Gatehouse Gala draws the crowds

The Old McNichol's Farm float
The Old McNichol's Farm float

THE 62nd Gatehouse Gala lived up to its high standards this year with a spectacular action packed week of events and entertainments.

On Monday the Cream O’ Galloway held a special day with lots of activities for the children with all profits going to the Gala.

Tug O War, the men win!

Tug O War, the men win!

During the week sports events included tennis tournaments and indoor and outdoor bowls. In a friendly football match between the police and a team of local youths the final score was 3-2 to the police after a hard fought game.

Guided walks included Dr David Steel’s Town History walk, Ranger Lucy Hadley’s wildlife walk and, for those of a stronger constitution, the Guided Hill Walk led by David McNicol.

The Torchlight Procession was one of the highlights of the week on Wednesday night with more than 1000 fiery torches carried through the town in procession with three pipe bands. Moving into Garries Park the procession walked to the bottom of the park where they threw the torches on to a vast bonfire. As the last torch was thrown a magnificent fireworks display lit up the night sky.

The walking treasure hunt had a good entry of teams who toured the town solving clues. Unfortunately they were so intelligent that four teams won and had to share the first prize. This high intelligence was also evident in the Hidden Object competition where 20 of the 83 entries found them all.

The riding of the Marches

The riding of the Marches

On Friday evening there was a free family ceilidh in the school where entertainment was provided by Caitlin Innes and Elizabeth Walker of the Kay Alexander Highland Dancers with Ruth Sandiford on the harp, songs from Liz Ezard and music from a wind trio, Megan Clark, Jessie Leach and Molly Marchant. Between the performances, the compere, Carol Clark, guided enthusiastic amateurs through Scottish country dances to the music of the Dune Scottish Sound.

In the Duck Race in aid of Multiple Sclerosis over 500 plastic ducks were released into the Fleet by the Mill footbridge and collected by the Fleet Bridge. Glen Graham’s duck emerged as a clear winner closely followed by those of Harry Kirkpatrick, Finlay McCarlie-Davis and Abby Greggan. The excess ducks were collected by Hollie Mitchell and Suzy Fitton who bravely plunged into the river to chase after escapees.

There was an extremely good turnout of floats and fancy dress for the Grand parade on Gala Day (Saturday). The parade, led by the Kirkcudbright Pipe Band wound up through the town followed by The Gala Queen and her entourage in an open carriage and the Fleet Lad, Lass and Standard Bearer accompanied by the Provost, Pat Jacques and the Chairwoman of the Gala Committee, Pauline Logan in a second carriage. After them came the walking fancy dress competitors and the decorated floats. The procession went up the High St, round Anne St and into Garries Park where an afternoon of entertainment hosted by Chris Walker awaited them. Despite occasional showers there was an extremely good turnout of spectators. As well as a variety of catering stalls, charity stalls and the Scouts’ Bottle Stall there was the opportunity to try the climbing wall, pony rides, handling birds of prey provided by the Galloway Falconry or having a go on one of Lagganoutdoors’ Segways. Entertainment was provided by local group The Geese.

On the final day of the Gala there was a well attended Ecumenical service on Cardonness shore and the celebrations ended with the Riding of the Marches attended by 61 riders.