Getting ready for Victoria Week

The popular scarecrow competition has already been launched
The popular scarecrow competition has already been launched

A sandbag alert has been sounded in Ballater - but this time it is for a fun stunt as the community prepares for its annual summer extravaganza.

Hundreds of sandbags were filled and put to use to try and defend the village from Storm Frank and the deluge it brought to the Deeside area in December last year.

We just want to cheer the village up and give people something to chuckle about

Ade Scripps Committee Member

Now with the floods firmly behind them, organisers of Ballater Victoria Week have come up with a tongue-in-cheek competition which they hope will raise a few smiles.

They are appealing to villagers to decorate leftover sandbags and share photos of their creations on social media.

As well as injecting a bit of humour, the novel competition points to how the community has galvanised and moved on following the flooding.

The most liked picture on Facebook will be judged winner of best decorated sandbag – earning its owner £50.

Ballater Victoria Week committee member Ade Scripps said: “Just for fun we are inviting people to decorate a sandbag.

“There’s bound to be a few spare ones knocking around and they could be turned into a favourite character, use it to plant flowers, or whatever people like.

“We just want to cheer the village up and give people something to chuckle about as they go about their day.”

Victoria Week takes place from August 5-14 with its biggest programme to date.

Meanwhile, the annual scarecrow competition has been launched and entries are invited with a deadline of July 17.

Villagers are asked to make a scarecrow on any theme and display it outside their home, business or society venue during Victoria Week. Entry is free.

Scarecrows created around the village for the last five summers have been a great success and instrumental in bringing visitors to the village.

Over the years Victoria Week has raised thousands of pounds for local causes.

Among the highlights of the 10-day extravaganza is Ballater Highland Games which takes place on Thursday, August 11, and includes sports, hill race, Highland dancing and other attractions.

Richard Watts, Ballater Business Association chair, said: “The resilience and determination to get over the floods has been quite remarkable and everyone is keen to get over the message that Ballater is back on its feet and is very much open for business.”