Herring Queen festivities hit by the wet weather

The Eyemouth Herring Queen 2012, Miss Heather Smith in Gunsgreen House as the weather affects the crowing ceremony.
The Eyemouth Herring Queen 2012, Miss Heather Smith in Gunsgreen House as the weather affects the crowing ceremony.

AS it has done in a number of years, the weather caused some disruption to the opening weekend of the 2012 Eyemouth Herring Queen Festival.

Organisers were hoping for a let up in the wet weather which made last month the wettest June for a number of years but unfortunately both wind and rain battered the harbour town on Saturday.

Eyemouth Lifeboat ‘Barclaycard Crusader’ had already been out to come to the rescue of two stricken vessels on Saturday morning and a decision was made not to take this year’s Queen, Heather Smith and her court out to sea as the water was just too rough.

Rain continued to fall into the afternoon but thankfully the Herring Queen Committee made allowances for the ever unpredictable British weather and had wet weather plans in place.

This meant that rather than be crowned on a stage in Eyemouth Co-op car park as planned, Heather had her big moment in the dry and warmth of Eyemouth Parish Church in front of a packed congregation who too were glad to have some shelter from the elements.

Committee member Wendy Lough said: “Both Heather and our retiring queen Rachel did exceptionally well throughout the day and Heather didn’t seem to be too downhearted about the weather.

“Fortunately we had our contingency plans in place which meant that Heather’s crowning could still go ahead and the church was such a fantastic venue for it; there were people crammed in to see the ceremony.

“And then both Heather and Rachel and their courts were treated to a fantastic tea in the EU Church.”

The committee’s forward thinking meant all of the entertainment planned for the opening afternoon of this year’s festival could still go ahead, albeit it in local pubs The Dolphin and The Tavern rather than on the outdoor stage.

This meant that revellers could still enjoy performances by the likes of The Podlies, Paul Temple and Michaelangelo without getting soaked in the process.

Thankfully the weather had no effect on the evening’s big event- a ceilidh in the old High School hall with music from the Danelaw Dance Band.

Everyone tucked into a hearty stovie supper and danced the night away.

Like Saturday, Sunday unfortunately brought its share of wind and rain meaning that events were once again transferred to The Dolpin and The Tavern, with acts like The Border Tarts and The Joe Mangles proving a hit with everyone who went along.

Monday morning saw even more rain fall from the sky, leading to the planned sandcastle competition being cancelled with a beetle drive being held in the TEDDA building instead.

The Ten Pin Bowling competition at Beachcomber Aracade went ahead as planned and although participants didn’t get the blue skies and sunshine they were hoping for, there was still a good turnout for the Fancy Dress parade.

Fortunately none of Tuesday’s events were dependant on the weather meaning plenty of fun was had at the community centre with Interactive Dance Mats and a Light Wall and at the Children’s Pet Show, which is one of the longest established events in the Herring Queen schedule.

Eyes were down in The Tavern on Tuesday night for the bingo while just up the road at the new High School, Eyemouth and District Youth Community Drama Group took to the stage with ‘Geek Side Story’.

Events still to look forward to include The Eye Factor, Tea Dance, Children’s Swimming Gala and the annual Herring Queen Pool competition, all due to take place today (Thursday) and a baby show; Something Scottish; a music quiz in The Fleet and Casino NIght at Oblo, all on the menu for tomorrow.

And Wendy said committee members and Heather and her court including maids Alana Crowe, Zoe Holmes, Rebecca Mark and Keira Robb were keeping everything crossed for good weather on Saturday because if the sea is sailable, the Eyemouth Lifeboat crew are planning on taking the girls out to sea before Heather presents awards to the various prize winners from the week.

Saturday should also see some keen competition in the Eyelympics, which are due to take place on the beach but will be moved to the high school in the event of bad weather and competition of a different kind in the FourLegged Bantry Challenge and the Dry Boat Race.

Some good weather should hopefully be on the horizon for all of those events and for the closing night festivities which will include the pyjama parade and a fireworks display (weather permitting).

And the festival will come to a close in traditional fashion with the Service of the Sea in the EU Church on Sunday.