Highland and Island crews compete at Aberdeen boat festival

Skiff crews from Ullapool and Stornoway Rowing Clubs will be competing at this year’s Aberdeen Asset Management Scottish Traditional Boat Festival.

Thousands of visitors are expected to attend the 21st annual festival which takes place in Portsoy, Aberdeenshire from June 27th to 29th.

The Festival forms part of Homecoming Scotland’s 2014 exciting programme of events.

Traditional wooden boats from all over the UK and beyond will congregate in the historic 17th century Portsoy harbour.

Visitors will be able to learn how to sail a coracle, hop aboard restored fishing vessels, and see the crews of the skiffs battle it out on the open seas in a fiercely competitive regatta.

The competing rowers will also be in the company of an Olympic champion. London 2012 Gold Medal winner Katherine Grainger will join The Skiffettes, a group of local woman who built their own skiff – a traditional coastal rowing boat – which they painted bright pink and named ‘Soy Quine’.

Katherine will row with the Skiffettes on open water from Portsoy Harbour on Friday morning (27 June).

Look out for the Skiffers too, a group of local men who built their rowing boat, many of whom are husbands and partners of the Skiffettes, and will be rowing the ‘Soy Loon’ at the festival.

Katherine will also lay the foundation stone for The PORT (Portsoy Organisation for Restoration and Training) Boatshed project on the first day of the Scottish Traditional Boat Festival.

The Boatshed project in the north east town is the flagship development for the Festival, converting a currently derelict building into a community resource to help preserve traditional boat building and sailing skills.

Chairman of the Aberdeen Asset Management Scottish Traditional Boat Festival, Roger Goodyear says: “We have a record 17 skiffs registered for racing events at the 2014 Scottish Traditional Boat Festival, so it looks to be an outstanding and competitive regatta.

“It is also a huge honour for us to welcome Katherine to the festival and we are delighted that she will lay the foundation for The Boatshed project. We are really looking forward to seeing her join one of our local crews in Portsoy harbour.”

As well as the skiff events there are many more attractions to enjoy at the Scottish Traditional Boat Festival including live music, traditional boat building, craft demonstrations, sailing and much more.

The event will welcome people from all over the world, bringing together many cultures to celebrate the annual Festival.