Shetland’s restored Fifie Swan is set to retrace her past by visiting five ports significant to the historic and present-day herring industries as part of a 10-night trip from 8 to 18 June.

As part of the tour, ‘On the Herring Trail’, the vessel will visit Lerwick, Stronsay, Wick, Peterhead and Anstruther. At each port there will be an activity exploring the herring industry, and showcasing its importance to the Scottish economy, heritage and culture. The end of the trip will also see the Swan take part in the Cellardyke Sea Queen Festival.

Swan LK 243 will explore her past during a 10-night tour taking in five traditional herring ports. (Photo: Maurice Henderson)

The tour begins in Lerwick, with a talk by writer and Swan Trust trustee John Goodlad, author of two acclaimed books about Shetland’s fishing industry, the second of which, The Salt Roads, was serialised in Fishing News last year.

“This is a unique opportunity to visit ports on the traditional herring route, which thousands of men and women from throughout Scotland and further afield followed during the herring booms of the early 20th century,” said John Goodlad.

Other activities on the 10-night trip include a tour of the award-winning Shetland Museum and Archives and Hay’s Dock, where the Swan was built and launched in 1900 and where her sail loft is today, a walking tour of Stronsay, a visit to Wick Heritage Museum, and a trip to the Lunar fish-freezing factory in Peterhead.

In Anstruther, the Swan will berth alongside the Scottish Fisheries Museum and its flagship vessel Reaper, which
has benefited from major refurbishment in recent years. On the final day of the trip, Swan will take part in the Cellardyke Sea Queen Festival, sailing out with other vessels for the laying of the wreath.

“We are delighted to be working with a number of partners to provide a range of activities for our passengers to learn more about the herring fishery specific to each port,” said John Goodlad.

“Scotland, and its islands, were once littered with herring ports, which supported many coastal communities and welcomed boats from all over Europe. This trip will celebrate Swan’s heritage, and how fisheries are still a major part of the Shetland, and Scottish, economy.”

A few places are still available for the trip. For more information, contact: or click here.

This story was taken from the latest issue of Fishing News. For more up-to-date and in-depth reports on the UK and Irish commercial fishing sector, subscribe to Fishing News here or buy the latest single issue for just £3.30 here

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