WHILE Scotland welcomes the world in 2014 for Homecoming, the nation’s leading celebration of maritime and seafaring culture will welcome the largest ever gathering of historic vessels in its 21-year history.
The Aberdeen Asset Management Scottish Traditional Boat Festival - a key attraction in the calendar of events for Homecoming – will celebrate with an extended programme spanning three days from June 27-29.
Thousands of visitors from home and abroad will descend on the picturesque town of Portsoy on the Aberdeenshire coast to take part in the festival, which is based around the historic 17th century harbour.
Organisers expect to host the event’s largest ever gathering of heritage craft, with strong interest from visiting seafarers from Norway, Denmark, Holland, Germany and England. Scottish Traditional Boat Festival chairman Roger Goodyear says that while 2014 will be a significant year for Scotland, so too will it be for the maritime community.
He explains: “This year will see the launch and inaugural meeting of the North Sea Ring – an international organisation which sets out to link up the maritime cultural heritage in communities around the North Sea.
“This initiative is aimed at people and organisations involved in traditional wooden boat use and building, including enthusiasts, educators, boat builders and those who are simply very passionate about historic craft.
“We plan to have representatives from a number of North Sea communities, meaning that this year’s festival will have a truly international flavour for the many additional visitors we expect in this Homecoming year.
“It will also be a landmark year for us in that it will see the official opening of The Boatshed – an exciting initiative being undertaken by the Portsoy Organisation for Restoration and Training (PORT).
“This historic building right by the harbour will offer a permanent home for PORT and help to satisfy a demand – which we are already discovering is significant – for training in traditional boatbuilding skills and restoration.”
The Scottish Traditional Boat Festival offers a unique blend of sailing, boatbuilding and traditional skills, crafts and rural heritage, food and drink, music and sport. 2014 will also see the culmination of a three-year arts project which celebrates Homecoming.