Edinburgh is renowned for many architectural and historic sights, so a glimpse of a thousand yellow plastic ducks sailing down the Water of Leith may come as something of a surprise to the unsuspecting visitor. But, every summer, that is exactly what happens at the Stockbridge Duck Race, an enduringly popular event that, having taken place annually for the past 30 years, is now ingrained in the village’s calendar.
During the past three decades, the Stockbridge Duck Race has become one of the most eagerly anticipated charity events in the city, raising tens of thousands of pounds for good causes. The ducks are sold in advance of the race at cafes, restaurants, bars and shops throughout Stockbridge for a nominal fee, and are then taken to the event on the day, where they are dropped by the duckload into the river from the bridge adjacent to the village’s Pizza Express.
The rules are somewhat simple: in the spirit of Poohsticks, the ducks float downstream, bobbing along on the current while the eager crowd cheer on from the side-lines, with those that cross the finishing line first winning their owners a variety of prizes donated by local businesses.