FRAMED Kelso Raft Race
FRAMED Kelso Raft Race

The year was 1986 and it was second time lucky for the eighth Great Tweed Raft Race.

A swollen River Tweed had forced its cancellation in May, but it eventually took place on a seven-mile course from Kelso to Carham on the last Sunday in June.

This time the river was running low and on hand to get event under way was Coronation Street star Mavis Riley – alias actress Thelma Barlow. She helped judge the fancy dress rafts and first prize went to Longridge Towers school with the Rooks of Longridge. Trumpton Fire Brigade and Postman Pat Rides again took second and third place.

The first raft to complete the course was a private entry, Omega 11, skippered by David McInnes in a time of 1hr 18min – a time that was decreed to be fast considering the conditions.

Around 60 rafts competed, but three capsized at Banff Mills, including one which broke up and simply fell to bits. Fortunately, there were no injuries.

The event was the brainchild of Round Tables in the Borders and in 1986 the first Table raft home was the Marchesi Mine Sweeper, entered by Kelso Tablers.

– compiled by Bob Burgess