The Nithraid, organised by The Stove as part of the Environmental Arts Festival Scotland, was a daring boat race from Carsethorn up the Nith to the Caul, culminating in a spectacular and symbolic finish in the heart of Dumfries.
13 sailing boats took part in a race from Carsethorn, up the River Nith to the Caul on the Whitesands in Dumfries. This race was only possible because the day of the race was the highest tide of the year meaning there was enough water for the boats to race. The bridges across the Nith added another complication meaning that boats needed to lower their masts to get under the bridges.
The Stove decorated the river to welcome the boats to the town. A half lifesize salt cow was paraded through the street and positioned on a pontoon in the river and four 100 metre coloured streamers were released from the old bridge – these had words painted on them that had been gathered from local people who had answered the call for ‘3 words to describe Dumfries’.
The crew from the winning boat had the honour of dunking the salt cow in the river where it dissolved.
The Nithraid celebrated the town’s long relationship with its river – in particular the way the Nith connected Dumfries to the rest of the world through trade…livestock and salt being important examples commodities that were traded
About 2000 people watched the race along the river – with some making the trip from as far as Glasgow and Edinburgh having seen news about the race on the TV the night before. A total of more thatn 40 people helped out in making the event happen.