Scottish Traditional Boat Festival’s online debut makes global waves

The unique heritage and coastline of Portsoy have been celebrated around the world with the Aberdeenshire town’s first-ever digital boat festival gaining an international following.

The Ahoy Portsoy virtual collection of the best of the Scottish Traditional Boat Festival has been a hit with audiences across Scotland and the UK and also further afield in the USA, Australia, Norway, Canada, Germany, France, Spain, Estonia and Ireland.

The online festival launched on 26 June and includes a collection of 40 clips representing key strands of the coastal community’s annual showcase – heritage boats, crafts, food and drink, music and dance, boatbuilding, chat and displays. It is still available to view for free.

Festival chairman David Urquhart (pictured above) said that the online offering has generated a real buzz in Portsoy, after the pandemic put paid to the town being able to safely stage its popular festival for the second year running.

Mr Urquhart said: “Our free festival is a wonderful celebration of what makes our coastal community unique. Through interviews, demonstrations, displays and chat, viewers see how Portsoy and our boat festival really pack a punch.

“We’ve got an incredible coast, stunning locations, remarkable people, and great stories that celebrate our town and its nautical past and present. Packaged together, it shows just why Portsoy is such an incredible place and, importantly, gives a flavour of what’s to come next year when we look forward to welcoming people back.

“We’d like to thank EventScotland for supporting us as part of the Year of Coasts and Waters 20/21, and our other sponsors who supported us in turning our virtual vision into a reality.

“If you haven’t had a chance to view our online festival, catch it while you can, and then come and join us to savour the Portsoy experience for real in 2022.”

The festival stream features Celtic rock band Skerryvore and Portsoy-born Aberdeen FC legend Eoin Jess alongside the stories of Scotland’s remarkable traditional boats. There’s a virtual blessing of the fleet by Portsoy minister Rev John Gow, and culinary demonstrations of how to create cullen skink and smoked haddock fishcakes. 

The two-day Scottish Traditional 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.

View Ahoy Portsoy, from the Scottish Traditional Boat Festival, online at: stbfportsoy.org

The 2022 festival will run from June 17-19.

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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