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Bigger and better 2009 boat festival at Portsoy

28th February 2009

Photograph of Bigger and better 2009 boat festival at Portsoy

From international boat experts to the world's fastest knitter, the 16th annual Scottish Traditional Boat Festival will celebrate all aspects of Scottish maritime heritage from 2-5 July in Portsoy. A major event in the Homecoming 2009 calendar, the festival has been extended by two days this year to include a symposium of fascinating speakers who will talk about nautical traditions ranging from early boat building to sea shanty and gansey knitting.

Nigel Irens, world-renowned yacht designer who designed Ellen McArthur's yacht, will be discussing current and future design as part of the speaker's symposium. Bjorn Arve and Johanne Tvedten from Norway will give children opportunities to discover boat-building skills and demonstrate some of the traditional techniques.

Roger Goodyear, Chairman of the Scottish Traditional Boat Festival says, "The event has been greatly supported by Homecoming 2009 and ties in significantly with the initiative. The festival will be bringing people back to Scotland and their maritime roots, as well as allowing those that live here to re-connect with their heritage. This is also reflected in the line up of international speakers.

"Last year was a great success with about 100 boats and over 14,000visitors attending, and the Scottish Traditional Boat Festival will be even bigger this year. As well as doubling the length of the festival we have considerably expanded its content and hope to attract even more people.

"The aim of this great event is to highlight the rich traditions of the area which of course go beyond building superb wooden craft to include such as gansey knitting, which varied across the ports of the North East. A gansey is a seamless knitted jumper worn by fishermen to protect them from the elements. Each village was thought to have their own distinctive gansey pattern, to help identify a man if he was lost at sea."

Knitting and weaving will also play a major part of the festival to celebrate maritime traditions. The world's fastest knitter Hazel Tindall will be demonstrating, and Norman Kennedy, who is known across the world for his skills in knitting, weaving and singing, will be making the trip from America back home to his north east roots for the Scottish Traditional Boat Festival.

Roger says, "Music is central to maritime traditions, and to the festival. The theme this year will be around shanty. Our non stop progamme of music, song and dance will feature traditional musicians and signers from around the world, including Norman Kennedy and shanty expert Bob Walser.

Bob will be coming from America following his appearance at Mystic Seaport in Maine. And we're delighted to have The Donnie Munro Band headlining the Friday evening Showcase Concert, a performance which will kick the weekend proceedings off with a bang"

Marie Christie Project Director Homecoming Scotland 2009 said: "This is a fantastic event which has gone from strength to strength each year, we are delighted that the Scottish Traditional Boat Festival is part of the national Homecoming celebrations".

As well as demonstrations and performances, people can go to the Food Fair at the Wally Green to sample the finest produce from a range of local and national Scottish producers. There will also be family fun at Adventure Land at Loch Soy and for the more energetic there's the 2k Fun Run and the 10K and 20k Road Runs on the Sunday morning.

The renovated Salmon Bothy, which opened at last year's festival, is now a fully-fledged museum of Portsoy's history and the salmon fishery. It will showcase exhibitions, demonstrations and entertainment during the event and its fully equipped genealogical rearch facility will prove popular with visitors wishing to explore their roots in this year of Homecoming. The festival brings together heritage and the celebration of maritime traditions with a variety of activities to suit everyone, making this an exciting and unmissable event.

For more information about the Scottish Traditional Boat Festival call 01261 842951.

Photo
Featuring in the photo is the 'Isabella Fortuna' from Wick at last years Portsoy Boat Festival. The Isabella Fortuna is a regular visitor to the Portsoy boat festival and will be on show in all her glory at the Boat Festival in Wick 26th, 27th 28th June 2009. See
www.caithness.org/wickharbourfest/index.htm

Isabella Fortuna
For more information and phots about the Isabella Fortuna see www.caithness.org/history/wickheritagecentre/isabellafortuna/index.htm

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