Scottish Traditional Boat Festival

Following its decline as a cargo and fishing port Portsoy has in recent years capitalised on its biggest asset – its connection with the sea. 

This weekend the town hosted the 25th annual Scottish Traditional Boat Festival and, in sweltering sunshine, visitors were treated to a maritime spectacular as 21st century maritime heritage mingled with the likes of the 128-year-old Wick registered Isabella Fortuna. Arbroath built, the Isabella was launched in 1890 and is a regular festival visitor.

In far off 1994 the inaugural event firmly placed Portsoy on the tourist map and visitor numbers regularly swell the resident population of 1,800 to a giddy 18,000 on festival weekend. 1994 also saw a world first: the landing of a radio-controlled model helicopter onto the deck of the world’s largest model aircraft carrier, Duncan Cameron’s 31ft radio controlled Invincible, within the shelter of the 17th century harbour. 

Nowadays an annual fixture and undoubted leader of the harbour festival pack, the Portsoy event lays special emphasis on heritage, boat-building and sailing ships backed up with music, story-telling, Whisky Galore and traditional crafts.

Dates for 2019 are 22nd & 23rd June

Duncan Harley is the author of The A-Z of Curious Aberdeenshire - Published by The History Press at £12.99 and available from Amazon and Inverurie Whisky Shop.

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