Rafts race round God’s isle’s Boathouse bay

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Hand-crafted rafts racing round Gigha’s Boathouse bay drew spectators from near and far, despite the patchy drizzle.

So many people wanted to catch a glimpse of the rafters’ paddling power last Saturday, that some cars could not fit on the ferry.

Those who did make it were eager to cheer on the four adult rafts and four junior rafts, all completely home-made, taking part in the race organised by the Boathouse restaurant.

The ferry sounded its horn at 2.30pm, just before it headed back across the Sound of Gigha to Tayinloan, to signal the start of both races.

The adult competitors set off from the jetty at the Boathouse, heading across to the ferry terminal, where the juniors had started off, before turning and paddling back onto the sandy Boathouse shore.

The race was on from the start, as the rafts splashed into action.

The Highlanders took an early lead, with the Wee Isle Maids and Baywatch in competition for second, while the Ibiza Booze Cruise lost a crew member early on, when their inflatable whale floated out to sea. He was rescued and brought back into the bay where the youngsters dipping their toes in the water looked after him.

The Highlanders sailed into first place, receiving a £100 voucher for the Boathouse. The Wee Isle Maids kept just ahead of Baywatch to make it to second, while Ibiza Booze Cruise came in fourth.

The competitors joined the crowd after the race and enjoyed some of the day’s entertainment, including fresh food from the Boathouse, live music from Lochgilphead-based band None The Wiser, face painting and a bouncy castle.

The raffle was drawn before visitors had to head back for the final ferry, with some fantastic prizes including two hours of gardening, a bag of potatoes, Gigha halibut, Gigha bread, a steak pie, salmon, a selection of Inverloch cheese, tablet, whisky, champagne, prosecco and much more.

The sum of £352 was raised on the day and will be donated to Gigha primary school.

A Boathouse spokesperson said: ‘Thank you to everyone who made the raft race a success. What a great day it turned out to be starting off with typical Scottish weather. Already looking forward to Gigha raft race 2018.’