Ross of Mull & Iona Gala

Dinghy race

Gala 2017: Sound of Iona Dinghy Race

The good folk of the Ross of Mull and Iona – and the many visitors who also took part – did not allow the poor summer to dampen their spirits during the two weeks of the Ross of Mull and Iona Gala.

From the opening parade in Fionnphort on Friday 21st July to the Bunessan Show Dance there was something on every day or every evening, somewhere in South West Mull or Iona for locals and visitors, families and individuals, to participate in and enjoy.

The opening Float Parade was great fun, led smartly by The Mull and Iona Pipe Band. Floats don’t have to come in the form of lorries or pickups as, this year, we had Ronnie Kirkpatrick and his lovingly cared-for Harley Davidson trike. We had to place Ronnie a few vehicles behind the band in order that the iconic throaty roar of the Harley would not drown out the piping and drumming!

Later that evening, Rock & Reel, as promised in their name, got the small, but appreciative crowd going with their mix of traditional Scottish dance tunes and contemporary songs, at the Opening Dance in Creich Hall.

The Bunessan 5s this year was the first event to be held on the new pitch and was well attended by spectators enjoying not only the good weather or the scintillating football but the burgers cooked to perfection by Cameron in between his appearances on the field of play! The tournament was won by a team from Oban.

The rest of the Gala ran as per the programme with many excellent events: the 4th Annual Sound of Iona Dinghy Race, which gamely ran despite the inclement weather; Skiff Rowing; One Club Golf on Iona; Car Treasure Hunt, thanks to Veronica MacDougall; Practical Plants Day; Uisken Games; Art and Gardens Trail; the Ross of Mull & Iona Art Exhibition; Stock Judging Event; Pennyghael BBQ; Sandacstle Competition at Fidden, thanks to Heather Campbell; Survivor Camp, run by Emily and the rangers, to name but a few.

Two new events this year, that were both very successful, were the Prosecco, Fish, Chips and Choons @ the Creel where an impromptu ceilidh broke out at Fionnphort pier with Creich David, providing the music and the Big Creich Cook Up where a full Scottish breakfast, or a selection of hot-filled rolls with tea or coffee could be had for a very reasonable price – a delicious start to the day!

The Ayrshire Infinity Choir again provided an excellent concert Bunessan Hall on the evening of Friday 28th July and in Iona Abbey on the afternoon of the Saturday 29th as well as mini concerts on the Mull and the Iona ferries and at Fionnphort pier – we hope they’ll be back again next year.

Apologies to all those involved in events on the programme that haven’t been mentioned: there were so many and all so good.

The Scarecrow Trail was held again throughout the fortnight and it was great to see so many brilliant entries – congratulations to everyone for their creativity. The Scarecrow Trail even made the national press featuring in The Scottish Sun and The Scottish Daily Mail!

Thanks to all those who participated in this year’s Gala in any way, including those who organised and ran events, and to all of those individuals and businesses who donated prizes for our Grand Raffle and for other events.

Gala 2018 is already in the planning and there is always room for more people to get involved!

Jack Degnan, Chair of the Gala Committee