A wet weekend did not manage to dampen spirits at the 45th Annual Inveraray Ringing Festival. Friday night saw around 25 ringers enjoying the fantastic bells ringing Bristol, London, Cambridge and Yorkshire Royal, and Stedman, Grandsire and Cloister (otherwise known as Bastow Little Bob) Caters. Ringing, run by Ruth Marshall, was of a very high standard. There were also a number of positive comments on the improved acoustics in the ringing room. After ringing most adjourned to the George Hotel for food and beer of the usual quality although the lack of a pale ale amongst the choice of three beers did raise a few comments. 

Saturday dawned slightly later than usual as there was no morning quarter peal this year, for which many ringers (and possibly some locals!) were very grateful. The afternoon session was run by Jonathan Frye and saw the excellent standard of ringing continue. There were more ringers with a wider range of experience than on Friday so rounds and calls and plain hunt were added to the mix. The break between sessions allowed those who only meet annually to chat over tea and coffee and catch up on the years’ happenings. The evening ringing, run by Angela Deakin, was again attended by around 25 ringers and had the added pressure that the ringing was being videoed and recorded in the bell chamber so no-one wanted to be responsible for firing a touch out.

Sunday started with service ringing and more videoing, this time in the ringing chamber, so everyone was on best behaviour (and some wished they had put on their “Sunday best”). The congregation from Lochgilphead joined the ringers at the service led by Fr Simon Mackenzie. The final session on Sunday afternoon saw a smaller attendance but some fine ringing including an excellent touch of 8-spliced Major. For some it was then off to Glasgow for more service ringing.

It appeared that, despite the weather, everyone thoroughly enjoyed the weekend and many commented that it was probably the best ringing they had experienced at the festival weekend. Around the ringing everyone enjoyed all that Inveraray has to offer and some even managed time to fit in some handbells.

The festival next year will be Friday 27th – Sunday 29th July.


The Scottish Association met early this year for their Striking Competition and AGM due to the visit of the CCCBR at the end of May. So on Saturday 7th May ringers from all over Scotland converged on St Paul’s Dundee. The local ringers and members of the cathedral made sure all were very welcome. There were many notices about the programme and venues including large ones outside that informed the general public as to what was happening which was excellent to raise the profile of ringing.

Stephen Elwell-Sutton receives the Inveraray Shield for Dundee

The day started with general ringing in the morning where a number of the learners in the association got to grips with a new set of bells that required a firm hand to get good striking. For the more experienced ringers Stedman Triples and Bristol Major were rung. It was then lunch time which afforded some the opportunity to ring handbells (the usual SACR handbell day having been usurped by the move of the AGM date).

The draw for the striking competition took place at 1:45pm and 12 teams from 8 different towers were entered. The competition was judged by Tony Crabtree and ringing took place on the front 6. The afternoon progressed with those who had completed or were still waiting to ring able to enjoy the lovely warm May sunshine. All teams made it to the end of their test piece successfully with the armchair judges discussing the likely contenders for the Inveraray Trophy (best performing band) and the St Andrew’s Shield (best performing inexperienced band).

Thomas receives the St Andrews shield for Glasgow

After the competition ringing there was a service of Evening Prayer led by The Very Revd Jeremy Auld. He gave a very encouraging address about his days as a carilloneur and comparing this solitary pastime to the socialness of change ringing, invoking Charles Dickens in his support. He spoke about how the bells call all into the church and how he would love to have more ringers so that they could be rung every Sunday.

All then retired to the Cathedral rooms for tea after which Tony gave the results of the Striking Competition. He gave very thoughtful and encouraging comments to each team, saying what they had done well and where they needed to focus effort to further improve. The all important scores (given as faults) were announced in reverse order. The top four teams were very close with only 5 faults separating them but Dundee A were declared the winners of the Inveraray Trophy with a 2 fault margin. The winners of the St Andrew’s Shield were Glasgow A with a little more clear water of 4 faults.

Position Team Method ¼ peal time Faults
1 Dundee A Cambridge Minor 42½ mins 9
2 Glasgow B London Minor 42½ mins 11
3 St Andrew’s and St George’s West, Edinburgh Grandsire Doubles 42½ mins 12
4 Dunblane Cambridge Minor 42¾ mins 14
5 Neil’s Happy Clappers, St Mary’s, Edinburgh Plain Bob Minor 42½ mins 31½ 
6 Glasgow A* Call changes 43½ mins 34
7 Dundee B* Call changes 46 mins 38
8 Aberdeen Plain Bob Minor 42¾ mins 45
9 Wilma’s Wanderers, St Mary’s, Edinburgh* Call changes 46 mins 47
10 Haddington* Call changes 44½ mins 51
11 St Andrews* Call changes 41 mins 52
12 Di’s Dodgers, St Mary’s, Edinburgh* Call changes 43½ mins 68

*eligible for St Andrew’s Shield

There was then the AGM at which the CRAG report was discussed and the meeting voiced its support for. The day closed with more ringing on the fine St Paul’s 8 ranging from call changes to 8 spliced. However the bells had the last say as on the catch at the end of the lower the treble rope broke taking all, but especially the treble ringer, by surprise!