Furnace Gala today largely dodged the occasional afternoon showers, beginning elegantly in the French style with petanque and coffee at 9.00am.
Coffee – and more – was served by the wizard, Callum Train, who hand built his petanque pitch in the lovely woodland garden he has created for his family – and where the competitive spirit today ran high.
The now top billing of the day, the men’s baking competition, saw the winner an utterly spectacular Dennis the Menace, with even the ribbing on the collar of his famous red and black striped jumper visible. Masters baker, Mike, of the Furnace Stores, admitted that icing the cake alone took him four hours.
At the auction after the judging, young James MacInnes clearly had his eye and his cash keenly on Dennis. With great restraint shown by adult bidders, James’s first bid won the day. He was last seen staggering home in triumph under the substantial weight of the menace.
The winner’s name will, by next year, be added to the Ronnie Dodd Rolling Pin trophy, turned by the man himself. Alastair MacKellar, former Captain of the Scottish International Angling Team, was the inaugural winner last year with his unforgettable Fish Cake.
Furnace Primary School children had also baked for victory – with an astonishingly pretty and desirable selection to confound the judges. In the end, this quite beautiful box of cup cakes took the prize.
Another competition popular with young folk – and one that took nerve even to photograph, was the Garden Beasties contest. Here some awfully mobile creepies and crawlies earned their liberation – we can only hope that this was back where they came from.
No one could take their eyes off a wonderfully wide ranging collection of home grown potato species, with plants and flowers adding tranquillity and mischief .
Some entrants in this one were obviously still in training.
Entries in the photographic contest were riveting, with some commanding attention not to say respect.
Few could outstare this chap…
or resist this one…
…or not pore over the gorgeous detail in this.
After lunch in the Village Hall, the football pitch on the shores of Loch Fyne was the next gladiatorial arena. First there was the junior match where Inveraray beat Furnace 5-1. The story was – they say – that Furnace fielded a team of tinies where Inveraray’s was close to grown up. They would say that, wouldn’t they?
Then it was the crunch match – the over 30s versus the under 30s, with the latter winning by 2-1 in a game where the action was – tellingly, mostly in the over 30s goal area.
A life threatening – for spectators anyway – wheelbarrow race then led the village to the Fish Farm, hosting a barbeque and disco in a glorious L-shaped marquee with window panels offering views to the loch and to the hillside of Dun Leacainn.
This is an event held for communal entertainment rather than fundraising, with the eye-catching bottle stall, lunches and donations covering the costs of the day.
The outstanding question is how and where do you make the first hungry cut into Dennis the Menace?
Photographs by Brian Fair and For Argyll. The photographs of the raptor, the curious cow and the dragon fly were entries in the photography competition, photographed by us for display here. We do not yet have the information on the names of the photographers concerned but will add them when we do.