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Tide & Time: Dunbar’s Festival of the Sea

TideTime logo NewsOur Thanks to You! This could be one of the longest thank you notes ever written, but then it was a monster event! We hope that our visitors had a fabulous time at our first-ever Maritime Festival of the Year!

I write on behalf of the Dunbar Harbour Trust, who would like to thank each and everyone of you who contributed, participated, volunteered your services, or joined us for information, education, entertainment, food and fun at our events.

ThankYou1Before any event we all know that there is much to be done. Apply for permissions, build information on websites, develop programmes, contact people and much, much more! A special thanks to Andre Coner and Kenny Maule for their tireless efforts to manage copious web updates and help to produce a programme packed with history, information about our fishing community, and the leisure activities available at our beautiful Harbours. Thanks also to Astrid Jaekal for her fabulous logo and poster. Much used, much appreciated, and much loved!

And so the fun began with our sponsored walk across part of The Herring Trail, where Fisherwives had ventured before, carrying heavy loads of Herring from Dunbar to Lauder to sell at the markets. We, unlike them, were blessed with sturdy footwear and a bus to take us on our way!

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With thanks to Eves Coaches for their excellent service, Andre Coner, Co-organiser & Lead Walker, Mike Till, Lead Walker, Declan Till, First Aid and our lovely, happy walkers, Jenny McLaren, Claire Dawson, Steve Dawson, Charlie Dawson, Sheila Simm, and Lesley Palmieri. 13K over beautiful countryside with fabulous folk!

“Thank you to the organisers for such an amazing, fun day. I really enjoyed it.” Sheila Simm

Showing at Dunbar Townhouse, Museum & Gallery ‘A Celebration of Dunbar’s Fishing

ThankYou6With thanks to James Bisset and Iain Combe for their personal collection of photographs, and for gathering others, and to Pauline Smeed and Gordon Easingwood, Dunbar & District History Society, for their help to identify the unknown! And thank you to those who helped to identify even more!

“Lovely to see photos of my great grandfather – Robert Liston – and his boat, The Pearl, when he was a fisherman here.” Gerard Liston

Also at Dunbar Townhouse, Museum & Gallery, our spectacular Art & Photography Competition.

A massive thank you to the preparators Jo McNamara, Liz Wilcox, and Carol, Fray & Shona from Coast Gallery. The exhibition would not have been possible without their guidance, expertise and patience!

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Stunning photographs were submitted by: Mike Byers (1st Prize), Dorothy McDonald, and Arthur Stewart.

Amazing paintings, on multiple media, were submitted by: Mike Till (1st Prize), Ruth Asher (2nd Prize), Gail Wallace (3rd Prize), Vicky Allen, Iona Molleson, Jenny Lupton, Fiona McMiken, Donald Busby, and Caroline Wolfe Murray.

Thank you to our three judges, Carol Kelly, Alasdair Swan and Ian Patterson, who had a tough task as all submissions were superb!

We would also like to thank Myra Johnstone for assisting with entrant communications, Robin Hamilton, John Band, and Iona Molleson for invigilating the exhibition and competition, and Jo Moulin & her team at the Townhouse for their support and assistance to ensure all went smoothly.

With 21 competition entries and 6 paintings sold, and many visitors, we think we can call it a great success!

“I loved being part of my very 1st art exhibition – to say I was excited about the event would be an understatement. Just delighted to have been part of it.” Fiona McMiken

On to our Presentations and Talks! Three presentations were delivered at Dunbar Townhouse, Museum & Gallery over three evenings (oddly enough).

ThankYou10Meet our New Harbourmaster with Fiona Kibby with some tales about dodgy happenings with triple vodka’s, A Fisherman’s Life, with Barry Brunton, telling us about his grandfather’s capture in World War II, to the build of his perfect new boat – The Lynsey B, and Fun at the Harbour with Yvonne Wemyss, with everything from boats and boards, to reels and re-enactments.

57 people attended our presentations, with everyone saying they were thoroughly enjoyable, interesting, and informative. ThankYou11

With thanks to all presenters, Sheila Simm (Townhouse Staff), and Alasdair Swan, Chairperson of the Dunbar Harbour Trust for introductions and keeping our super-charged bunny under control!


ThankYou12On the Thursday evening a popular Lighting of the Beacon took place to celebrate the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee. Thanks to Dunbar Community Council, Dunbar Rotary and the Dunbar Harbour Trust for organising, David Dunbar & Kenny Maule for lighting the ever-important beacon, and Ellen Spinner for assisting as an additional steward.

And so to the huge Harbour Event….

Where to start! In no particular order as everyone involved played an equal part in making this a splendid affair for all to enjoy… Visitors described the event as fun, relaxing and charming – The perfect outcome!

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Many thanks to Fraser Stewart & Kenny Maule for photography.

ThankYou16Richard Yarrow School of Cookery had an excited audience, eager for Richard’s lessons on how to cook lobster, langoustine and crab – live and big ‘uns they were! With thanks to Belhaven Lobster & East Coast Langoustines for the fabulous fresh fish, Chris Percy Davies and Trystan O’Brien ThankYou17for essential equipment, and, of course, to Richard Yarrow for tantalising recipes and his expert cooking skills.

Fresh lobster, crab, and langoustines can be bought at the Harbour. Why not buy and try yourself!

ThankYou18The Coracle Society provided excellent demonstrations on how to build (and sail) a Coracle. Many thanks to the Dunbar Community Woodland Group who supplied the ash from a tree in their wood, Dunbar Craft Centre & Community Shed who helped process it, to Tyninghame Sawmill, who came to the rescue to cut the 72 ash lathes just in time for the event, and to Dave and team Coracle Society for the demonstrations and build. All coordinated by the wonderful Kenny Maule.

ThankYou19“Your weekend was the first time I have been back to the Borders (I think he means north of England…) for several years now, I do hope that you can keep your Festival going, and that you will invite us back again?

Many thanks to you and all your colleagues for making us feel so welcome, we all had a most enjoyable time with you, I do hope that our paths will cross again.

ThankYou20From my conversations with Bob, Hamish and David I would guess that there is a strong possibility that a Coracle club and/or Green woodworkers club for Dunbar would be very viable, I am sure that your youths in town would love that, if you think that I can help you in any way with a project like that please do not hesitate to contact me, I would be very pleased to be involved.” Dave, The Coracle Society.

ThankYou21Visiting Boats - Thanks go to Andy Wishart, Paul Ingram, Mike Kazuba and the Dunbar Coastal Rowing Club for the super display of unique and quaint boats, both well-known and visiting. A delightful sight for all to see, the Kittiwake was rather special! Thanks also to Alan Stewart, BlueWild Nature Tours for joining our event and organising a week full of boat trips with the special history theme to mark the event.

Many thanks to our mystical and magical musicians, Shianfolk, Dowally, Johnston & Gordon, and The Mighty Joes, who entertained all over the weekend, with everyone enjoying the wonderful music and relaxed ambience . All so clearly heard across the Harbour that two visitors were joining in the ‘Banana Song’ with their dog, who guess what, loves bananas, and the owners just happened to have a couple to hand. Hilarious to watch!

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An enormous thanks to Phil Cockburn for his help to acquire the superb musicians and to Liam Morrison, Elmo’s Music Stuff for his professional touch as the sound engineer. Happy musicians they all were.

ThankYou26Tyne & Esk Writers, led by the lovely Alison Low, delighted an audience with poetry and prose in the Battery on a sunny Sunday afternoon. The group were so excited as it was their first performance for several years (that Covid thing). Thank you, Alison, for bringing the Tyne & Esk Writers to our event, and for your volunteer contribution on the Saturday.

Educational stalls, Fresh Langoustines, the RNLI and Coast to Coast.

ThankYou27Marine Conservation Society UK, the Seabird Centre, North Berwick, British Divers Marine Life Rescue, Neil McIntosh, the RNLI and Coast to Coast all added to the day, with fresh fish, interesting tales of the sea, promotional content to encourage new members, but most importantly advising on sustainability, safety, and survival! We are grateful to you all for your enormous and important contribution.

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ThankYou33Gordon Easingwood, Dunbar & District History Society, long-term fisher and local resident expertly delivered informative History Tours. Thank you, Gordon, for your time, knowledge and expertise.


ThankYou34Semaphore Flags, a Face Hole Board for those selfies, Guess the Number, Name that Fish, and Can you Find activities were enjoyed by children and adults alike. Around 160 competition entries were made, fantastic engagement in fun activities. Thanks go to Eric Robertson and C&G Developments for provision of boards & struts, and to Mike Till for endless hours of painting! Thanks also go to the Dunbar Sea Cadets for their educational and truly valuable contribution to the Semaphore Flag activity, to JaneRDesign, who made the brilliant flags, and to Dunbar Primary Schools for their magnificent Murals.

ThankYou36A huge thanks to James Bisset for organising the Touch and Feel tank, which contained a wonderful array of live fish and anemones. An extremely popular addition to the event!


ThankYou37Our competition Winners were Jacob Mason (Raffle), Calum Gibb (Activities) – all the way from Stirling, and Lochlan Forrester (Activities) won a hand-painted life ring and £25 East Lothian Gift vouchers, respectively. All winners in the 5-12 age group and all so excited to have won. When Jacob asked why he was so desperate to have the life ring (having used his own pocket money), he said, “because I didn’t have one” – Too cute!

“Was at Dunbar’s Festival of the Sea. Lovely day down there. Such interesting things to see – the rowing cub, the entertainment, cookery lessons, semaphore lessons, tanks with all sorts of strange creatures in them etc., etc. The kids were having a ball with the quiz. Well done to the organisers. Oh and Sammy the Seal put in an appearance.” Milly McGinty

Food & Drink – as we said in the programme, no festival is complete without gid’ bean and iasg!

Our thanks go to the Kittiwake Café (Cheryl Bisset and team) and Dunbar CooP (Sarah Purvis) for providing sustenance for our volunteers and musicians, and to SnoCream Ices, East Coast Crab Shack & Bisset’s Seafood Shack, and Belhaven Brewery for their tasty grub, ice cream and beer!

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And so to our absolutely amazing team of volunteers!

A huge amount of gratitude to our install and derig team; James Bisset, Ian Combe, Mike & Mark, Mike Till, Paul Ingram, Kenny Maule, Fiona McMiken, David Dunbar, Tim Greene, and John Band. A special thanks to David Hardie, Myreton Marquees, for his emergency support to help erect the marquee!

To our volunteers who helped with activities and other key roles, including managing the arrival and departure of a wedding party during a major festival, Pamela Maule, Tanya Jepson, Alasdair McDonald, Harry Blackley, Ellen Spinner, Alison Low, Alasdair Swan, Pippa Swan, Robin Hamilton, Marie-Claire, Mike Shaw, Mike Till, Morag Cook, Steve Dawson, and Fiona McMiken.

We thank you all enormously!

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“Thank you so much for organising such an amazing event, and for allowing me to be part of the event as both a volunteer and art exhibitor.

I loved my volunteering, really good fun working with all the guys down at the harbour, although it was ‘work’ it was so much fun. Even picking up dog poo with Tim! Fiona McMiken

Thank you also to our Harbour Staff, Fiona Kibby, Harbourmaster and Denholm Horsburgh, Deputy Harbourmaster, for providing helpful advice and general hands-on assistance wherever needed.

And finally to all others whom without we would not have had permission & licences to hold the event. The funding to do it. All the information to tell you what was happening and when. A secure and safe site. On-hand first aid, essential equipment and support to install it, promotional outlets, and the photographs on this thank you note to reflect and remember a truly wonderful event!

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With thanks to Fraser Stewart, Sound Barrier Productions, Manned Security Services, Lothian Printers, Fantasy Prints, Designwork, AG Thomson, S&P Blair & Sons, Rapid Reaction, Bordaloo (Neil & Tim), Dunbar Christmas Lights Committee, East Lothian Council (Event Management, Waste, Environmental, Planning, Licencing), SESCOT Radio, Social Media Administrators; Dunbar Online, Dunbar Chatbox, New Heart of Dunbar, Whats On East Lothian, Mark’s Whats On Lothians, East Lothian Courier (Cameron Ritchie), Jo Waddell, Dolphin Inn & DTA, for support to engage our High St. retailers, and to all of those who supported by advertising and promoting.

To our funders, Dunbar Community Council, Dunbar and East Linton Area Partnership, Dunpender Community Council and East Lothian Community Rail Partnership. To our sponsors, Bisset’s Seafood, Belhaven Lobster, East Coast Langoustines and Belhaven Brewery. For your programme adverts SESCOT Radio, Dunbar Parish Church, Dance Discovery, Bowe Sport & Leisurewear, and BlueWild.

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To end – Some personal thanks to me as the coordinator of the event and to all of you named as ‘supporters’ and ‘team.’ These comments are so much appreciated. A long-haul with much stress, worry, sleepless nights, many high and lows, and equally as many bruises and blisters, but all SO worth it for a tremendous outcome. What a fantastic festival we had!

“I just wanted to thank you and the brilliant team of volunteers who put together such an amazing weekend of activities around the harbour - absolutely brilliant. So good we came down both days!” Jo Waddell, Dolphin Inn

You did an amazing job of coordinating everything, it ran like clockwork. I was most impressed when you’d lift the boot of your car and each item in the car had a purpose, and every small detail was covered. I think you did a smashing job!!” Fiona McMiken, Participant and Volunteer

“Everyone I spoke to (and I spoke to a lot of people) really enjoyed the festival. Not everyone appreciates how much effort – physical, psychological, political and administrative – goes into managing such events. You lead from the front and should be happy and very proud of what you’ve achieved, and I thank you most sincerely for your encouragement and support.” Alasdair McDonald, Volunteer

“Dunbar Community Council would like to thank Yvonne Wemyss and her supporters for putting on such a wonderful week of events. A huge amount of volunteer time lies behind what was a spectacular success for our community, and we are so grateful to Yvonne for this. The weekend at the harbour was a highlight. We estimate that there must have been some 2,500 visitors to the harbour over the two days, all enjoying the atmosphere and loving the connections to the sea and fishing.A great many visitors were from out of town and everyone that I spoke to said that they would be back.

Thank you, Yvonne, and thank you, Dunbar Harbour Trust.” Pippa Swan, Dunbar Community Council

Our thanks and gratitude to each and every one of you for your part in making this a truly spectacular, week-long event, and the success it was!

And from me, thank you all for your ears, shoulders and outstanding support! 😊

Yvonne Wemyss, Director, and on behalf of, the Dunbar Harbour Trust

PS My last note! Many have asked if this event will now take place every year.

The answer is it could be if people are willing to step forward! For this to happen again, it needs a dedicated, committed and reliable committee. I will happily share my experiences, contacts, applications, and notes, with anyone who wishes to make this an annual event for Dunbar.

The community, and beyond, are calling for it!

Alternatively, some elements of the festival could be considered as part of the marvellous annual events that already take place, such as the RNLI Fete, Dunbar Civic Week, and Sparkling Dunbar Harbour Festival to name but a few.


#Friends of Dunbar Battery



#Love East Lothian

“Events in our Community, For our Community!”