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PICTURES: Storming Nairn, hundreds of people turn out to see giant sea goddess on the Links


By Louise Glen

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Storm the Giant visits Nairn 12 September 2021: Storm the giant.Picture: James Mackenzie.
Storm the Giant visits Nairn 12 September 2021: Storm the giant.Picture: James Mackenzie.

Hundreds of people turned out to enjoy the visit of a 10-foot tall sea goddess to Nairn.

Storm, a giant puppet created by Edinburgh-based Vision Mechanics, strode forth along the Links as part of the Nairn Book and Arts Festival.

The lofty lady “lives in the waters around Scotland and has a voice like the chorus of the waves”, according to her creators.

Festival chairman Alex Williamson said: “What a phenomenal day for Nairn.

We always knew Storm would be a big hit – but the support we saw was nothing short of incredible.

“She’s clearly captured everyone’s imagination.

“And hopefully she will inspire people to think a little differently about how best to look after and care for the environment.

Storm the Giant visits Nairn 12 September 2021: Storm the giant sat down.Picture: James Mackenzie.
Storm the Giant visits Nairn 12 September 2021: Storm the giant sat down.Picture: James Mackenzie.

“A huge thank you to everyone who participated and came out to see her.”

He added: “Special thanks to Police Scotland and Highland Council for their assistance, to all our sponsors and partners in helping make this happen, to our wonderful volunteer stewards, and to the amazing team at Vision Mechanics for bringing her to this year’s Nairn Book and Arts Festival.

“I think we’ll all be talking about the day Storm came to Nairn for some time to come.”

The towering presence perhaps almost, but not quite, overshadowed the appearance of another imposing figure, as the Duchess of Rothesay also dropped in on the festival earlier in the week.

Known as a lover of literature the duchess chatted to local poetry group Women in the Highlands, sharing with them her love for former poet laureate Carol Ann Duffy.

The Duchess of Rothesay at Nairn Community Centre. Picture: Jane Barlow/PA Wire
The Duchess of Rothesay at Nairn Community Centre. Picture: Jane Barlow/PA Wire

She also spoke to non-fiction author Cal Flyn about her new book and was pleased to discover they had joint links to Stroma in Orkney.

She said: “My husband always paints Stroma – it inspires him.”

Her Royal Highness also started a round of applause when one of the members read some of her own work, entitled, 2020 – The Year That.

The duchess also took the time to speak to members of the festival committee, the local book group, staff at the Nairn Community and Arts Centre and Queen’s sculptor Sandy Stoddard.

And she was met with laughter when she was finally able to remove her face covering, exclaiming “we can all breathe again!”

Storm the Giant visits Nairn 12 September 2021: Storm the giant seen through the band stand.Picture: James Mackenzie.
Storm the Giant visits Nairn 12 September 2021: Storm the giant seen through the band stand.Picture: James Mackenzie.

Also present for the royal visit were representatives from Green Hive, a local environmental charity that works to upcycle plastics into a range of new products, helping to cut down on waste.

The charity was recently awarded the Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service, presented during the duchess’s visit by Lord Lieutenant George Asher .

The charity’s chief executive, Neil Mapes, said: “There are loads of volunteers who have dedicated hundreds of hours to what we do.

The Duchess of Rothesay during a visit to Nairn Book and Arts Festival and the environment charity Green Hive, at Nairn Community Centre. Picture: Jane Barlow/PA Wire
The Duchess of Rothesay during a visit to Nairn Book and Arts Festival and the environment charity Green Hive, at Nairn Community Centre. Picture: Jane Barlow/PA Wire

“To get someone like the Duchess of Rothesay coming to visit, thanking you for doing what you’re doing – that’s huge.

“A lot of people take volunteers for granted, but to have her physically here, in sight, have that recognition, all these things matter.”

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