If you were to wake up on any given morning and find yourself walking alongside Portsoy’s Old Harbour, you would be forgiven for thinking that you had been transported back in time, but never more so than during the town’s annual Scottish Traditional Boat Festival. The July Festival welcomes traditional sailing vessels, some over a century old, back to a harbour that once thrived on the spoils of the sea.
Perched along the Moray Firth Coastline, Portsoy was initially famed for its serpentine marble and eventually for its herring fleet which brought affluence to the area during the late 1800s. Largely unchanged, Portsoy today boasts some of the most pristine coastal scenery that Scotland has to offer. With the arrival of the boat festival each year comes an infusion of colour that makes the view all the more spectacular.
Although maritime history is at the heart of the festival, there is so much more on offer here. In fact, this is a celebration that will excite all of your senses. The sound of live music washes the streets, offering a very Scottish soundtrack of twanging banjos, pipe bands, and even the odd drum corps. Local artisans provide a backdrop of handcrafted treasures, with everything from jewellery to furniture on display.
But nothing will grab your attention more quickly than the smell of smoking haddock which fills the air and insists that you really must give it a try. The importance of food and drink at the Portsoy Boat Festival cannot be overstated, so go on an empty stomach because you will not want to deny yourself the delicious offerings.
Of course, there are also activities galore – from Teddy Bear picnics to coracle rowing and everything in between, even a 10k and fun run aptly named Follow the Herring. No matter who you are looking to entertain, there is something of interest for everyone at Portsoy’s Boat Festival. www.stbfportsoy.com