Record numbers take part in annual Alnmouth Volcano Night

Volcanoes well alight on Alnmouth beach. Pictures by Terry Collinson
Volcanoes well alight on Alnmouth beach. Pictures by Terry Collinson

A record number of volcano-builders took part in this year's spectacular fund-raiser on Alnmouth beach on Saturday evening.

Some 48 teams of up to 10 adults and children (two young children count as one adult) armed with shovels, wood, paper and matches descended on the Northumberland village, beating last year's record of 40 teams.

The winning team, Bilton Burners, and their supporters.

The winning team, Bilton Burners, and their supporters.

Registration for the annual Volcano Night, which raised around £700 for the RNLI, started at 5pm before whistles were blown about half-an-hour later to signal 15 minutes of frantic digging to build sandcastles as large as possible. In the next 15 minutes, teams constructed bonfires on top of their mounds, with only paper, wood and firelighters allowed.

It was then a case of waiting for the tide to drift in and swallow the volcanoes one by one until the last one alight was declared the winner.

The thrilled winning team, called Bilton Burners, who had pitch number 30, were Katherine Johnston, Stephanie and Damian Robinson, Ash Graham, Will Lee, Rachael and David Youll, Jimmy James, Katie Rennie and family, and Angela Payne.

Martin Swinbank, commodore of event organisers River Aln Boat Club, presented the volcano trophy, made from a painted rock, and a prize hamper from Scott’s of Alnmouth to the Bilton Burners.

The tide starts to wash the volcanoes away.

The tide starts to wash the volcanoes away.

He also presented the trophy for the team with the most children to the Lava Louts.

The River Aln Boat Club were delighted with the turn-out and John Taylor, events organiser, said he was pleased with the way the admin team coped with processing nearly 500 people in 20 minutes, although teams were able to register before the event for the first time.

"I'd like to thank all the volunteers - there were 10 of them covering various aspects of the event, including safety and the rules," he said. "We had more of a boating theme this year, with a sail boat, RNLI lifeboat and the Alnmouth skiff out."

Entry was £15 per team and collection buckets were circulated to raise extra funds.

Volunteers were also welcome to help clean the beach at 9am tomorrow (Sunday) morning.

More pictures in Thursday's Gazette - and check out our Facebook page to catch up with the live broadcast.