The Blog

Explore Portsoy's annual Scottish Traditional Boat Festival!

View Comments

VisitScotland recently caught up with Vivien Rae, from the Scottish Traditional Boat Festival marketing team, to hear all about the exciting new events they have planned for this summer; this is what she had to say!

Set in the Moray Coast’s stunningly beautiful 17th Century harbour at Portsoy in Banffshire, the ACE Winches Scottish Traditional Boat Festival will welcome a fleet of historic and small crafts for the two day celebration.

Visitors will be invited on board restored fishing vessels, learn how to row a coracle, watch fiercely competitive St Ayles Skiff rowing crews battle it out on open seas and witness the naming ceremony of a recently completed wooden salmon coble – the first of its type to be built since the 1960s – and all by volunteers.

However it may surprise many to learn there is so much more than boats to enjoy…

‘The Vikings Are Coming!’

Historic Boats © Allan Robertson

Historic Boats © Allan Robertson

Meet members of the famed Shetland Up Helly Aa Jarl Squad who join us, supported by NorthLink Ferries. Have your photo taken with a real Viking and learn about the building and burning of the Viking Longship.

Join the Viking treasure hunt and take the chance to win a return trip on one of NorthLink Ferries’ sailings from Aberdeen to Orkney or Shetland, following historic Viking routes.

Don’t miss Valkyrie’s Slide, the UK’s longest and safest giant water slide spanning a fantastic 100m, it’s sure to be a hit with kids and adults alike!

Songs by the sea

Urang Matang © Michael MacFarlane

Urang Matang © Michael MacFarlane

The Festival brings together the very best of traditional music, with musicians and performers joining us from the local area and around the world to entertain on the many stages throughout the Festival.

Be entertained by Norwegian singer Rudi Myntevik, Dutch favourites De Kinkels, Scottish singer songwriter Amy Baillie, Bothy Ballad Champion Shona Donaldson and Dundee’s lively Graham Brown Band, to name just a few. We also welcome Scottish band Urang Matang, whose band member Jim Paterson, of Dexy’s Midnight Runners fame, hails from Portsoy.

Living Traditions

As we celebrate the region’s culture and heritage, we bring together a range of authentic skills and craft demonstrators who will enthral as they showcase their abilities and exhibit the fruits of their labours. From the art of woodturning to felt making, painting to knitting and everything in between, you’re sure to find a keepsake to treasure and may even be involved in making it too.

Unmissable Scottish Food and Drink

The Food Fayre showcases a splendid range of the region’s best food and drink, with lots for visitors to taste and try over the two days. Enjoy the inspiring cookery demonstration programme, which brings together passionate chefs creating everything from fresh fish dishes to newly baked bread and boozy cakes for the perfect afternoon tea.

Family Fun and Activities

Jarl Squad © NorthLink Ferries

Jarl Squad © NorthLink Ferries

Test your agility on a Segway, scale the towering mobile climbing wall, bounce around in a giant zorb or try the cycle track and obstacle course – we have everything for fun seeking visitors to enjoy. The energetic are invited to take part in the 2K Fun Run or the 10K Follow The Herring Run on Sunday morning too.

Whatever you’re looking for, you’re sure to find it at the ACE Winches Scottish Traditional Boat Festival on 25 -26 June. Tickets are available at or at the gates on the day.

If you’ve captured a memorable moment why not share them on our social media channels: Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.


Cookie Policy

VisitScotland uses cookies to enhance your experience on our website. By using our website you consent to our use of cookies. Please read our privacy and cookies statement for more information.