Portsoy (Keeny Lam/VS)

Ahoy Portsoy and the Scottish Traditional Boat Festival 

By Published On: 9th June 20223 min readCategories: Events

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Thousands of people are expected to set course for Aberdeenshire this month for the welcome return of the world renowned Scottish Traditional Boat Festival.

The two-day event - on Saturday 18 and Sunday 19 June - at the historic Portsoy harbour brings together the finest craft in the Scottish historic fishing fleet, alongside maritime vessels, sailing and rowing events, music and dance. 

Sir Reel Clarks from Huntly will perform their range of musical genres

Sir Reel Clarks from Huntly will perform their range of musical genres

First held in 1993 to celebrate the tercentenary of Portsoy’s old harbour the festival has since become firmly anchored in the town’s annual calendar, taking place each summer and attracting thousands of visitors from across the country and abroad.

Centred around Portsoy’s 17th Century harbour, visitors can enjoy a weekend of songs, storytelling, demonstrations, music and dance celebrating the area’s rich nautical past and present.

“The festival really is a feast for the senses, visitors can see premier heritage boats fill the historic harbour, hear songs and stories of the shore, taste delicious Scottish food and drink and take home unique, hand-made gifts and jewellery from our craft fayre,” said David Urquhart, chair of the Scottish Traditional Boat Festival Committee.

The weekend festivities kick off on Friday 17 June with Celtic rockers, Skerryvore headlining the Gig on the Back Green.

Robin Laing

Robin Laing

“Music is always an integral part of the event and this year we have a variety of local groups, acclaimed performers and internationally renowned artists, representing a mix of musical genres,” added David .

“We have lots of well-known faces joining us, along with some new groups and bands taking to the stage. On Friday night, the Drying Green Marquee will host an informal open mic session led by the Folk at the Salmon Bothy, so aspiring musicians can bring along an instrument to get involved or sit back and enjoy the music."

However, there is more than just boats and music to enjoy at the family-friendly festival.

Delicious fresh lobster and crab rolls, salads and platters will be on offer from The Lobster Shop by shellfish merchants, Murray, McBay and Company, Johnshaven

Delicious fresh lobster and crab rolls, salads and platters will be on offer from The Lobster Shop by shellfish merchants, Murray, McBay and Company, Johnshaven

This year there will be a mouth-watering selection of world-class produce to sample, from lobster and crab to wild Scottish venison and Aberdeen Angus beef. There will also be lots of local cheeses, chutneys and jams to  enjoy as well as local gin, rum and whisky. Indeed, almost 40 food and drink vendors will be showcasing their delicious produce at the 29th annual event, which is set to attract 16,000 people over the two days.

Visitors will also be able to eat their way around the harbour, with local seafood playing a leading role, alongside a range of options including pizza and paella, bratwurst, delicious Aberdeen Angus burgers and hot dogs, and not forgetting the famous Portsoy ice-cream!

Portsoy Ice-cream

Portsoy Ice-cream

“Our food fayre is set to be even bigger and better than it has been in previous years,” said David.

“Visitors will not only be able to take a taste of Scotland home with them, but they can also enjoy the great flavours of Aberdeenshire and further afield, at the fantastic catering options we will have available over the weekend.”

Tickets are on sale now www.stbfportsoy.org/buy-tickets/.

Bogmoon Bees, from Cairnie near Portsoy, will have their range of beautifully smooth and delicious runny honey, made from their very own beehives

Bogmoon Bees, from Cairnie near Portsoy, will have their range of beautifully smooth and delicious runny honey, made from their very own beehives