Scotland’s leading celebration of maritime heritage is extending the hand of friendship across the oceans. It is planned that an increased number of international crews and performers will be attending the 19th annual Aberdeen Asset Management Scottish Traditional Boast Festival over the weekend of June 23 and 24, 2012, creating a melting pot of nautical culture from around the globe. It is expected that crowds in excess of 16,000 will attend the event at Portsoy on the North-east coast of Scotland, which has become one of the region’s flagship tourism events.
The Festival will bring together a large number of wooden heritage boats from far and wide. The star of the show, however, will be the Festival’s own vessel, Obair-Na-Ghaol. The boat is a replica of a 19th century scaffie – a traditional herring drifter – and will be fresh from her royal appointment at the River Thames Diamond Jubilee Pageant.
The sailing programme will boast Scotland’s biggest ever St Ayle’s Skiff coastal rowing regatta, with in excess of 20 of these traditional wooden rowing boats expected to participate. Communities from all over Scotland – and one team from the USA – will be competing over the weekend in a series of races leaving from the historic 18th century harbour and following a route along the Moray Firth. The event has increased in popularity due to the work of the Scottish Coastal Rowing Project in helping communities re-establish the sport which was commonplace in the early half of the 20th century.
Traditional music trio MOT will be travelling all the way from Australia to grace the Festival stage, and they will be joined by other international headliners, De Kinkels from Holland, energetic Irish fiddle group Fidil, and sea shanty expert Bob Walser from the USA. Festival-goers can also expect the very best in homegrown musical talent on the main stage and around the harbour.
The harbour area will also provide the backdrop for traditional skills exhibitors who will be giving demonstrations in everything from boatbuilding and restoration to knitting and weaving. More modern and contemporary crafts will be housed within the crafts marquee, where visitors will be able to buy a huge selection of unique handmade products.
Another popular attraction is the Festival Food Fayre. Local producers will show why the North-east of Scotland is a larder for the very best quality produce and ingredients, and chefs will show how to put these to good use at a series of cookery demonstrations. Catering vendors will also be set up around the harbour area, including the legendary Ian Spink and his Arbroath Smokies. This traditional delicacy of haddock, which is smoked underneath hessian sacks, has people queuing up around the block.
The Festival also features an extensive programme of sporting activities that everyone can get involved in, such as the Follow the Herring 10k road race, cycling, hockey, rugby and the Loch Soy raft race.
Aberdeen Asset Management Scottish Traditional Boat Festival chairman Roger Goodyear says, “Over the years we have expanded the programme to include all aspects of maritime and rural culture. The programme will have something for everyone, from experienced sailors to land lubbers, and that is what has helped to make this such a hugely popular event.
“We will have more of an international flavour in 2012, and I think that this will only add to the atmosphere and excitement of the event. This area of Scotland has strong connections with many of our European neighbours by virtue of our historical fishing and trade links with these nations. It will be fantastic to rekindle these relationships and explore the cultural and creative traditions that we share.”
The 2012 Aberdeen Asset Management Scottish Traditional Boat Festival will be taking part in the Year of Creative Scotland. The Scottish Government initiative, a partnership led by EventScotland, VisitScotland, Creative Scotland and VOCAL, aims to put the spotlight on the country’s cultural and creative strengths.
Paul Bush OBE, Chief Operating Officer for EventScotland said: “The Scottish Traditional Boat Festival promises to be a fantastic event, which will showcase the maritime and cultural heritage of the North East. Scotland is the perfect stage for events, and the festival will undoubtedly prove popular with visitors who will get the chance to see a number of traditional boats in the fantastic setting of the Portsoy harbour. In 2012, the Year of Creative Scotland, it is also fitting that the festival will include elements of art, song and dance as part of what is a hugely exciting programme.”
For further information about the Aberdeen Asset Management Scottish Traditional Boat Festival visit scottishtraditionalboatfestival. An adult day ticket costs £8, children aged five to 18 and concessions are £5. Adult weekend tickets are priced at £12 and children and concessions at £8. There are also family tickets available which allow entry for two adults and three children for £25 for a day ticket and £35 for a weekend. Children under five go free and there is no charge for parking.
- Leanne Carter/Event Scotland