At Christmas Eve each year, every man and his dog turns out for the The Scotland Island Dog Race. The race is run between Bells Wharf, on Scotland
Island and Church Point on the mainland.
The story goes that the dog race has been held every Christmas Eve since 1974, when the dogs of two ferry captains swam for line honours...
Captain Dave Baume, over a few drinks, declared that his ferry was faster than captain Lawrie Duff’s ferry. In turn, Lawrie claimed that his
dog 'Diesel' could swim faster than Dave’s dog 'Connie.' To put the matter to rest and find out who really had the fastest dog, the two
men decided to have a dog swimming race.
And so a tradition was born.
Lawrie and Dave agreed that the entry would be a bottle of beer and a can of dog food with the winner taking the lot. (The same entry fee exists
today - A longneck beer and a can of Pal. Today however there are several categories, so needless to say there is plenty of Pal and VB handed
The dogs would swim between Bells Wharf on Scotland Island and Church Point on the Mainland — a 600-meter stretch of water.
Word of the upcoming dog race spread quickly and when Christmas Eve arrived, a large crowd, including a news crew gathered to watch several dogs
and their owners paddle to Church Point.
As it turned out, neither of the captains’ dogs were first across the line. Instead, Scotland Island resident Chris Cowper and his Labrador,
Mandy won the race.
Now, 40 years on, locals and “out-of-towners” still bring their dogs to Church Point on Christmas Eve, and this year Bob was top dog. The field
paddles the 500m to 600m stretch of water between Scotland Island and Church Point in Pittwater and crowds gathered on both sides of Pittwater
to take in all the action.
Registration for the dog race Registration is a casual affair. People turn up with their dogs on the morning of the race and register
and that's about it...
The first race in 1974 This video was provided by a news crew that recorded the first race, and it includes clips from the cutting room floor. Note that there is no audio.
Jack Thompsons profile of the Event in 1988
Scotland lsland Dog Race 2015 - Rachel Hooper
The race 2016 - thanks to: Pittwater Pathways Pittwaters' men, women, boys and girls race their dogs across the Scotland Island channel. Light-hearted Australian culture at its best.