The Scottish Traditional Boat Festival, Portsoy.
Portsoy is about halfway between Inverness and Aberdeen. The Annual festival puts a special emphasis on boat building, restoration and sailing. I have sailed there twice and day-visited without a boat twice more. It is a community project and for the event the town is completly shut-off and shuttle-bus arrangements takes you into the old harbour from the car parks.
I attended in 2009 and stayed in a house right by the harbour for the week leading up to the event with my 2nd oldest boat ‘Kyle Lea’. It was a great week with over 16,000 visitors over 4 days. The sailing was becalmed but there was a huge swell coming up the Firth. It took ages to sail back into the harbour as I refused to get the oars out in case it seemed that could not sail with assistance!
Do not be deceived by the flatness of the water - there was a huge swell out in the firth which made sailing in the troughs very difficult as the boat wallow about until picked up by the next swell.
I returned for the day in 2011 and luckily had competent crew as waves were quite choppy. I can certainly recommend it for the vintage boat owner - its is a great event which attracts thousands of people.
The large house with the red doors was were we stayed for the week. It was a converted warehouse and was just in a superb setting. We helped in the organisation of the boat festival by manning the 'Boat Reception and Registration Desk'. The organiser wanted us to meet The Princess Royal who opened the event on the Saturday and much to our mothers horror did our very best to avoid her, at one point closing the reception tent door as she walked up towards us - that I might add was my brothers idea!
Return visit and the weather this time was 'tricky' left over wwaves from a recent storm out in the North Sea made the sailing interesting!
There are two harbours in Portsoy. The original one built in 1652 uses large stones set vertically, apparently because it was believed that this made them less likely to be washed away by the sea. The theory seem to have worked, because the Old Harbour still stands today. The 'New Harbour built in 1825 was storm damaged in 1839.