An unusual annual event which attracts contestants from around the world has been saved from the axe after a regional daily stepped in.
The World Stone Skimming Championships will take place on Sunday (23 Sep) after Aberdeen’s The Press and Journal helped halt an 11th hour threat of cancellation.
The event looked set to be halted by a dispute between the landowner and the organisers until the paper stumped up an £1,000 fee to allow it to go ahead.
The event, which is in its 15th year, attracts contestants from around the world to the tiny island of Easdale in Argyll, which has a population of just 60.
Island owner Jonathan Feigeinbaum had withdrawn permission for the 15th annual event because organisers refused to pay him a fee of £1,000 and show them their insurance documents.
Event organisers the Eilean Eisdeal Trust then produced the insurance certification but were unable to stump up the fee, so the newspaper stepped in to donate the full amount.
Editor Damien Bates said: “We were absolutely determined that this fabulous competition, that attracts people from across the globe to take part, would go ahead.
“It seems a terrible shame for the people of Easdale that it might fail for the sake of £1,000, so we decided to step in and pay the bill.
“It’s just brilliant fun and everyone – young and old – has a chance of winning. I might even sharpen up my skimming skills and have a crack myself!”
Keren Cafferty, chairperson of the organising group, said: “We’re thrilled with the news and are very grateful to The Press and Journal. It’s a big relief to know we no longer have the threat of legal action hanging over us.
“This is a fantastic community-run event that really boosts the island. We have had a huge amount of enquiries about this year’s event so we think it’s going to be the biggest and best one yet.”
The £1,000 donation will be spent on projects designated by the Easdale Island Residents and Property Owners Association.
Mr Feigenbaum added: “It’s a very good thing The Press and Journal stepped in. I’m all for it and anything that helps the economy of the island.
“No organisation would allow anybody to use their property without adequate insurance. I still feel the whole thing could have been avoided. I’m glad there’s a resolution.”
The event was listed by Lonely Planet as one of the top ten things to do in the UK this summer outside the Olympics.