Thousands of visitors made the trip to a tiny north-east harbour at the weekend to enjoy one of Scotland’s biggest nautical celebrations.
And last night organisers of the Scottish Traditional Boat Festival hailed it a huge success.
The two-day event is held in Portsoy’s 17th century harbour, and attracts crowds of around 18,000 each year.
But this year it had to contend with torrential downpours which thinned crowds during Saturday’s activities.
Those who did brave the elements, however, took it in their stride and on Sunday were rewarded with calm – albeit foggy – conditions.
Last night, Roger Goodyear, the festival’s chairman, suggested that the event still drew around 16,000 people to the north-east.
“The sad news was on Saturday morning when we had very heavy rain. It cut down on the number of people attending on our big day, but the crowds were still bigger than we’ve had before when it’s been bad,” he said.
“Yesterday was very good and overall it’s been very, very pleasing. There were times when I’ve never seen it so busy around the harbour, but it’s very difficult to tell the exact numbers we got. Certainly, it was in the region of 16,000.
“Had it been a nice day on Saturday, I believe we would have had record numbers.”
Now in it’s 22nd year, and sponsored by the Press and Journal and Aberdeen Asset Management, about 40 classic vessels of all shapes and sizes docked at the port for the weekend.
Among the biggest draws were the Reaper, a 19th century herring drifter, and the Isabella Fortuna sailboat, which dates back to 1890.
Visitors got the chance to get close to the boats and were given opportunities to meet their crews before and after a series of races along the coastline.
A derelict boatshed that was bought and restored by a local traditional skills group – Portsoy Organisation for Restoration and Training – in 2013 was also finally opened to the public.
Mr Goodyear added: “The reaction to the boatshed has been absolutely fantastic – people really love it and it has gained a lot of interest. Several people have even said they’d like to get involved behind the scenes, and more than a couple have inquired about the organisation restoring boats for them.
“Overall, we’re very pleased and a big thank you has to go to the people of Portsoy for doing an amazing job.”
Demonstrations and crafters, meanwhile, were dotted throughout the village’s harbour-front, offering a supply of food and fishing-themed gifts.
The show was opened in style on Saturday morning when Portsoy’s pipe band marched through the harbour, and was closed on Sunday with hymns.
Carol Redgrift, who works at the harbour at Porstoy Marble, said she was impressed with this year’s offering.
“With the exception of the weather, it was very good,” she said.
“But even with the weather, people were making the most of it. The amount of work that goes into this every year from the volunteers really is amazing.”
Dave Purvis, a member of The Coracle Society, a group which promotes the small water craft as a means of transport and which has been exhibiting at the festival for the last decade, added: “We’ve had lots of thrills and spills.
“Saturday was a bit of a damp squib with the weather, but we went to the open mic night and it was very good to see that the music side of the festival is in very good hands. It’s been very good for us.”
And Marc Ellington, the event’s compere, said that despite the weather, the festival had been “very good”.
He added that, for him, the most exciting thing this year was the opening of the boatshed.
“It’s one of the most important conservation projects we’ve had along the Moray coast,” he said.
“It has been a benchmark example of what can be done to take a redundant building in a ruinous state and turn it into something very special indeed.”