Duck Race - Oban Rotary Club

The Rotary Club of Oban
The Rotary Club of Oban
The Rotary Club of Oban
The Rotary Club of Oban
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Super Duck Cheque Lands at Lorne Resource Centre

A race within a race, the Super Duck Competition, took place on a glorious Saturday in August as part of the Oban Rotary Club’s annual Charity Duck Race.
The Super Ducks are sponsored by local businesses and the first duck to the bay earns the winning business the opportunity to present a donation of £250 from the Rotary Club to a charity of their choice.
This year’s lucky duck was sponsored by Roddy’s Garage who selected the Lorne Resource Centre to be the recipient of the donation. Roddy’s decided to donate an additional £250 to the organisation and on October 4th Mark Cain, Office Manager at Roddy’s Garage and Ciorsti Baxter, President of Rotary Club of Oban went along to the Lorne Resource Centre to meet with the team and some of the people they support and to present a cheque for £500.

Ciorsti said, “We are so thankful that the Duck Race is so well supported by local businesses and the community. It’s one of our biggest fund raisers and all the money goes back into the Community. The Super Duck Race was a recent innovation that give us another opportunity to engage with local businesses. It really is win – win – win for the business, the charity, and the Club."

Pictured with Lorne Resource Centre staff and some the people they support are (3rd from left) Mark Cain, Roddy’s Garage and (6th from left) Ciorsti Baxter, President of the Rotary Club of Oban.

The Rotary Club meets at the Royal Hotel, Argyll Square at 12.45pm for 1.00pm lunch most Tuesdays. If you are passionate about our community and would like to learn more about how you can make a positive contribution and get involved Rotary Club of Oban please visit our website (, our FaceBook page(@TheRotaryClubofOban) or email us at

Please note that the wearing of duck suits in August is not mandatory, yet.

As Oban basked in glorious sunshine on Saturday 13th August, hundreds of brightly coloured ducks took the plunge into the waters of the Black Lynn to cool off for the Rotary Club of Oban Duck Race 2022.

After the massed start the red, blue, green and yellow ducks of the Open race, together with the Super Ducks, sponsored by local businesses, made their dash for glory to be the first to reach Oban Bay. The flock was ushered along by three Big Bird impersonators (Rotatarians in duck costumes) who kept the the plucky little ducks traversing the rocky course. An enthusiastic crowd of all ages cheered the ducks on and adding to the flap this year was the Oban FM team bringing the tunes and the commentary at Station Square.

At the finish the ducks had to brave the rapids at the mouth of the Bay and drop down the chute to be rescued by a team of agile kayaker from Sea Kayaks Oban and the Oban Mountain Rescue. The team from Oban Coast Guard stood by to keep everyone safe but fortunately they didn't need to fly into action.  

The winning Super Duck, and first duck overall by quite a margin, was number 48 sponsored by McCallum Roofing. They will be able to award £250 to their chosen local charity. The winner of the multi-coloured open duck race was Blue 57 earning Jacobi White, Julie McFarlane Barrow, Fiona McInnes and Ian McCraken first prize of £60 in Love Oban Vouchers. Second was Blue 89 securing £25 in Love Oban Vouchers for Logan Blennie, Bill Moore, Robert Thomson and Francis Devlin. Breaking up a Blue clean sweep was Yellow 44 coming in third and handing £15 in Love Oban Vouchers to John Barbour, Sarah McGill, Dawn Aveard and Christine Hill. Big thank you to BID4Oban who co-sponsored the prize fund and helped promoted this years event.
The Duck Race raised over £5,600 this year that will be used to support local charities and charitable initiatives. Lachie Beaton, Rotary Club of Oban President, who presided over the 3pm duck drop said of this years race, "After last year’s raging torrent we were a bit worried there wouldn't be enough water in the Lynn after the run of dry hot days. It was perfect and the race went off swimmingly. We are incredibly grateful to the community for coming out and supporting the event and helping us raise money to support charities in town. A huge thank you to all Super Duck sponsors, our community partners and our volunteers for helping make this year's Duck Race a big success."
The Rotary Club of Oban would like to thank Super Duck sponsors; Jacksons Butcher, PDK Shellfish, Sea Kayak Oban, Bid4Oban, Ee-Usk, Walton Electrical, MacIntyres of Oban, The Sports Shop Oban, The Manor House Hotel, The Jetty Gallery, Oban Whisky & Fine Wines, Go Naked Veg, T Barbour Ltd, Morham & Brotchie, McCallum Roofing, Caley Fisheries, Argyll Aesthetics, MacQueen Brothers, Caroline Whalley, E Thornton & Co Solicitors, Trinity Hairdressers, Etonella Christlieb, The Oban Times, Oban Port Users, Cuan Mor, Highland Clarity, Cluckie & Paterson Insurance Brokers, The Oban Inn, Iona Shop, MKM Building Supplies, Andy Newiss & Co Ltd, Mathesons Furnishings, Drummore Road Building Services, Rutherfords Hairdressers, Perle Hotel Oban, Chalmers of Oban, The Kilchrenan Inn & The Oban Fish & Chip Shop.
The Duck Race couldn't go ahead without a lot of support. The Club would like to extend huge thanks to; Tesco's, BID4Oban, ObanFM, Oban Mountain Rescue, Sea Kayak Oban and the Oban Coast Guard team.
Although subject to a horrendous rain storm, which lasted for about 30 minutes and saw everyone scurrying for shelter prior to the start of Oban Rotary's Annual Duck Race, the race began on time at 3pm on Saturday 7th August, with a large crowd coming from cover to watch the launch of the ducks.

The rain was helpful in that it allowed the ducks to proceed largely on their own steam down the Black Lynn to emerge in to Oban Bay via the tunnel which lies just below Oban's Taxi Rank. In addition to the threat of postponement due to the adverse weather, the two kayakers who would be responsible for retrieving the ducks from Oban Bay were called away just before the race for a mountain rescue emergency which left Rotarians having to improvise and, with assistance from Oban's local Coastguard, the ducks were duly retrieved and the winners identified.

The retrieval saw three Rotarians resorting to swimming in the bay to retrieve some ducks much to the amusement and pleasure of the watching audience which stretched along the sea wall from the Taxi Rank to the North Pier. Who says Rotary is for the elderly?

Oban Rotary are also obliged to a local boat ATLANTIA , operating  from the North Pier, who, when approached for assistance, more than happily obliged by turning the boat around to ingather ducks who had gone further afield. In the event no ducks were lost.

The annual Oban Rotary Duck Race is a fun event enjoyed by locals and visitors alike but the underlying purpose is to raise funds for local good causes with around £5,000 net of prizes being raised this year, the best to date. Oban Rotary are, as always, amazed at the generosity of people with all 1500 ducks being sold this year well before the start of the race. In addition, a new feature this year was the introduction of "Super Ducks" of which their were 50 and all were sponsored at £50 a duck by locals raising £2,500 on their own.

The winners of the green, blue, red and green ducks of which there were three in each colour winning £50, £25 and £15 respectively were Green 91, Red 10 and Blue 34. The winner of the Super Duck Race was No 23  which was sponsored by Oban Quality Laundry and Dry Cleaners who will be given £250 payable to a local good cause/charity of their choice. The transfer of these funds will be recorded at a later date.

Oban Rotary's Annual Duck Race took place on Saturday, 20th July, 2019 and the event was blest with good weather and a strong flow of water in the Black Lynn.

A large crowd, comprising locals and visitors alike, watched the launch at Combie Street bridge moving thereafter to the waterfront to see the ducks emerge in to the sea from the Black Lynn tunnel. The winners included one first, two seconds and three thirds each winner receiving £50, £25 and £15 respectively. The ducks are sold three times, hence the multiple winners.

Club members are to be commended for their efforts at selling ducks over four days plus marshalling duties on the day. A number of retail units also endeavoured to sell ducks and their support was much appreciated.
In excess of £2,000 was raised for local good causes.
Unlike last year, when the weather on the day had rain beyond belief, this years Oban Rotary Duck Race took place in benign conditions with very little water or flow in the Black Lynn. Indeed, the ducks had to be "encouraged", by three brave Rotarians who took up residence in the burn, to reach their destination in Oban bay. The slowness of the ducks, however, made it more of a spectacle, in that the large number of onlookers, especially the children, were able to appreciate the procession in what was a rather sedate form! The event was, as usual, a great success with over £2,000 being raised for local good causes and Oban Rotary is grateful to the continuing generosity of locals and indeed the many visitors who bought ducks.

Fund raising aside, Oban Rotary see the Annual Duck Race as a fun event which provides entertainment for both locals and visitors during the summer season. The event involves dropping 500 ducks in four colours - blue, green, red and yellow - in to the Black Lynn at the Combie Street bridge with the first three to appear in Oban Bay the winners. The winners were Yellow Duck 2 ( two winners who each received £50), Blue Duck 110( 1 winner getting £25) and Green Duck 74 ( 3 winners who each received £15).

Our picture shows Oban Rotary President Iain Mac Intyre launching the ducks and feathers(!) in to the Black Lynn to be received by their guardians, Rotarians Chris Sutton, Tommy MacQuade and Roger Parry. We are reliably informed that all 500 ducks were safely retrieved from Oban bay by Chris Sutton using a rowing boat which was a spectacle in itself.

As part of its fund raising activities for good causes the Rotary Club of Oban resurrected
"The Oban Duck Race" and despite atrocious weather the race took place on Saturday 15th July 2017.

This involved putting 500 plastic ducks in to the Black Lynn at Combie Street bridge to emerge in Oban Bay from the tunnel across from the Lochnell slipway. The ducks are then ingathered by canoists. The ducks are coloured red, green, blue and yellow each colour numbered 1 to 125 and, with the ducks being sold three times at £2 a Duck, there would be three firsts, three seconds etc provided all the ducks are sold. In the event, saturdays Race had two firsts, three seconds and one third each winner receiving £50, £25 and £15 respectively.

£1,773 less prize money of £190 was raised for good causes which was regarded as a superb effort given that very few ducks were sold on Saturday due to the dreadful weather. Of course, the incessant rain also affected the turnout of the public who regard this as a fun event particularly for children.

Race organiser Rotarian Iain Mac Intyre said that, despite the poor weather conditions, the intention would be to make this an annual event from now on.
© The Rotary Club of Oban. All rights reserved.
Officers 2023 - 2024
President -
Senior Vice -
Junior Vice -
Ciorstan Baxter
Peter Tosh
Steven Lowe
Secretary -
Treasurer -
Kenneth Moncrieff
Roger Parry
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