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October 5, 2011

Skimmers paradise

An irresistible force of nature takes over if a skimming stone is spotted when out on a shoreline walk.  Who can deny the urge to pick it up and try one’s luck? A typical shoreline may at best offer up just a few such stones. But what if you live on an island that was once a slate quarry and as such is essentially made of skimming stones?  You host the world stone skimming championships is what you do, and make some cash for the community into the bargain


Easdale Island was once the centre of a thriving Scottish slate mining industry, so it is only fitting that one of the disused quarries forms a perfect arena for the World Stone Skimming Championships.

The Championships were started in 1983 by former Easdale resident Albert Baker, and then lay fallow until they were resurrected in 1997 by Eilean Eisdeal as a fundraising event.

The championships are held every year and now attract over 300 contestants from around the world and many spectators. Anyone of any age and any level of skill can enter the championships. 

Each competitor is allowed 3 skims using specially selected Easdale slate skimming stones. For a skim to qualify the stone must bounce at least twice – it is then judged on the distance achieved before it sinks. 

The World Stone Skimming Cup is presented to the over-all winner, and the Sea-fari Salver for the best women’s skim. There are also slate medals going to the best junior skim and 2nd and 3rd runner-up in each category. 

2002 saw the launch of a new award, ‘the Bertie’, named after Bert Baker, the event’s founder. This is presented to the Easdale Islander who skims the furthest. In 2008 the Old Tosser category was introduced for those entrants who have reached the experienced and veteran heights of no longer being in their 50s. 

The competition is accompanied by children’s entertainment; a barbeque; craft stalls with music throughout the day. On the preceding evening the Community Hall hosts a pre-skim bash with live music. 

Official Rules of the World Stone Skimming Championships

Skimming stones must be no more than 3 inches in diameter and formed naturally of Easdale slate

To qualify, the stone must bounce at least twice before sinking and stay within the designated lane as marked by the buoys

Skims are judged on the distance thrown rather than the number of bounces

The judges’ decision is final

World Stone Skimming Championships website at

The competition is split into Ladies, Men, Junior Boys and Girls and Under 10s Boys and Girls categories. There is also the Old Tosser category for those entrants who have reached the experienced and veteran heights of no longer being in their 50s!