MAIDENS WORLD OCEAN DAY FESTIVAL

Turning The Tide

Gill Sherry

World Ocean Day was a concept first proposed in 1992 at the Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro. The intent was to celebrate our connection to the sea and to raise awareness of the vital role the ocean plays in our lives. More importantly, it was introduced to educate people how to protect our precious ocean.

Thirty years later, Henry Anderson, a founder member of Carrick Coastal Rowing Club and former teacher, decided to bring the concept to Maidens, South Ayrshire and, with the help of local volunteers, Angela Tremble and Kathy Boyling, launched the village’s very own World Ocean Day Festival.

That first event in 2022 was a one-day festival designed to educate school children about the ocean, the danger of plastic pollution, and sustainability. It was held on a Monday and involved 180 children from various primary schools in North Carrick.

“The Monday is still very much for the benefit of the school kids,” Angela told me when we met to discuss this year’s festival. “But last year, North Carrick Community Benefits Company said there was possible funding if we wanted to go bigger.”

Excited by the prospect and unfazed by the challenge, Angela and Kathy organised a successful three-day event in 2023 which will be repeated this year on 8th, 9th and 10th June.

“It was phenomenal last year,” said Angela, “the weather was fantastic. But the tide was out, which was a bit of a disaster!”

This year, however, the tide will be high (2pm on the Saturday) so with the help of Adventure Carrick, attendees can try their hand at paddleboarding and sea kayaking as well as learning all about ‘Blue Health’ i.e. the benefits to both physical and mental health from being near, in, or on the water.

Other highlights will include beach yoga, and a craft event (hosted by Wylde Thistle). Plus, all being well, the new Ayrshire Snorkel Trail will be launched at the festival. There will also be representatives from Girvan RNLI, National Trust for Scotland, and Galloway and Southern Ayrshire Biosphere. The Saturday evening will feature a dance and bar with live entertainment from local band, Earthbound.

On Friday 7th June, the day before the festival begins, the whole of Maidens Primary School will be litter picking on the beach, although, this is apparently a regular occurrence.

“The second Saturday of every month we do litter picking,” Angela told me, clearly very proud of the efforts of those involved.

Key speakers at this year’s event include the world renowned Scottish underwater photographer, Doug Allan, who spoke at the festival in both 2022 and 2023.

“The kids were blown away by him!” confirmed Angela, who is obviously delighted to have Doug involved once more.

Nick Ray, feral sea kayaker, mental health and suicide awareness advocate, and creator of Life Afloat, will also be speaking.

In addition, there will be ‘Sea, Tea & Me’, a yoga and cold water experience for which it will be necessary to book a place.

“This is for a maximum of 32 in the teepee tent,” Angela informed me. “You do your swim, then come in and have tea in the zone area. There will be a sound bath and a yoga class. It’s quite meditational.”

Naturally, water safety is on the agenda too, along with the on-going topic of sustainability.

“We want to do virtually the same as last year,” Angela said, “but for people to go away with a sustainability message. That ethos needs to be a bit stronger… it’s not just a gathering of the community.”

At the mention of community, Angela confirmed that the committee for Maidens World Ocean Day sits under the umbrella of Maidens Community Association which was formed in 2019. Funding for the event is largely thanks to North Carrick Community Benefits Company but applications have also been made to the National Lottery Community Fund and Destination South Ayrshire.

From what Angela told me, it promises to be enjoyable, educational and inspirational, and there’s still plenty of events yet to be confirmed. Details will soon be announced so keep an eye on the website (www.northcarrick.com/maidens-world-ocean-day). In the meantime, make sure it’s in your diary!