Although I am delighted with the way in which the darts calendar of major events has expanded so much over recent years, it does mean that Donna and I miss out on the chance to return to Barbados for their annual darts festival held in the first weeks of November each year.
The last time we were there it was an extended family affair with my sister ( also called Donna ) and her husband also with us – and we had a ball, just like everyone else on the trip. To be honest, what is there not to like?
I hear from reliable sources that this year’s Festival was no exception. Over 60 people from the UK, USA and Canada joined darts players from Barbados, Trinidad &Tobago, St. Lucia, Guyana and the Cayman Islands for the fun and darts tournaments.
Although there is a competitive edge to the major competitions played over the middle weekend of the Festival, the festival caters for darts players of all standards with the accent on meeting new people and experiencing an environment very different to that of the northern hemisphere as it slides into Winter.
In fact, around 50% of those attending this year were not regular darts players but this did not prevent them from thoroughly enjoying themselves as the programme is such that it deliberately caters for non-playing family and friends. As the name suggests, it is a darts festival, not an outright darts tournament. You simply chose what you want to participate in.
You will get the chance to meet the Bajans ( Barbadians ) who will go out of their way to ensure that you enjoy their “jewel in the Caribbean”. Take full advantage of the optional excursions to see as much of the island and its people as you can.
The catamaran cruise gives you the opportunity to swim with the turtles (amazing to be so close to them in their environment ) and see the dazzling, multi-coloured fish of all sizes as you snorkel over reefs and a man-made ship wreck. Even those like my sister Donna, who is no great seafarer, had a great time. Also check out the island safari trip which takes you off the beaten track to explore some great sights. They really look after you on both trips – plenty of liquid refreshment!
For those of you who have never experienced swimming in Caribbean waters you are in for a treat. Clear and really warm – especially if you compare it to the normal water temperatures of the Mediterranean.
Barbados attracts so many wealthy celebrities that it gives the lopsided impression it is only for the rich. Of course, if you want to spend a fortune impressing people there are places where you can do so. But we found that we could eat a three course meal at good Restaurants close to our hotel for just over £30 per person. The bar at the venue where you play the major tournaments sells 4 bottles of iced cold beer for $10 Bds - that’s about 85p per bottle in our money!
Barbados is one of our very favourite places with so many great memories of our times there. Try it for yourselves.
Sun 1 November: Relax after flight
Get to know your immediate surroundings and your Festival Director
Mon 2 November: Free Day
6 p.m. Social darts
Tues 3 November:
8.30 a.m. Island Safari ( optional )
6.45 p.m. Welcome Drinks reception.
Wed 4 November: Free Day
6 p.m. Social Darts
Thurs 5 November:
8.30 a.m. Catamaran Cruise ( Optional )
Fri 6 November Free Day
7 p.m. Leave for Solidarity House for Mens & Ladies Pairs
Sat 7 November
2.15 p.m. Leave for Solidarity House for:
Mens Mixed Nations Pairs
Ladies Mixed Nations Pairs
Sun 8 November
2.15 p.m. Leave for Solidarity House for Mens & Ladies Singles
Mon 9 November: Free Day
8.30 a.m. Island Safari ( Optional )
Tues 10 November: Free Day
7 p.m. Leave for Bajan Darts Evening at A&T Hideaway
Wed 11 November: Free Day
This completes the “official” itinerary for the Festival but you are invited to stay on ( or arrive earlier ) to extend your enjoyment of Barbados
More details: Contact Festival Director, Michael Heal
Tel: 0775 157 1936