Purchasing four cans of budget Carling isn’t the classiest way to start a Sunday morning. But this wasn’t a normal Sunday morning, oh no! This, me hearties, was Pirate Day!
I, along with thousands of others were descending upon Hastings Old Town to join the pirate themed festivities. Hastings isn’t shy about hosting raucous street parties, I’ve witnessed their May Day celebrations first hand (read about that here) and Carnival is just around the corner on 31st July.
Pirate Day was originally created in order to break the Guinness World Record for the most pirates gathered in one place. Since its inaugural year Hastings has sporadically won and lost the accolade to Penzance in Cornwall, however this year they are celebrating keeping the unbroken record for two years in a row. In 2012, 14,231 pirates gathered on Pelham beach, dwarfing Penzance’s 8,734 pirates.Therefore, this year all the pirates had to do was party, and we were going to join them.
It all started with shots on the beach.
Followed by some very amusing people watching. Hastings is crammed with fascinating characters at the best of times, let alone when everyone is decked out in pirate gear. The whole family could get involved!
We wandered along the seafront, weaving our way through shipmates and skivvies. Some weary pirates were enjoying being on land, celebrating with a quick game of crazy golf. Cheeky land lovers!
I’ve harped on before about how pretty the old town is and the same can be said of the seafront, the long stretch of pebbled beach is flanked by impressive Victorian architecture, relics of Hastings popularity among wealthy Victorian holidaymakers.
We followed the celebrations along the front, pausing to soak up the rum fuelled atmosphere.
We stumbled across a couple of Jack Sparrows doing their bit for charity.
The festival hosts its own Jack Sparrow look-a-like competition, apparently judged by one of the best impersonators in the country, no less. I have never seen more Captain Jack wannabes scattered around a single town! I couldn’t be sure if their lilting stagger was part of the act, or down to one too many Captain Morgans…
There was even a pirate themed van doing the rounds.
When the rain hit we retreated into the back streets of the Old Town, streets once frequented by real life smugglers and pirates. We made ourselves at home in the Hastings Arms, a cute little pub decorated with an array of seaside relics. Like proper pirates, we even smuggled in our own beer (shh, don’t tell anyone!).
The festivities carried on long into the night when the streets were cleared and the pirates headed back to their vessels to batten down the hatches until next year. It had been a great, if not bizarrely eccentric, day and one I won’t forget in a hurry.
So, until next time Hastings, weigh anchor and hoist the mizzen! Or, see ya later…
Find out more about Pirate Day 2015 here: http://piratedayhastings.co.uk/