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Written by on 09/07/2008

Just returned from a great afternoon at UIG HALL where even with rain showers a good time was had by all. This was the second time we had been invited to provide background music for the event and to take care of the public address. This year our accommodation had been upgraded to a double Gazebo with a little dance area next to the bouncy castle and opposite the burger stand; with afternoon teas and home made cake available in the UIG Hall, we had it all.


The well attended event wasn’t going to allow a little rain to dampen the proceedings in any way and this year had the best ever entry with nearly 40 participants on 18 rafts. The “THE MIGHTY EACHAIG CHALLENGE” with possibly the fastest flowing water for a long time was to give us one of the most spectacular events seen at Benmore.

Two weeks ago there were concerns that there may not be high enough waters to get to the finishing line, but with the recent rain falls the concern today was how to stop the rafts at the finishing line and prevent them surfing into the Holy Loch.

We noticed shortly after the race the familiar figure of Graeme Adams from Benmore Outdoor Education Centre looking as if he needed a nice cup of tea, probably relieved that once again the race had been a success and he had not had to rescue anyone from taking the short cut to Dunoon via the Loch.


Incidentally talking about music which we weren’t, Graeme like most of the Benmore instructors is also an awesome DJ, well and truly capable of keeping the decks spinning and folk on the floor. This being due to the weekly Disco’s held at the end of most of the residential courses where Instructors take charge to spin the wheels of steel. After a week involved in all kinds of outdoors activities from biking , mountaineering, canoeing and too many other things to mention here I know the discos are well appreciated-and how do I know-well, when we are out and about on gigs and talking to folk, most ask when realising we are from Dunoon “Do you know Tighnabruaich ? -that’s where I learnt to sail” or “Do you know Benmore Outdoor Centre? I did jungle bashing, rock climbing, abseiling and boogie-on-down at the disco”.

Having said all that we haven’t had any volunteers yet from Benmore staff to spin the decks of steel on DCR, but I do recall Boss Man Andy Beveridge saying they would consider getting involved once we were up and running.


Supporter local councillor Mr Ron Simon while enjoying some free time stopped to say hello and wish us well, but declined to have a tune request played as he didn’t trust us not to divulge what he had chosen. No such problem with many visitors to the event who seemed to be taking advantage of our reputation for playing ANYTHING & EVERYTHING, of course, as long as in good taste! I’m pleased to report we were able to satisfy all request.


Another DCR supporter who stopped to say hello was our good friend Mr John Massey who we at DCR respectfully refer to as Our Squirrel Man. Extracts of a radio interview with John highlighting the plight of the local Red Squirrel was broadcast by DCR during our MOD RADIO broadcast and although a very serious interview John was at times very amusing in educating the listeners who showed there appreciation by phoning in to swear their allegiance to the local Red Squirrel. Unfortunately as we talked, it became clear that the plight of the Red Squirrel hasn’t really changed and its time for John to come back and talk to us again to bring everyone up to date. What John has to say we will broadcast here on our website, of course in the meantime if you have any questions for John just put them in a comments box on the site, we will find them and put them to John.


Here is a question I didn’t have an answer for when asked by Betty “when people referred to the “Yellow Tea Pot” on the website, did they really mean the “Yellow Kettle” from the Glasgow Garden Festival!”. She then took herself and her “You know nothing” look away, just turning to give me her name when I asked who she was.


I was a bit slow, I should have asked Dave Dewer from Cultral Connections if he knew anything about the Yellow Teapot? Dave is currently working on a DCR outside broadcast project for spring 2009 which we are all very excited about and can’t wait to tell all. Something we can talk about is that Dave is shortly to record some previews for his forthcoming radio programme DID THAT REALLY HAPPEN HERE? which you will be able to listen to here on the web. I promised I wouldn’t give anything away but Dave has been working very hard uncovering all kinds of strange facts and stories from Cowal that will surely have you asking DID THAT HAPPEN HERE-so don’t go far away.


Something we were looking forward to again this year were the afternoon teas and home made cakes served in the tea shop set up in Uig Hall along with a few stalls selling arts, crafts and plants, it was hard to take it all in when you had such wonderful home baking and creamed strawberry meringues to tempt you. Of course we on the DCR roadshow, ever conscious of our public image, kept our tummies firmly in and participated in a thin slice of fruit cake which took care of the five fruit a day and a glass of milk to help our growing bones. It must be noted without sounding as if telling tails, that DCR volunteers Clair and Ally Lynn did seem over keen on the environmental issue of air pollution and spent a lot of time fanning the air around the Burger Stall, they say, to prevent the aroma of freshly fried onions and burgers reaching into the tea room. It was also noted that they were participating in guffawing copious amounts of the Burger Stall stock. Of course Victor and Tony stayed at their post at the roadshow always available should any members of the public seek to enquire of DCR.


Local man DJ Tom McKillop came over to say hello and wish us well, Tom for those who don’t know him has Technet 101 which specialises in mobile entertainment and is known for the many celebrity functions he has organised and DJ’d at. Even though he is a very nice guy he is still basically a DJ and we are not going to build him up here, not unless he wants to get involved! Just to make it clear there is no jealousy here, Tom is a professional DJ, to enable him to do what he does he needs to be able to offer 172,000 tunes to his customers and a lightshow on par to Blackpool illuminations along with a sound system that Glasonbury would approve of. As for us — just wait till we grow up !


As we mentioned we were next to the bouncy castle this year which was ideal for drying off the damp clothing and certainly boosted the fitness regime for a lot of folk -all this, entertainment and keep fit as well. Unfortunately like a lot of the attractions at these sort of events they are soon taken over by the children who have obviously tagged along with bigger people, who at times it be noted, encourage the children to participate. Understandable when the children have been in the loch as the bouncy castle is ideal for drying off. It did not go unnoticed the amount of children who participated and won prizes in events, even though with the concerns for the water levels had to be accompanied by adults and as for that old favourite the Duck Race, well we think Mums and Dads didn’t get a look in. This year there was also a giant game of Jenga and Archery in the big field which I think put a worried look on the face of Thea Groves and her sheep doggies as there were sheep in that field.


The final Event of the afternoon was the The Fabulous Wheel of Fortune presided over by Dave & Lorna Dewar which offered a cash prize to the winner. After health & safety had checked out the apparatus and security arrived with the prize money everyone was encouraged to gather around whilst Lorna to a drum roll spun the wheel of the upturned bicycle. First the Wheel of Fortune spun very slowly but once the brake was released it started to pick up speed, with cries of delight from the crowd Lorna gave the wheel one last hard spin. There were gasps of anticipation as the wheel slowed down to a gentle rock between two numbered spokes, there were cries of Split the prize (between the two final spoke numbers) when, as if to add controversy to the proceedings the wind blew up and the wheel began to turn the opposite direction, as the wind gathered in strength and the wheel spun faster there were cries of delight from the gathered crowd which had now doubled in size, people being attracted from all over Cowal by the cries of support for the little wheel.


As the wheel gathered speed and the little frame began to shake the crowd became quiet, the Health & Safety people moved in towards the shaky fast spinning wheel, the crowd began to boo -But wait! this time the Health & Safety were doing right, as they drew nearer to the wheel they were standing in the path of the wind and the wheel had now stopped shaking and was starting to slow down, the crowd began to cheer. Dave was helping Lorna to regain her posture, having fainted with all the excitement. The ground was shaking as the crowd jumped up and down as the Wheel of Fortune finally came to a stop revelling the winning number.Security stepped forward with the prize money and after security checks and counter checks Dave & Lorna passed over the winning cash to the winner (who asked to remain anonymous). The crowd threw their hats into the air and cheered, Lorna gave the little boy his bike back who immediately stopped crying, and that drew to a fitting end, the afternoon events.


The afternoon proceedings ended with the prize giving accompanied by a lot of clapping and cheering as winners received their prices, including The Real MacKays who won the Whistlefield Shield for the fastest entry, The Home Farm Trophy for the most imaginative raft was won by Sheila’s Wheels. Small and Beautiful (see Facebook and YouTube) won the Ferguson Cup for fastest one-person raft ,Award for the most sophisticated participant was the Harris Tweed suited cool shaded dude Mr Joe Grant, the man in a fridge. The Uig Childrens Shield for the fastest junior entry was won by Chloepatra’s Needle. A fitting end by the younger members of the gathering which must have meant A Good Family Day Out At The Benmore Raft Race.

We from DCR had a very good time and met some very nice people who said very nice things about us.

We would like to say a big thank you to every one on the Uig Hall Committee for inviting us to take part and to everyone who came over to say hello and now here is a DCR name check to acknowledge your support to DCR. If we have missed you please leave your name in a comment box on site and we will include you in the next DCR name check.


And in no particular order & A Big Thank you :
Dinah, Furgie McVicar, Moria, Carol, Thea & the Doggies, Mike the Director, Angela(Small but Beautiful)) Tracy, Joe & Mrs Joe, Steven, Graeme Adams, Dave & Lorna, Simon, Big Aiden, John Massey, The Forestry People, Maureen & Susan, The stall holders in Uig Hall, Emma, Marc. Rory, Aileen Mac & Mr Mac, The Burger Staff ,The Bouncy Castle staff , The man with the Arrows (refuse to believe your name is Robin) The Staff from Benmore Outdoor Centre for providing river safety for the race, The car park attendants, The door people, lighting and Sound people, Health& Safety Officials, MSP,s who didn’t show, Security and special thanks to the Tea Room Staff for the great service and last, just last, the little boy who allowed his bicycle to be used as a prop (sorry about the puncture).

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