STRAW men - and women, and several decidedly non-human creatures - were out in force in Gartocharn as the village’s popular scarecrow competition made a welcome return.

The event, which saw scarecrow versions of animals, fictional heroes and film characters made by members of the public and placed around the town, drew nineteen entries this year and prizegiving took place on Sunday.

Organiser Isabel Vincent said she came up with the idea last year as a way to keep people’s minds off Covid while conventional means of entertainment were closed off to the public.

Isabel told the Reporter: “This is the second year that it’s run. It was part of the Gartocharn Village Show last year, and we just wanted to have something that was during Covid, something outdoors.

"That’s how it all kind of started.

“We’ve got no village show this year, but we have the scarecrow competition.

"The one who made the Mary Poppins one is a costume designer, so she always does something great.

“We had 17 entries this year for four categories - Funniest, Best Use of Materials, Most Creative and Popular Votes - people are really into it.”

Scarecrow festivals have been popular in towns and villages around England since the early 1990s, with Scotland holding its very first competition in West Kilbride in 2004.

The competition’s “Funniest Scarecrow” category was judged by youngsters at Gartocharn Primary School, with a panel making the rest of the decicions.

“We cast the votes at 7pm last night (Sunday) and we got two more entries, so there were 19 scarecrows in the end.” Isabel continued.

“Mary Poppins won the popular vote and Best Use of Materials, Fairy Queen won Most Creative, and the Grinch was the Funniest.

“Thanks to the judges, Rev Donnie Campbell, Rev Ian Miller, Ms Helen Glasgow, Mrs Helen Gibson and the P2/3 class at Gartocharn Primary, judging the Most Creative, Best Use of Material and Funniest, respectively.

“Thanks also to Caulders Garden Centres Loch Lomond and Carrs Billington (Balloch) for their kind donations for the prizes.

“Thanks to all the participants and keep your scarecrow if you can as we may have an Halloween event for them!”

All attached photos were taken by James Duncan.

For more information and to see more of this year’s entries, search for Gartocharn Community on Facebook.