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Laide Wood Election Special - a three duck race

Spectators - Cheering on the Ducks

Posted: Friday 7 May, 2010

When the committee first floated the idea of a duck race people said we were quackers, but the first running of the Laide Wood ‘Duck Down’ Trophy was a great success. A float of 52 numbered swimmers took part, and despite the very damp going, most seemed to cope well with the rather rough conditions. Laying out a suitable circular lake course was problematic and training any of the ducks to swim upstream proved even more challenging, so it was decided an 80 metre downstream course under the bridge would be best. The course was carefully marked out (i.e. Kevin the official starter found a place to stand without getting his feet wet).

The ducks were carefully rounded into the starting bucket and precisely on time at 15:17 the stewards ordered ‘Decant the Ducks’ and they were off!

Soon the yellow tide was forging its way downstream, although some competitors preferred to rest awhile in Eddies (snack bar), or even get out onto the stones for a rest. A small whirlpool just before the bridge proved captivating  for many competitors and it was not until it was completely full of a bobbing mass of yellow that some of the slower ducks managed to bounce off the others and make their way downstream and off towards the finish. Under the bridge the field had thinned out considerably and the no. 23 duck seemed certain to triumph. Beak careful! shouted the crowd but too late-it had grounded on the very last shallows and the pursuing pack overtook and made a mad dash for the line. Neck and crop they raced with first one then the other ahead. Number 53 seemed to get it on the bob, but the judge called for a photograph (believed to be of Helen Mirren). The result was announced to loud cheers-no 53 had won by a short beak from 17, with 6 a long riffle away in third.
Sadly, many ducks were pulled up or failed to finish, and several more sank and had to be destroyed; still, they did taste fine.....


  1. Tony Carpenter
  2. Vi Davis
  3. Betty Clements

More photos of the 2010 Duck Race can be found in our gallery section.

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