Stockbridge Duck Race, Edinburgh

Two duck races in two different parts of the UK in two years is normal right? Well Sunday saw me get to watch my second one, the annual duck race in my now home here in Stockbridge a suburb of Edinburgh. I first heard about it last year but at the time I wasn't living here on a permanent basis and wasn't here the weekend that it took place so this was my first chance to see it. I mentioned I'd done two duck races in two years didn't I, well coincidentally my home village of Loose near Maidstone in Kent also has an annual duck race and despite knowing about that one pretty much my whole life last year was the first time I'd ever seen it take place. I wrote a post about that one too if you're interested.

There were similarities and differences between the two races but the main similarities were that the aim of both is to raise money for charity (you buy ducks to race), for everyone to have some fun in the process and, of course, the races involve rubber ducks and not actual ducks (just in case you were wondering)! The Stockbridge affair is a little different in that unlike the Loose version there is only one race. At the Loose event there are a number of heats and all the winners go into a final race. However the location here in Stockbridge, being right besides a busy road and with so many people wanting to watch their ducks race, probably doesn't lend itself well to having lots of races. Plus the Water of Leith (where the duck race here takes place) is a lot faster flowing than Loose stream and it's wider so it's far easier to have a lot of ducks all 'racing' together.

Racing ducks!

At the Loose version, when I visited, they had a number of craft stalls and fun activities for all the family in the adjacent field so I wondered if Stockbridge's version was similar, especially with the Sunday market close by. Maybe I missed that part of it but as far as I could tell here it centres just on the race. Again though I guess there just isn't the space in the vicinity. I also wasn't sure if you could buy ducks on the day, I'd seen posters in local shops advertising ducks for sale beforehand but hadn't given a lot of thought to actually buying one. It seems you need to buy your ducks in advance though, something to note if I happen to be around for another one.

Having not seen this one before I have to admit to being amazed by how many people had come down to watch, it certainly does seem to be one of the highlights of the local area. As a consequence of not realising how popular it would be and there only being one race I couldn't get anywhere near the starting point but managed to get a nice spot along route to see them 'swim' past. Another lesson there if you're going next year, get there early to bag a good spot to watch! It was all over pretty quick but was fun and a bit different from the usual Sunday afternoon. If you're in Edinburgh at the start of July make the trip to Stockbridge (regardless though you should do as it's a lovely part of the city) and check it out for yourself.