THE Scottish Traditional Boat Festival at Portsoy is on the crest of a wave after acquiring the substantial assets of another local maritime association.
The festival, which last year attracted more than 20,000 visitors to its annual summer celebrations, is set to expand after taking on the assets of Portsoy Maritime Heritage Trust, which was dissolved in April.
The trust decided to hand over its property, financial reserves and nine traditional vessels to the festival. The property is a derelict building at Portsoy harbour, which the festival organisers now hope to develop into a workshop for their own Faering (a double-ended North Sea craft) boat-building project.
Festival committee chairman Roger Goodyear said: “We are excited about taking on the trust’s assets, creating as it does the further development of our key objectives of providing opportunities for people to enjoy, learn about and participate in the maritime and cultural heritage of the north-east.
“Practically speaking, the derelict property by the Shore Inn will provide an immediate home for the well-established Faering project. In the medium to long term, it is planned to develop the property so that it can provide a year-round facility for boat-building and restoration for folk of all ages, but for the young in particular.
“It is also hoped that as many as possible of the fine vessels collected over the years by the heritage trust, and stored near Portsoy, will be restored and put to use, with some ideally providing sail training opportunities.
“The maritime heritage will now become a division of the festival, joining the festival itself and the Salmon Bothy. While a single company limited by guarantee and a registered charity, each division will run its day-to-day financial operations separately, ensuring that income is ring-fenced for the division for which it has been donated or raised.”
Mr Goodyear added that he was pleased that some members of the dissolved trust would remain involved with the festival group activities.
The boat festival has enjoyed dramatic growth as an attraction since the first one in 1994.