Costa del Kirkwall: Residents enjoy beach day in town centre

A car park has been transformed into a beach with golden sands, deck chairs and crazy golf.

Orkney residents have been enjoying a day on the beach, in the centre of the island’s biggest town.

A car park in Kirkwall’s Broad Street has been transformed into a ‘genuine seaside experience’ with golden sands, deck chairs and miniature crazy golf.

Children and locals of all ages have been enjoying a trip to Costa del Kirkwall’s unique summertime experience after a string of events, usually held over the summer months, were cancelled.

The initiative, organised by Kirkwall Business Improvement District (BID) to help promote the town’s high street, started on Thursday and will run over the weekend before finishing up on Monday.

The free play area is open from 10am to 5pm and organisers say it will bring a splash of colour to the heart of Kirkwall as a safe, outdoor meeting space to enjoy with friends and family.

Local Duncan McLean, proprietor of Kirkness and Gorie, said: “It’s a fantastic initiative.

“This is a summer when things are starting to return to normal, but there are still lots of events that we would usually see in Orkney that can’t happen, so it is fantastic that BID has organised this great family event right in the heart of Kirkwall.

“It’s important to get folk confident of getting back out onto the street. You can look around and see everything has been arranged very safely, but in the longer-term it is particularly good to get all these youngsters out on the street, kids of two, three, five, 15, because a town centre is not just about shopping, it’s about having a good time, about seeing your friends and meeting up with family and I think this is a fantastic example of why town centres are superior to online shopping.”

Organisers are hopeful the event will bring people into town, assisting local businesses in the process.

Laura Bruce, manager of Kirkwall BID said: “We have had lots of things cancelled for everybody and nothing really to look forward to and we felt this was something that had never been done in Orkney before.

“It was something different, something fun and it was outdoors, so we could get everyone back together and bring people back into the town and show that it is safe to come back to Kirkwall.

“We have got a brilliant high street and we need to keep trying to support the local businesses and to get younger generations to understand the importance of shopping in the local economy so we can support businesses going forward and keep this fantastic town centre that we have.

“So far it has been fantastic, we have been inundated with visitors, people of all ages building sandcastles, we have crazy golf, and it has been fantastic so far.”

The Council’s Community Learning and Development team have partnered up with Kirkwall BID to help promote the Young Scot discount scheme to local businesses over coming months – the Costa Del Kirkwall event is part of that aim.

Sponsors of the event include NorthLink Ferries, Odin Events and Orkney Builders Contractors Ltd.

Throughout the weekend there will be sandcastle building competitions, so folk are asked to bring a bucket and spade and send a photo of their creation to admin@kirkwall.co.uk to be in with a chance of winning.

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