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.