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Kids in the Highlands help NessBookFest set new reading record – and some in Cromarty even read on the beach


By Ali Morrison

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Children read on the beach at Cromarty.
Children read on the beach at Cromarty.

THOUSANDS of children helped a Highland book festival blow its previous reading record out the water.

Despite coronavirus forcing the cancellation of this year’s NessBookFest organisers went ahead with their annual drive to get as many children as possible reading simultaneously.

Schools were asked to devote 20 minutes between 9.15am and 9.45am last Friday to allow children to read independently.

A spokeswoman said it had seemed a shame not to go ahead with the challenge even if the festival had to be called off, and it proved well worth the effort.

“This year schools recorded a whopping 14,200 kids reading simultaneously, and the real number may well have been higher,” she said. “We have more than doubled the number of participants this year.

“We’re thrilled, even though we did a double-take when the massive spreadsheet amounted to such a round number.”

Schools from Shetland to the Borders and Aberdeenshire took part – and in Cromarty, children even read on the beach.

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