Thousands enjoy Oban Winter Festival – and there’s more events to come

Linda and Marco MacGregor and Jaime and Alfie MacIntyre met Desmond the Dragon at the Winter in the Woods event. 17_T48_WinterFestivaSaturday17

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Whether you were watching fireworks, attending Winter in the Woods, or dancing in an inflatable igloo, this year’s Oban Winter Festival was one to remember – and there is still one weekend left.

The food and craft markets were as popular as ever, with around 4,000 people attending the event at Oban Distillery.

The enchanted woodland trail in Glencruitten was a special addition this year and was deemed ‘absolutely amazing’ by attendees.

Fireworks at McCaig’s Tower made some spectacular scenes and an international audience enjoyed whisky paired with foraged food in the Corran Halls.

The festival is made possible thanks to committee members Pamela Lockhart, David Smith, Karen MacKie, Louis Barrow, and David Finlayson, with support from Eleanor MacKinnon, as well as the whole community.

‘It’s very much a community thing,’ explained a committee member. ‘If you need any help, if you go to someone they help you straight away.’

Speaking about the festival as a whole, the committee said: ‘It was fantastic – the weather was great and the events were all well attended.

‘The Winter in the Woods was particularly popular. The feedback from that has been really good and people want it to happen again.

‘The finale parade was huge and everyone was happy. Everyone was coming into the distillery with a smile. The fireworks were great.’

In addition to the fireworks, Louis Barrow orchestrated a light show to take place at the same time.

‘Another highlight was the Gary Goldie [foraged food and whisky pairing] event, which attracted an international audience. There have been requests for this event to be repeated.

And on Sunday, 14 butchers showcased their best produce at the prestigious Haggis Festival in a bid to win the Golden Haggis Award.

This year’s winner, McCaskie Butchers, of Wemyss Bay, scooped both the people’s and judges choice awards.

A key sound throughout the week was the music of Italian guitarist Davide Guerra who was headhunted by organiser Pamela Lockhart after she spotted him playing in Oban Music Shop when she was handing in programmes.

The committee added: ‘Thanks to all the volunteers. The festival could not take place without them and it could not happen without everyone putting their events on.’

The celebrations continue this weekend as part of St Andrew’s Day.

There will be a ceilidh in The View on Friday night from 7.30pm, which will feature music from the Oban High School Traditional School of Music.
And on Saturday a Young Entrepreneur Market will take place at Oban Distillery from 10am until 4pm. Rockfield choir will be singing in the Perle Hotel at 2pm.

As well as this, there will be Gaelic conversations and Bookbug sessions taking place in the Corran Halls from 10.30am and Oban Phoenix Cinema will be showcasing a Scottish zombie film at 8pm.