Portsoy Boat Festival

Ahoy Portsoy Boat Festival

We went to Portsoy Boat Festival for one day and this was the worst decision of my life. In future, I am booking a cottage for the full weekend so if you are reading this and you live in Portsoy, I’m stealing your house.

Portsoy is your typical little coastal village in Aberdeenshire with cute wee houses, a cute wee harbour and even cuter wee boaties. We drive through Portsoy every time we hit the streets of Inverness and every time we comment on how pretty it is.

So when I heard that there was a Boat Festival and because I love boats, even though I’m sea sick, I was willing to gulp down some anti nausea and bring out waves of Boat puns for an afternoon. Sometimes you just need to seas the day. Scott said he only went because of pier pressure and made some comment about me being a sand witch but I think he was just being stern.

You crafty devil

The festival takes over the whole village and there are hundreds of nosy beavers checking out the endless supplies of crafts, local hot shots and drooling munch. There were some stars aboard this year and I just had to share it with all of you love doves.

Upon arrival at our new surroundings, we parked the old Passat and skipped the shuttle bus seeing as these boots were made for walking. Our first stop was at a lovely little Art Fair. There are some bloody talented people round these roots, let me tell you.

Our next stop was at the Curiosity Shoppe, a magically vintage little nook on Portsoys Main Street. I counted around 50 clocks, primarily grandfathers but granny may have been hiding in the corner. It reminded me a little of Diagon Alley in Harry Potter.

I like big boats and I cannot lie

The people piling up the hill with bags full of goodies, pints and nibbles left me wondering what kind of glory was waiting at the bottom. Wandering down to the harbour, I felt like a kid in a sweet shop. Old mannies singing folk music and food stands selling strawberries and cream. It’s a kind of magic. Little did I know quite the extend of the Portsoy Boat Festival.

I think it can be easy to not realise quite what is on your door step unless you explore. The Portsoy Boat Festival brings attention to the historic buildings around the harbour and we went in to every single one. Many local and widely Scottish businesses take to these buildings boasting heritage and wonderful attractions. Superb for the kids, even better for the adults.

We visited a Portsoy, Past and Present exhibit with lots of old photos, archives and artefacts from the good old days. Scott noticed the man behind the counter was drinking what he thought was an energy drink but it turned out to be a can of Strongbow. I guess he was toasting to the past and the present. Although I can see his future may include a headache.

A booze cruise

Portsoy Boat Festival is definitely a boozy event, every second person was carrying the obligatory plastic pint and I couldn’t think of a better place for an afternoon dram. There are various musicians playing in different areas and the entertainment is second to none.

Build me a reputation and I’ll build you a boat

If you have kids or excited 24 year olds, taking them into a boatbuilder shed is an absolute must. Scott made me aware that he wants to recreate the boat shed in the garage but that’s definitely a conversation for a never time. In all seriousness, it was pretty jazzy to see boats in the making. Scott made me aware that there was a raffle to win a boat but a little like the garage situation, this wasn’t for me. I hope whoever won that boat enjoys it and doesn’t have sea sickness.

The Vikings are Back

A big marky (marquee) housed some very friendly Northlink Ferries representatives willing to answer all of your water taxi questions. In this line of work, ferries, planes and trains take over the average bus in terms of transport. We are always on the road so I made sure to pick up booklets for exploring Orkney and Shetland for future trips. I definitely didn’t pick up lots of freebies for my dog… obviously.

She was delighted with the goodies we brought home for her. Plenty of opportunities to donate a few pennies for Royal National Lifeboat Institution (RNLI) which is a great cause.

The hills have eyes

We even did some exercise, on a Sunday. I know, crazy scenes. When I say exercise, I mean we walked up a hill so Scott could take a photo of a dolphin. You read that right. This hill beside the harbour has serious coastal view goals and watching those waves crash off those rocks reminded me of the mood I woke up in this morning. How romantic.

Food Glorious Food, Booze Glorious Booze

All this exploring is thirsty work and waiting for us was the mother of all food tents. Foodies, drinkers and thirsty thinkers, this is the place to be. There was a vast array of tasters in the Scottish food and drink finery. I just about resisted from nibbling too much but was hit with a case of Monkfish scampi and chips and the rest is history.

Unfortunately I never got the chance to do much gin tasting but that’s maybe a good thing or this article would be written backwards, upside down and in Dutch.

My verdict

This one isnt up for debate, next year I’m taking in the whole weekend, in stilts, with a large gin and I think you should join me. What a wonderful event for the whole family with some brilliant local boats, banter, entertainment and nibbles. I left my heart at Portsoy Boat Festival and I’ll be returning for it next year.



The Chief.