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Nithraid is Back!

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This Saturday, September 9th will be our fifth staging of Nithraid, a fun family event that takes place on and around the river. The daring sailing race, starting from the Solway Firth and sailing right up to the River Nith in the centre of Dumfries, is made possible by one of the highest tides of the year.

While waiting for the boats to arrive, join us along the Mill Green, opposite the Whitesands from 12noon for food, music and activities for all the family!

This year, our Project Manager for Nithraid is Stove Curatorial Team Member, Sal Cuddihy. She has been working hard with the rest of the Stove team to put together a very exciting Nithraid this year, with some great new additions to the festival; our friends the Vikings are coming to liven up the banks of the Mill Green with re-enactments and combat displays. And for the first time, we will be continuing the festivities into the evening with some live entertainment in a relaxed atmosphere.

Visitors to Nithraid are invited to join us in a full day of activities. Kicking off the day, the Salty Coo procession will leave from Fountain Square on Dumfries High Street, arriving at the Mill Green at approximately 12.30pm.

This year, Nithraid has a Viking theme, with Longfada Viking Group staging a re-enactment which interprets the lives of people living by the river around 1000 years ago. They will be putting on a Viking Combat display at 1pm, at the Mill Green. Wordsmithcrafts, another Viking themed group, will be working with other local groups from the area, and encouraging ‘have a go’ activities for all the family.

Throughout the day, there will also be art activities and demonstrations for all ages, acoustic music on a hand built stage by emerging artists Blueprint100, food provided by Craig Paterson of Catering Plus, and the dunking of the legendary Salty Coo at 4.45pm, where the winning skipper has the honour of lowering the Coo and releasing her into the river.

Then at 7pm, members of the public are invited back to the Mill Green for ‘Nithraid Night Time’ – live music and spoken word performances, visuals, storytelling, food and campfires!

This year, Nithraid is kindly sponsored by the People’s Project. The People’s Project is a non-profit organisation which was set up in 2008 by Mark Jardine to rekindle the meaning of community in Dumfries and Galloway. The project aims to encourage acts of kindness across the region of Dumfries and Galloway through numerous projects and events. Nithraid has also been generously supported by Holywood Trust, Barfil Trust and many local businesses.

For more information, including how to take part, please visit

News Project Updates

The Nithraid

From now till September, The Stove will be inviting people to contribute to an event that celebrates the River Nith’s importance – both historically and today. From its role as a trade route delivering economic lifeblood to Dumfries, to its significance as a conservation area, and to individuals and groups who find peace, tranquility and joy from its banks and passing moments.

Forming part of the Environmental Arts Festival Scotland, The Nithraid will culminate in a daring dinghy race from Carsethorn to the very centre of Dumfries on Saturday 21st September. As the equinox pushes the tide to its annual peak, intrepid sailors will tackle the river head-on, surfing (maybe literally) the incoming tide to reach the finishing line at the Caul in Dumfries, where the salt water and fresh water meet.

When the boats arrive in the town, they will be greeted by a sculptured cow cast in salt and The Stove’s huge fabric banners floating downstream from the Old Bridge, welcoming them to Dumfries with messages from the townspeople. We would like your help writing those messages.

We’ll be decorating banners at community events in August and September and will turn to our social media channels for inspiration too. As we gather words and phrases, we’ll start to build a wall of words. Then our bicycle-powered poetry machine will mix them up and stick them together to form messages for our banners.

The Stove’s community fun day takes place in Lochside on Sunday 18th August and we hope to do a similar event in Dumfries town centre on Tuesday 10th September. The social media initiative will kick off in August. Keep your eyes peeled for #NithRaid on Twitter and Facebook.

Our River Nith; the passenger, the deliverer and the exporter. With untold tales from its length and breadth, and its historical depths. From its rise in the East Ayrshire hills to Ards point, 15 miles south of Dumfries, where it meets the Solway Firth and greets the wider world – connecting the town locally, nationally and globally.

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