The 25th Scottish Traditional Boat Festival, held at Portsoy over the weekend of 30 June and 1 July, in scorching weather more reminiscent of the Mediterranean than the Moray Firth, attracted an estimated record attendance of around 20,000 visitors, reports David Linkie.
Originally held as a one-off celebration to mark the tercentenary of Portsoy harbour, the popular event has taken place every year since, to recognise and celebrate the maritime history and present-day sea activities that abound in North East Scotland.
Over the weekend, a succession of visitors, who fully complied with the no-discards rule, enjoyed countless servings of locally-sourced fresh fish. The two-day event provided a superb showcase for the fishing industry.
The wide range of traditional seafood available around Portsoy’s inner and outer harbours included new-season herring in oatmeal, kippers, Arbroath smokies, cullen skink and, of course, fish (haddock) and chips.
Outlets hosted by Sutherlands of Portsoy, Downies of Whitehills and Spinks of Arbroath met an insatiable demand from visitors, who watched their food being prepared in front of them, before it was served with a warm welcoming smile.
The underlying theme of the Scottish Traditional Boat Festival was well-represented by a diverse range of former fishing vessels from contrasting eras.
The pristine appearance of three former sail-driven fishing boats, Isabella Fortuna, Swan and White Wing, belied their combined age of over 300 years.
Relatively speaking, with just over 100 years between them, Comet BF 430 and Comrade LK 325 were very much the ‘new kids on the block’, not least because the former ring-netter and herring drifter/seiner both displayed newly-grained wheelhouses.
Appearing at Portsoy for the first time, while slowly manoeuvring in close proximity to the harbour entrance at high water, the ex-Norwegian longliner Haugefisk, which was open to view when berthed in Macduff harbour, was an added attraction.
On both afternoons, Buckie and Macduff RNLI all-weather and inshore lifeboats exercised with the SAR helicopter, in a succession of winch recoveries that provided the watching crowds with a reminder of the invaluable service these teams give throughout the year.
Skiff racing, traditional boatbuilding skills, Portsoy Pipe Band and a well-coordinated programme of live music added to a weekend enjoyed by thousands of people.
Further coverage of the Scottish Traditional Boat Festival will be included in Fishing News soon.