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Peaky Blinders stars back virtual version of Portsoy boat festival

Cillian Murphy filming in Portsoy earlier this year. Picture by Paul Glendell

People are being urged to support the virtual version of Portsoy’s Scottish Traditional Boat Festival – by order of the Peaky Blinders.

The cast and crew of the hit TV drama – including stars Cillian Murphy and Finn Cole – recorded some important scenes for its final season around the picturesque port this year.

When filming wrapped, they said they were blown away by the warm reception they received.

The stars have now got behind Ahoy Portsoy, the online edition of the boat festival, by sending organisers Portsoy Community Enterprise a message of support ahead of the big weekend later this month.

Some important scenes were filmed down at the harbour this winter. Picture by Jason Hedges

Esther Green, marketing co-ordinator for the group, said: “We’re delighted that the Peaky Blinders team sent Ahoy Portsoy a message of good luck.

“There’s no film footage or exclusive behind-the-scenes film but it’s lovely that they’ve acknowledged what we are doing in Portsoy as we turn our festival digital this year.

“When the filming drew to a close earlier this year, director Anthony Byrne was quoted as saying that Portsoy had been amazing – but having Portsoy chosen as a filming location is amazing for us too.”

The team has also been given a Peaky Blinders-style graphic to share on social media to help promote the festival.

Watch the trailer for the online boat festival here: 

Pele of Portsoy lends support

The stars of the gangster drama aren’t the only famous faces backing the event this year.

Celtic rock band Skerryvore and Aberdeen FC legend Eoin Jess – known as the “Pele of Portsoy” – have recorded videos to be shown during the digital celebration.

One of the area’s most famous sons, the former Scotland player will be sharing a special message recorded at his home in Spain.

Eoin Jess, Aberdeen FC 1999/2000.

Skerryvore, who were due to perform as headline act at this year’s festival, have created an exclusive set for fans to enjoy.

It’s a taster of what audiences can expect when the band return to the festival’s music stage on June 17, 2022.

And Scots trad star Iona Fyfe, a regular performer at Portsoy, makes a welcome appearance in the line-up after recently performing in the final of the BBC Radio Scotland Young Traditional Musician of the Year final 2021.

Iona picking up an award in 2018. Photo by Ian Georgeson/Shutterstock

Nautical extravganza

In normal years, people from all over descend on the Aberdeenshire town for the bash – with various historic crafts being moored at the harbour for visitors to admire.

The event was axed in 2020 and organisers hope that taking it online this year can help open some new eyes to the beauty of the area.

But boats are at the heart of the event, and stories behind some of Scotland’s most remarkable traditional crafts make it onto the bill.

There’s latest news from the Shetland-based fishing sailboat The Swan, Fraserburgh-registered drifter Reaper, which resides at the Scottish Fisheries Museum in Anstruther in Fife and Wick-based drifter The Isabella Fortuna.

And there’s a rare invite on board The Comet, moored at Macduff, to learn how Billy Milne and his son Ellis, 14, are playing a vital part in the preservation of the nation’s nautical heritage.

The festival can be viewed for free on June 26 and 27 by anyone who registers to receive a link.

Have a sneak peek at some of the stunning coastal scenery virtual visitors will be treated to at the virtual festival:  

Portsoy folk will also tap into the latest viral craze, that of the Sea Shanty, with their very own version.

And the town’s ice cream shop owner Alex Murray gives the inside scoop on which flavour comes out top from his vast ice cream cabinet selection.

Ice cream shop owner Alex Murray will reveal his best flavours

Chairman delighted with offering

David Urquhart, chairman of the Scottish Traditional Boat Festival, said: “Ahoy Portsoy is a real celebration of what makes our coastal community unique.

“Through interviews, demonstrations, displays and chat we’ll show viewers how Portsoy and its famed boat festival really packs a punch.

“Packaged together it shows just why Portsoy is such an incredible place and gives a flavour of what’s to come next year when we look forward to welcoming people back.

To go with story by Ben Hendry. Virtual boat festival Picture shows; David Urquhart. Portsoy. Supplied by Esther Green Date; Unknown

“So please join us online for our first ever virtual festival – and then come and join us to savour the Portsoy experience for real in 2022.”

The two-day boat festival began back in 1993, initially as a one-off event to mark the 300th anniversary of the historic Portsoy harbour.

Since then, it has become a mainstay of the Scottish events calendar, regularly attracting around 16,000 visitors a year.

Peaky Blinders star Cillian Murphy enjoyed award-winning Portsoy ice cream while filming in the village

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