Sunart Water Festival proves a success

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Loch Sunart was a hotspot and a future Hope Spot on Sunday when people from various communities around the area came together to enjoy a day full of all things water on the loch.

This was the second festival run by Sunart Community Company (SCC), which had various activities ranging from open water swimming, to canoeing. Organisers estimate the event raised around £800, which will go towards to next year’s festival.

Festival-goers launch The Witched of Morvern into Loch Sunart. Photograph: Janice MacKinnon.

The event was due to happen last year but unfortunately due to the weather the event had to be abandoned and was relocated indoors at the Strontian Hotel. However, blue and skies and sunshine meant the return of the event this year was far more successful.

Izzy Baker, one of the co-creators of the event, said: ‘The day was really well attended, all the activities were fully booked, and we had to book extra sessions to cater for everyone. It was just the perfect day. We wanted to create an event that engaged people with Loch Sunart which is a special loch.’

Youngsters get to grips with an adult-sized paddle board. Photograph: Janice MacKinnon.

The main aim of the festival, according to the community company, is to increase awareness of Loch Sunart, promote safety around the water, promote education and marine biology, and to teach activities and sports.

Janice Mackinnon, a director of SCC spoke about the uniqueness of Loch Sunart, saying: ‘Annabel Lawrence of CAOLAS spoke about Mission Blue Hope Spots and made the exciting announcement that Sunart and surrounding area will officially become a Mission Blue Hope Spot on June 8 2019 – the first of its kind in Scotland and mainland UK! An area covering 791 square km – which includes Loch Sunart – has been nominated in recognition of the fact it represents one of the most biologically diverse environments in Scotland.’

The festival is planned to return next year, just in time for Scotland’s national 2020 event, the year of the coasts and waters.

Event Scotland said of the national event: ‘2020 has been designated Scotland’s Year of Coasts and Waters, a year that will spotlight, celebrate and promote opportunities to experience and enjoy Scotland’s unrivalled coast and waters, encouraging responsible engagement and participation from the people of Scotland and our visitors.’

The Sunart Water Festival is likely to take place in June next year. You can find more information about the event at sunartcommunitycompany.co.uk