great regret that the decision has been taken to cancel this year’s Brodick Highland Games.

‘This is not a decision that has been taken lightly, but we feel it is in the best interests of all involved to cancel now. Stallholders will be advised tomorrow and any payments refunded.

‘There have been very few times Brodick Highland Games have had to be cancelled: during the war years, in 2007 when the park was under reconstruction, and this year as a result of the pandemic.

‘Please keep safe, and we will look forward to welcoming you all on Saturday August 7, 2021, when we will have an even more super games to make up for it!’

In a statement the Arran Farmers’ Society echoed the sentiment when they said: ‘It is with a heavy heart that we would like to advise that, in light of the current situation regarding COVID-19, this year’s Arran Show has been cancelled.

‘This decision was not taken lightly and followed consideration of all possible options in respect of this year’s show. We feel that this decision is in the best interests of the residents of Arran and all of those involved in the show.

‘We look forward to a fantastic Arran Show in 2021 and hope you can join us then. Best wishes and stay safe.’

Gala days and fun weeks in the villages around the island are also likely to be badly hit over the summer and the Arran Heritage Museum will also be seriously impacted by the lockdown.

A spokesman said: ‘There seems little doubt that we shall not be open again until late summer, so the  Motorcycle Show  in June, the Craft Day and Children’s Day in July, and Tractor Rally in August, are almost certainly casualties.  They, of course, are our principal fundraising events of the year, so we shall miss that income, but on the other hand, we are fortunate in having started the year with fairly decent reserves so can cope with the standard outgoings such a  insurance, electricity,  etc, albeit depleting our bank balance somewhat.

‘We must hope that we are not too precipitate in relaxing the reins on social mobility too early, and as a consequence incur a new outbreak, so patience is going to become difficult for many as the weeks go by.’

There is still a glimmer of hope that the Arran Rock ‘n Blues Festival would still go ahead at the end of September in Lamlash, but it seems unlikely.

Organiser Jane Howe of the PHT in Lamlash said: ‘I was really disappointed to see that the Brodick Highland Games has been cancelled, I suppose that brings the reality of the situation home, however we are at the end of September so will wait a little longer before making that decision.’