A HUGE thank you to all the Helensburgh folk who came round to the Peninsula last weekend for our sixth annual Cove and Kilcreggan Book Festival.

We had packed houses for absolutely every author, though the consensus was that Helena Kennedy on Saturday night was exceptional talking to the BBC’s Sarah Smith, and we closed the event with house full notices for the irrepressible Professor Sir Tom Devine.

A fair old contrast from the early days when we were dragging folk out the kitchen and pretty well off the street to make up the audience numbers.

But our friends from our twinned book festival in Ullapool kept saying: “Don’t worry, it all takes time, it will build an audience as the word gets around.”

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And so it has come to pass, not least thanks to an extraordinary number of volunteers, some very loyal sponsors, and a dream cast list of writers who give their support to small book festivals all over Scotland – because they know how much their physical presence means to their readers.

There were some special challenges this year as Cove Burgh Hall was still wrapped in scaffolding for its essential repair works, and the library – our sales and signing centre – was still being brought back to life.

But everyone pitched in, and by the time the café bar opened its doors in advance of the Denise Mina opening session, the old girl looked immaculate inside. (The hall that is, not the lovely Denise!)

READ MORE: Catch up with all the latest news from Helensburgh and Lomond here