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Dive In to The Scottish Traditional Boat Festival’s Digital Debut

Ahoy Portsoy Celebrates the Year of Coasts and Waters Online

Organisers of one Scotland’s leading celebrations of maritime heritage are encouraging audiences to register to be part of its digital debut, Ahoy Portsoy.

Scottish Traditional Boat Festival fans can sign up to become part of history when the event goes online for the first time on Saturday, June 26.

The full festival programme will be free to view through a link sent to all who register here:

Portsoy’s renowned boat festival, which annually draws in 16,000 visitors to the Aberdeenshire town, is being delivered digitally with the backing of EventScotland as part of the Year of Coasts and Waters 20/21.

David Urquhart, chairman of the Scottish Traditional Boat Festival hopes the festival spirit will sweep the region, as well as wider Scotland and beyond, thanks to the unique way to savour the 2021 programme.

“It’s certainly been a different approach for us to take this year,” said Mr Urquhart. “Instead of bringing festival lovers to Portsoy, we’re taking the festival to them using the power of the internet.

“We’ve got great original content that will showcase the unique qualities of our region and the relationship between community and coastline, to entertain audiences at home and far beyond our shores.

“So come and see how we take the sea and coast, along with boats, maritime traditions, and festival friends, and package that into an online event.

“You might not feel the sand between your toes, but you will be wowed by how our committee has responded to current times to ensure that the show can go on safely while the pandemic remains part of our lives.

“Whether a festival regular, or just curious about our special part of Scotland, we’d urge you not to miss out by signing up now. By registering it ensures you will receive the link to access our online festival when it goes live.”

The virtual programme remains under wraps, but will include a host of festival favourites covering food, drink, dance, music, crafts, entertainments and of course boats and seafaring activities.

Jo Robinson, VisitScotland’s Regional Director for Aberdeen, Aberdeenshire and Moray Speyside, said: “We are delighted to be supporting the 2021 Scottish Traditional Boat Festival as part of Scotland’s Year of Coasts and Waters. This year’s festival offers a unique opportunity for people to experience the area’s dramatic coastline and maritime heritage in a digital format, providing inspiration for future visits.”

Well established as one of Scotland’s top coastal crowd-pulling events, the festival programme is normally delivered in and around Portsoy’s picturesque 17th century historic harbour.

It did not take place in 2019 due to the pandemic, and in April, organisers announced bold plans to switch to an exclusive online format to ensure its presence in 2021. The virtual offering will provide a taster of what’s to come as it prepares to welcome festival lovers back to Portsoy in June 2022.

This year’s festival has been awarded funding from EventScotland as part of the Year of Coasts and Waters 20/21, and the creation of a truly memorable virtual festival will celebrate Scotland’s coasts and waters in a format which will shine a spotlight on these vital elements of our landscape.

Scotland’s coasts and waters have shaped our history: from fishing and textiles to whisky and wave power they have influenced our culture, our stories, our way of life.

Whether you want to navigate your way around distant isles or canals, experience Scotland’s maritime heritage at a visitor attraction, enjoy Scotland’s abundant natural larder or discover Scotland’s wildlife on a local boat trip – Scotland’s coasts and waters are perfect for the get-away-from-it-all adventure.

Portsoy’s two-day 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, attracting an international audience.

In 2019, it won best cultural event/festival at the Aberdeen City & Shire Tourism Awards and earlier this year was named Scottish festival of the year by Prestige Awards.

Find out more about the Scottish Traditional Boat Festival on social media at @STBFPortsoy #ahoyportsoy or at


Scotland, Aberdeenshire, Portsoy ©KMansfield
Scottish Traditional Boat Festival 2009

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