Stewarton Bonnets 2022

Stewarton Bonnet Parade is a three-day event that involves the Corsehill Queen and her attendants, street marches, floats and an act of remembrance. It’s a big deal in this small Ayrshire town. If you own a Glengarry bunnet check inside, there is a good chance it was made in Stewarton. Normally boring old Kilbarchan Pipe Band fill the piping slot but this year multi championship winning Kilbarchan Pipe Band rocked up and did the honours.

I missed the Friday night when we first lead the parade (it’s all on Facebook as a live stream) due to having driven back from Macduff and running out of time to get there, so I had a large Chinese meal instead. But the Saturday saw myself and James the Hat sallying forth to swell the ranks, I used a tried and tested route this time to avoid possible late fines as Mags is red hot with the fining. The vagueness of the instructions is what I love; James the Hat and I arrived at the station, there was nobody there so we drove to the other side of the station, passing Mickey Blue Eyes going in the opposite direction waving wildly and pointing to where we had come from. A protracted about turn had us arriving with seconds to spare before the Idiot Box was unleashed.

The day was warm with periods of blistering sunshine that quickly turned me into a sweating scarlet faced mess. During a period of blissful hinging aboot and eyeing up of the Stewarton Arms Pipey called Band Ready and like a well-oiled machine we were. Mickey Blue Eyes was on the Big Drum, with his harmonica and trombone left at home he looked like a Bass drummer and not a one-man band.

There is no better fun than holding up the traffic and walking on the road with your mates. We are at the front of the parade and have no idea what is going on behind us, pipers who turn round fall down, a well know adage. After another short hing aboot we lead the Queen and attendants on there horse drawn carriage back to the main square. The main meat of the day then took place and songs were sung and brass bands played, we were formed up farther up the street while the formalities were completed and where Police horses came and loomed over us, Mags got biffed by the Bass mallets (now known as the Wife Beaters) and Big G stood aside due to injury. After a small refreshment we began the long march to the Primary school, the streets were thronged and bunting fluttered and it was immense fun, the sound of the drum corps passing under the railway bridge is always a high spot and didn’t fail to impress. Pipey marched us into the school and dismissed us right beside an ice cream van. One ice cream cone later I was fully refreshed. I took the Hat for a pint as he looked dehydrated.

Sunday is a more solemn event involving a march to the war memorial and the laying of wreaths before escorting the dignitaries to the church where we form an honour guard. My pipes had become unplayable by then and some world class dummying was indulged in. With the parade safely ensconced in the kirk we retired to the Stewarton Arms to rehydrate. Now let’s draw a veil over those proceedings.

Next up is the European Championship in Inverness.

Cannae wait..

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