ORGANISERS of the iconic Millport Raft Race have put out an urgent call for hardy seafarers to help raise vital funds for the island’s youth groups.

The annual event returns after a two year hiatus on August 13, and will see participants race from Kames Bay to Millport Harbour before a night-time fundraiser.

Moira Hodge, who has been organising the race for a number of years, says the tradition has become highly-anticipated event on the Millport calendar since launching in the 1980s. 

She said: “It started around 40 years ago then tailed off before it was brought back to raise funds for the Millport Playgroup, and it has run ever year since, apart from during the pandemic.

“I took over and expanded it so that the money raised benefits all the youth groups on the island.

“It is quite an event on the calendar and probably unique in Scotland, considering the water isn’t the warmest!"

Moira says the race can be a challenge, with strong tides often making it difficult to even get out of Kames Bay.

She explained: “Anyone who takes part builds their own raft leading up to the race and bring it down to the start line.

“It’s generally four people to a team, but if they want to make the raft bigger and have more people then that’s fine too.

“It can be quite hard against the tide, and we have safety boats on hand to help anyone struggling to make it out.

“We usually have around six to eight rafts taking part and we’ve had the same two winners for a number of years now, so we’re hoping to attract some competition for them.”

Moira is calling on residents to get involved and help raise vital funds for good causes.

She said: “We’ve had lots of people enquiring but nobody has confirmed they are taking part, so we need teams to sign up.

“We will have our fundraiser on the Saturday night as well in the Newton Bar, which always raises a lot of money - and there’s no chance of getting wet.

"Funds raised will go to local playgroup, guides, dance troupe, karate club and Boys' Brigade company."

Each person on the team can pay a suggested donation of £5 to enter. Application forms are available from Pots and Pets, and can be emailed to