Ready, set, throw! Stone skimming championship strikes again

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Grab your best skimming stones ready for this Sunday’s world championships on Easdale.

Once the number of eager participants reaches 350 on the day, registration will close so get there early from 10am to 1pm, say organisers.

Competitors come from around the world to join in, previous champions have hailed from as far away as Japan. First started in 1983 by local man Bertie Baker, the contest was revived in 1997 as a fundraiser by The Easdale Island Community Development Group.

Coverage of the quirkiest championships has made it to BBC shows Blue Peter, Coast, The One Show and in publications such as Lonely Planet and the national press.

For those who  cannot wait until Sunday and want to warm up for it, there is a pre-skim party on the Saturday at Easdale Island Community Hall with live music from four-piece rock cover band None The Wiser, playing tunes from Abba to The Cult and Queen.

There are no qualifying rounds and the first competition starts at noon.

There are rules to stick to, including all stones must be Easdale slate and be no wider than three inches, each contestant will have three skims per session. To be a valid skim,  the stone must bounce off the water no less than twice.

Seven categories will make up the event, including overall champion, Old Tosser for 60 years of age competitors and older, and Bertie – the best Easdale Islander.

To have a go it is £5 for adults, £3 for ‘Old Tossers’, £2 for children aged 10 to 15, £1 for under-10s, and team members pay an extra £1 each to be part of the team competition.

Last year’s men’s winner was Peter Szep from Hungary whose cumulative skim win was a whopping 122m, best woman was Lucy Wood from England with 38m.

For anyone arriving by  car to catch the ferry, there will be plenty of organised parking, including the free council-run public car park in Ellenabeich.

The former Highland Arts Centre car park now owned and being developed by Tony Hill of Seafari and the car park at Seil Island Hall will be charged at £5 for the day. Money raised will go to the hall funds.

Tidal restrictions might mean possibe short delays to the ferry at low tide around lunchtime.