Argyll and Bute get set to welcome the Tall Ships this summer

The excitement is rising in Argyll and Bute with less than a week to go until The Tall Ships Races 2011 - Cruise in Company. Guest harbours in the area - Campbeltown, Islay and Oban - have all prepared a fantastic events programme to celebrate the arrival of the ships as they make their way from Greenock to Lerwick.

SwanThe Tall Ships Races, presented by Szczecin, organised by Sail Training International, takes place in European waters every year, where the Ships’ either race or cruise in company between ports. This sociable cruise in company voyage between Greenock and Lerwick will see 49 Tall Ships sailing at their leisure along Scotland’s west coast stopping off at participating guest harbours en-route. In addition to Campbeltown, Islay and Oban, the guest harbours on this leg also include Ullapool, Stornoway, Stromness, Kirkwall, Fair Isle, Scalloway, Whalsay, Cullivoe and Unst.

Argyll and Bute Councillor Neil Mackay, spokesperson for Enterprise, Energy, Culture and Tourism, said: “Campbeltown, Islay and Oban are the first ports of call for the vessels as they set sail from Greenock. With their cracking line up of entertainment they are sure to get the Cruise in Company off to a flying start.

“Campbeltown will be kicking off celebrations with a pipe band street performance on the 12 July by the British champions, the Kintyre Schools Pipe Band. The whole family will be entertained with the ‘Made in Campbeltown’ Sea Exhibition, fast boat tours, surf lessons, tug of wars distillery tours and live music. The festivities continue through to the 16 July where the fun-filled RNLI gala day and raft race will mark the end of Campbeltown’s event.

“A trip to Islay will see crew and visitors take part in one of the island’s popular ceilidhs which will be held in the Ramsay Hall on 13 July. Crews will also be treated to guided tours and distillery visits.

“The Tall Ships visit to Oban will, of course, coincide with the Burgh’s 200th birthday. The double celebration will kick off on 12 July with a Grand Parade featuring pipe bands, musicians and much more.  Oban is very pleased to have HRH The Princess Royal visit the town for the Bicentenary Celebrations. The programme continues with open top bus tours, mini highland games, Argyll Showcase Marquee, a Family Big Picnic and an attempt at the World Record Strip the Willow.  The Festival will also feature the internationally acclaimed band Capercaillie headlining a host of fantastic entertainment in various venues over the Festival period, drawing to a close on Sunday 17 July when lanterns will be lit at midnight and sent to drift off above the Tall Ships over Oban Bay.”

The Cruise in Company leg is a great opportunity for Argyll and Bute and some of Scotland’s smaller ports to get involved in this world-renowned event and join in the celebrations.

The Tall Ships Races 2011 – Cruise in Company Events Programme is available in local businesses, libraries and tourist information centers, free of charge. Make sure you don’t miss out on the action by picking up a copy and heading for the Cruise in Company ports.

 For more information please visit the Cruise in Company pages.