High jinx on North Esk for annual raft race

HARDY souls from across Angus and the Mearns will converge on Marykirk this weekend for the village’s annual raft race.

The race, which runs along the North Esk, starting in Marykirk and finishing just before the road bridge from Marykirk to Montrose, has been a firm fixture in the local calendar since 1995 and over the years has raised thousands of pounds for charity.

As has happened in the past, the money raised will be split with 50 per cent going to the Children’s Hospice Association Scotland (CHAS) and the other half being divided between charities and local causes such as the village hall, pensioners’ lunch club and school.

More than 500 people turned out last year to witness the spectacle – which sees many of the teams competing in fancy dress – and organisers are hoping for an even bigger crowd at this year’s event on Sunday, May 15.

The race will kick off at noon, usually taking about 30 to 40 minutes depending on the water level, after which there will be a host of fun activities in the park.

Registration for the Kennel Club-regulated Companion Dog Show will start from 11am, with the judging at 1pm.

Nine bands including Fisher Folk, Heidrum and the Zuglu Drummers will provide musical relief, while a wide range of stalls and amusements will also available.

From Scotland’s biggest slide, hot food and a marquee bar to craft stalls with a range of candles, hand-made jewellery, manicure products, clothing and kids’ stuff, there will be plenty to hold visitors’ attention on the day.

Tickets for the raffle will also be available, with a range of great prizes up for grabs including a new bike from Cycle World worth over £230, which will be selected afterwards to suit the winner’s size, a DAB radio, a £50 voucher for dinner at a local hotel, stainless steel gardening tools and a £30 voucher for dinner for two at an Indian restaurant.

Further information about the race and associated activities on the day is available at www.marykirkraftrace.com