If you’re looking for something fun to do with the whole family in Aberdeenshire this summer, why not check out the Scottish Traditional Boat Festival?
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After two years, it will return as a live event in the port village of Portsoy on June 18 and 19. Boat enthusiasts are already excited for the two-day weekend festival, one of Scotland’s largest celebrations of maritime culture and seafaring heritage.
But for its 29th year, organisers planned a variety of activities for everyone to enjoy, whether you’re an avid sailor or just down for a fun day with family and friends. Here are seven things to do at Portsoy boat festival. You’re sure to find something to suit – whatever floats your boat!
1. There’s lots to see for sailing fanatics
The festival will showcase an amazing flotilla of the finest seacraft in Scotland’s historic fishing fleet. One of them is the Isabella Fortuna, a traditional fishing vessel that will set sail for Portsoy from Caithness. It’s a 19th century Fifie that was lovingly restored by the Wick Heritage Society.
A former 1978 Royal National Lifeboat Institution (RNLI) Rother Class lifeboat will also be on display. But true aficionados cannot miss the replica of a Loch Broom Post Boat, a small sailing vessel used to deliver mail to remote communities in Loch Broom, Wester Ross.
2. Plenty of options for music-lovers
Award-winning Celtic rock group Skerryvore will kick off the musical festivities by headlining the Big Gig on the Back Green on Friday, June 17. More bands and performers will take the spotlight on the Harbour Stage, including Sir Reel Clarks and the Junior Fiddlers from Fochabers.
On Saturday, the Lennox Family will open the Ceilidh in the Main Marquee. But if you’d rather be in a more intimate setting, head over to the Upstairs at The Bothy to be serenaded by Arthur Watson and Pete Shepherd with songs of the sea and shore. Robin Laing, the Whisky Bard, will also share songs and stories, with a dram or two!
3. Foodies will enjoy tasting Scottish produce
The festival features a food fayre where visitors can sample the best of Scottish produce. Locally caught fish and shellfish are the stars of the menu, of course. But visitors can also enjoy Aberdeen Angus beef, wild Scottish venison, handmade cheese, chutneys and jams. The locally made ice cream is a must-try! Finally, wash it all down with some locally produced whisky, gin or rum.
4. Don’t miss the demonstrations for crafters
Hobbyists and artisans can also take fresh inspiration from traditional craft demonstrations at the festival. Visitors can try their hand at ceramic painting and knitting. Local craftsmen will also share how they make unique hand-crocheted headwear using upcycled materials.
One special treat is a look at the ArTea collection of artist Angus Grant. It features animal illustrations made of tea stains! Angus, an art and design teacher, will also demonstrate the traditional and digital illustration techniques he uses to make his popular giftware.
5. Shopping is available for treasure hunters
Shoppers on the hunt for something unique can revel in the array of products on sale, including fine art, beautiful pottery, silver jewellery and handmade candles.
6. Activities are on offer for kids (and kids at heart!)
Be blown away by the fast-paced skipping stunts of Scotland’s first competitive skipping club, Skip 2 the Beat. For kids who want to stay active, try out bungee trampolining or zorbing. There’s also a bouncy castle and a climbing wall.
7. Pets are welcome at Portsoy boat festival too
Feel free to take your furry friends along with you. You won’t have to worry about them going thirsty, thanks to water points located throughout the harbour.
Buy a weekend family pass to attend the Portsoy Boat Festival.
This year’s festival is supported by EventScotland’s National Events Programme.