Banffshire Coast News

Programme announced for 7th Haal Folk Festival in June
Feb 24th 2016

The programme for the 7th Haal Folk Festival has now been announced.

To download the full programme, click here.

Top Scots singer Robyn Stapleton will headline the Jimmy McBeath Memorial Concert, supported by the Mabel Duncan Band.  Thomas McCarthy, Tom Spiers, Artur Watson and fiddler Sarah Beattie complete the Friday bill.

Saturday is packed with workshops and opportunities to sing and play.  The evening concert is to be opened by Huntly lass Iona Fyfe and her band of Royal Conservatoire of Scotland students.  The Jerimiahs, an award-winning Dublin-based band, will be next on stage, and the evening rounds off with top English folk act Simpson, Cutting and Kerr - each very well known as solo artists, coming together to form a very formidable trio.

There will also be a family ceilidh and Artie Trezise, who founded the Singing Kettle, returns to entertain the youngsters.

Many of the events are in the Town Hall, local cafes and licensed premises.

3rd Portsoy Bothy Book Festival
Feb 24th 2016

The 3rd Annual Portsoy Bothy Book Festival will launch with an excitiing author event for children in the Town Hall.

Badger the Mystical Mutt, written by Lyn McNicol and Laura Jackson, will finish a tour of primary schools and libraries in Aberdeenshire at the festival on Saturday 12th March 2016.  Badger's first book was placed at No. 1 on the Daily Record's children's book list.

Saturday 12th March will also feature a vintage tea party at the Salmon Bothy hosted by authors Aline Templeton, who has written 13 crime novels and been published in the USA and several European countries, and Maggie Craig, the recognised authority on female involvement in the Jacobite rising of 1745. 

Tickets for all events are available from Portsoy Ice Cream Shop, Seafield Street, Portsoy, or by phoning Moira Stewart, Festival Committee Member, on 01261 843455.

Museum lands coveted status
Jan 26th 2016

The Portsoy Salmon Bothy's museum has been awarded full accreditation by Museums Galleries Scotland.  The award is of great credit to the Salmon Bothy sub-group and volunteers who give their time and efforts to the facility and its operations.

The Portsoy Salmon Bothy Museum is made up of three chambers in a former ice house, and the group strives to bring together a collection of local artefacts to display to the public.

Members are currently preparing the collections for the new season opening at Easter, through to October.

The group is keen to increase its pool of volunteers; anyone happy to assist and looking for more information should e-mail contact@salmonbothy.org.uk.

And watch out for the film shows coming up in 2016 - see www.salmonbothy.org.uk for more information.

Distillery scoops award at premier dram contest
Dec 30th 2015

Glenglassaugh Distillery's 30-year-old has won a bronze medal at one of the most important whisky competitions in the calendar.

The malt enjoyed success at the annual Malt Maniacs competition.  There were a total of 12 other medals for BenRiach and GlenDronach whiskies, which are part of the same group.

The Malt Maniacs are a worldwide group of whisky lovers made up of amateur connoisseurs and profssional whisky writers, with the judging panel drawn from the group's amateur ranks.  The Maniacs have been conducting their annual competitions since 2003 and it has evolved into one of the most important and independent whisky competitions in the whisky calendar.

As well as winning these coveted Malt Maniacs medals, the organisation has won a further 10 medals at the IWSC awards, announced record profits and a major £25 million investment, and they became the Global Whisky Distiller of the Year at the Icons of Whisky awards.  The single cask releases represent the most exclusive whiskies from their warehouse.

Famous faces finish filming Whisky Galore
Aug 25th 2015

The remake of the 1949 film "Whisky Galore" has now completed filming in and around the Portsoy area.

The original film is based on real-life events popularised by Compton Mackenzie in his 1947 book which was then made into a film by Ealing Studios - nominated for a BAFTA in 1950.  The story of Scottish islanders trying to plunder 50,000 cases of whisky from a stranded ship is still as entertaining as it was then.

Actors attached to the film have been seen on set and around the Banffshire area, including Eddie Izzard, Gregor Fisher (famous for his role as Rab C. Nesbitt), Ellie Kendrick (best known for her role in "Game of Thrones"), Naomi Battrick (who appeared in Stonemouth, filmed in Macduff last year) and Kevin Gunthrie from the musical "Sunshine on Leith".

The film will be released next year, and it is hoped the production will provide a boost to tourism and the local economy.

A dram fine achievement
Aug 7th 2015

Glenglassaugh Distillery near Portsoy has scooped a gold medal for its 30 Years Old single malt whisky at this year's International Wine and Spirits Competition (IWSC) - an internationally recognised badge of quality.  The local firm also picked up silver medals for its Revival, Torfa and Evolution expressions.

The Glenglassaugh 30 Years Old was the first release from the distillery after BenRiach took over the distillery in 2013, and has been critically acclaimed in all the company's markets.

Owners BenRiach Distilery Company won 10 medals in total, including 2 gold and 4 silver outstanding, across its three brands, which also include GlenDronach and BenRiach.  Rounding off the excellent performance at the awards, the company was again shortlisted for the 2015 UK Spirits Producer award.

It is a huge achievement for a small independent to make the UK spirits producer shortlist in the company of global companies.

Locals flock to casting call for film extras
Jul 14th 2015

Scores of people have turned out for auditions in Portsoy for the remake of the classic comedy "Whisky Galore". 

A modern-day version of the iconic 1949 fim will start shooting in Portsoy on 26th July.  The cast and crew will be there for three weeks, and a large number of extras are needed.

The film tells the story of how Scottish islanders removed the whisky cargo from a ship which ran aground.  The SS Politican sank off the Scottish island of Eriskay in 1941, and 8 years later, the film "Whisky Galore" told the story of how the locals took the whisky and hid it from the excise men.

Following on from the filming of Stonemouth, it is another boost for the Banffshire Coast area.

Rowers delighted with Soy Quine's new lease of life
Jul 2nd 2015

The skiff Soy Quine is all ready for the Scottish Traditional Boat Festival this weekend - after a lengthy re-fit and upgrade by dedicated members of Portsoy Coastal Rowing Club.

The glamorous pink lady saw final outfitting and sea trials, with rowers agreeing that not only does the boat look really special, she handles better than ever.

Through experience, the team has learned a great deal about what works best for rowers.  So, they have repositioned the benches and designed new footrests, which makes rowing more comfortable.  Rowlocks and oars have also been re-designed to make them more efficient; and the beautifully crafted new tiller and rudder created by one of the volunteers are what makes this re-fit extra special.

The Quine's brother, Soy Loon, has been working extra hard, with rowers taking him to sea at every opportunity.  His turn for a re-fit will come later this year.

Anyone who would like to try rowing - from 16 to 80 - with or without experience - is very welcome to come along to regular Tuesday and Thursday club nights at Portsoy Harbour.

Club rowers have already rowed at Collieston, Findhorn and Catterline this year; but the first big competition comes this weekend at the Scottish Traditional Boat Festival on 4th and 5th July - with 14 teams entered.

The number of new skiffs built by communities around the Moray Firth continues to increase.  Although started in Scotland, this has become a popular enterprise worldwide.  Nearby, new boats have recently taken to the water at Burghead and Findhorn, with Findochty expected to launch very soon. 

A brand new skiff has also been built by youngsters at Banff Academy - the first by a school in the area - as part of a unique boatbuilding course under the direction of the Portsoy Organisation for Restoration and Training - a core subject, not a special project.  The launch of the vessel, together with 2 other small boats built by youngsters involved in academy boatbuilding, will take place at 1 p.m. on Friday 3rd July at Portsoy Harbour.

For more information about the club, visit Portsoy Coastal Rowing Club's Facebook page, or contact Wendy on 07717 220018.


Glenglassaugh Owners named Distillers of the Year
Dec 18th 2014

The Edinburgh-based owners of the award-winning Glenglassaugh distillery have been named as Scotland's distillers of the year by the industry's highly influential "Whisky Magazine".

The BenRiach company has been awarded the highly coveted Icons of Whisky 2015 accolade.  The award recognises the people and places behind Scotland's great whiskies and celebrates companies and individuals for their significant contribution to the Scotch whisky industry. 

The company is currently trading in some 40 countries worldwide with other emerging markets entering the negotiation stage - so the future for all of their brands is tremendously exciting.

All 3 of the company's distilleries produce unique whiskies with extraordinary depth, balance and character. 

New Life for Derelict Cottages in Portsoy
Nov 24th 2014

Historic sail-making cottages in Portsoy are set to be regenerated in a £1.8 million project.

Derelict cottages at the Back Green, Portsoy will be restored and converted into bunkhouse accommodation for walkers, cyclists and other visitors to the area.  Confirmation of an £873,500 grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund has signalled the green light for the project.

This is the first scheme in Scotland to be awarded funding through HLF's Heritage Enterprise scheme and is being undertaken by the North East Scotland Preservation Trust (NESPT).  Once completed, the 4-star bunkhouse - which will accommodate up to 25 visitors - will be operated as a community business by the Scottish Traditional Boat Festival.  The bunkhouse will also provide accommodation for participants on the residential boat building courses to be run at the new Boatshed facility under construction at the harbour.

The project has already received funding from Historic Scotland through the Portsoy Conservation Area Regeneration Scheme and from the Architectural Heritage Fund.  The outcome of a funding application to the Coastal Communities Fund for £450,000 will be known in December.

The buildings, known as the Back Green, comprise a former sail-making loft and associated cottages.  The category-B listed buildings are located in the Portsoy Conservation Area, close to the town's caravan park.  Traditional materials will be used in the restoration of the 19th century building used for sail-making.  Among the traditional materials to be used in the makeover are timber-slated roofs and clay pantiles.

Portsoy Salmon Coble Exhibition on at Portsoy Primary
Oct 28th 2014

The Portsoy Organisation for Restoration and Training (PORT) salmon coble project, which got underway earlier this year, is recreating from scratch one of the Moray Firth's most iconic and easily recognised historic fishing boats.  The build, which is being carried out by a band of dedicated and committed volunteers, is a keel-up recreation using traditional raw materials and construction methods.

The project volunteers have created an exhibition entitled "The Coble and the King of Fish" to demonstrate the vital role these small boats once played in Scotland's commercial salmon fishing industry.  Sponsored by the Heritage Lottery Fund, one of the project's key aims is to inform the wider community about related history and traditions.  The exhibition consists of 12 bespoke, boat-shaped illustrated panels and a variety of specially chosen artefacts.  Through an informative selection of illustrations and texts, visitors are able to follow the story of the king of fish - the salmon, the historic development of coastal salmon fishing at Portsoy and the important role played by the coble.  The exhibition explains how these often-overlooked small boats were constructed and how and why PORT is trying to preserve this important area of our heritage by building one from scratch. 

In September, the exhibition went to the Orkney International Science Festival, and in January 2015, the PORT team will be mounting their project exhibition for MSPs at the Scottish Parliament. 

The exhibition is currently on show at Portsoy Primary School where it has been employed as an important local marine heritage educational tool.

Portsoy community aim for dolphin statue
Sep 17th 2014

Eight years ago, Carn Standing met a young woman on the Doonie beside the remains of the gable end at Portsoy Harbour. She was disabled and very ill, but had been camping there for a number of weeks. He asked her why she was there, to which she replied that she’d been waiting for the dolphins. Carn was inspired by her spirit and determination, and since this encounter, seeing dolphins has always reminded him of this brave woman. This prompted him to create a life size dolphin sculpture out of mild steel and galvanized to protect it from rust, for the 2014 'Scottish Traditional Boat Festival' in Portsoy.  

Dolphins in a lot of cultures around the world symbolise community and harmony and due to such a positive response from locals and visitors alike after seeing the sculpture poised on the harbour wall during the Boat Festival weekend, Carn has graciously agreed to give the Portsoy community first option to purchase this beautiful sculpture. A fundraising effort has begun for this cause.  

In the last 30 years Carn has created a substantial body of work ranging from life-sized sculptures of animals cast in bronze and stone, to designs and sculptures for film, television and major theme parks. His commissioned works are in private collections around the world and some have also been shown at international events such as Crufts.  He sculpts with a wide range of materials including ceramics, mild steel, bronze and glass, often combining more than one material. All the work that he creates is made by him alone, by hand, capturing the heart and soul of the maker.   

Donations are being collected at Beggars Belief Coffee Shop and The Shore Inn near the harbour or if you would like any information about donating or assisting with this fundraising effort, please email Lee at leemail44@gmail.com




Distillery raises a glass to competition success
Aug 7th 2014

Glenglassaugh Distillery won an outstanding gold medal for its 30-year-old malt at this year's International Wine and Spirits Competition.

The distillery, owned by BenRiach Distillery Company, also received a gold for its 40-year-old malt, an outstanding silver medal for its Torfa brand, and silver medals for its Evolution and Revival expressions.

The International Wine and Spirit Competition is one of the most prestigious in the world.  It exists to award excellence to wines and spirits worldwide, encouraging consumer and trade recognition for quality products.

Judging for the competition is unique in that it has two stages; first, the products are tasted blind by expert panels, selected from over 300 fully experienced and qualified industry judges.  Then, products which receive the top medals are subject to technical analysis before results are released; this crucial stage ensures winners receive complete validation.

Guide shines a light on our secret stills
Jun 12th 2014

Three local distilleries feature in a new guide - "The Secret Malts of Aberdeenshire" - which highlights the North-east's hidden distillery treasures.

Macduff Distillery, Portsoy's Glenglassaugh Distillery and the Glendronach Distillery near Aberchirder are among the new Aberdeenshire guide's "active and lost" whisky producing facilities.

"The Secret Malts of Aberdeenshire" provides a wonderful insight into the whisky heritage of our region.  Of the 8 working distilleries featured in the guide, most are relatively small in scale, but each has its own distinctive history, style and taste.  4 have small visitor centres and shops, offering regular tours led by guides; while 3 of the featured distilleries are not officially open to the public, informal tours can be organised.

Copies of the guide are now widely available free at each of the featured distilleries, at local visitor information centres, with details also available online at www.aberdeenshire.gov.uk.

Glenglassaugh Distillery raises a glass to new malt
Apr 15th 2014

Portsoy's Glenglassaugh Distillery has launched a new richly peated Highland single malt that will now be part of its core range along with Revival and Evolution.

Glenglassaugh Torfa, with its smoky, peaty, phenolic nature, is a unique expression and quite different to the usual type of whisky produced in the Highlands.

Torfa is described as having a brooding, edgy character and is to be found at the darker end of the spectrum.  Its name takes its inspiration from the Old Norse language with which the Scots dialect spoken in North-east Scotland has an affinity, and translates to "turf" or "peat".


Homes sought for visitors to boat festival
Apr 15th 2014

Householders living on the doorstep of Portsoy's Scottish Traditional Boat Festival are being asked to help organisers accommodate what could be one of the biggest crowds in the event's history.

A huge influx of international visitors, performers and crews is expected to attend this summer's event from 27th to 29th June, and more beds are needed in the town and surrounding area to cope with demand.  Organisers are asking local residents with spare rooms if they would be prepared to open their homes to provide accommodation, and at the same time allow visitors to see Scotland through the eyes of people who live and work here.

The event has been expanded from 2 to 3 days, and the launch of the North Sea Ring - a new organisation which aims to bring together groups from across Europe with a common interest in boatbuilding and maritime traditions - will lead to an increase in overseas visitors.  There will also be a greater number of heritage vessels on show in the historic 17th century harbour, and a large contingent of coastal rowing clubs from across the UK taking part in the regatta.

The festival is one of the main events in the Year of Homecoming 2014 which aims to celebrate all that is great about Scotland.

Anyone who is prepared to host visitors during the festival should contact Shona Murray (01261 842951) or e-mail her on shona@stbfportsoy.com.

For more information about the event and to buy tickets at early bird rates, visit www.stbfportsoy.com


The Bothy Goes To War
Mar 5th 2014

Portsoy's award-winning Salmon Bothy will be playing its part in this summer's UK-wide commemorative events marking the centenary of the outbreak of World War 1.

An exhibition is being created to recall the impact on the town and surrounding area of the 4-year conflict which began in August 1914.  The exhibition will include stories of men from Portsoy who perished in the fighting and whose names are remembered on the town's war memorial.

The World War 1 exhibition will share top billing on the Bothy's summer programme with another exhibition linked to the Portsoy Organisation for Restoration and Training's (PORT) salmon coble building project.  The trailblazing project to recreate a traditional vessel of the type used by generations of Moray Firth salmon netters is currently underway at the PORT group's workshop in South High Street.  The exhibition will tell the story of the development of salmon fishing along the Moray Firth coast, featuring the art of coble building and displaying the techniques used in the boats' construction.

Banffshire Dram Hailed as "Perfection"
Mar 5th 2014

A single malt from the Glenglassaugh Distillery has been hailed in the 2014 edition of expert Jim Murray's "Whisky Bible".

The Distillery's 39-year-old Massandra collection Aleatico won the 35-40 years single cask award with 96.5 points out of 100.

Jim Murray described the whisky as "perfection - one of the few whiskies this year which has made me sit bolt upright in my seat.  Whisky of the very rarest beauty and one of the finest to land on my tasting desk for a great many years."


Starry line-up on the cards for Haal Festival
Feb 27th 2014

Portsoy's 5th Haal Folk Festival has announced its headliners for the big weekend event on Friday 30th May and Sunday 1st June.

Siobhan Miller - winner of 2013 Scottish Singer of the Year at the Traditional Music Awards in Aberdeen - will take to the stage, as will ex-Fairport Convention fiddler Dave Swarbrick.  Dave will be bringing along a number of fellow performers, including Cathan McConnell and Duncan Wood, to perform at the festival.

Completing the main acts line-up is world renowned singer-songwriter Tommy Sands, from Newry, Northern Ireland, who has been very prominent in the peace movement in many countries as well as his home nation.

A new venue, the Boyne Hotel, will be added to the list of places for sessions and workshops, which will be shared between the Salmon Bothy and the Town Hall.  Concerts and other sessions will be held at the Shore Inn and Beggars Belief.  The main concerts and late-night club will once again be held in the Station Hotel.

For more information, e-mail bobphilips25@live.co.uk



Boat-builders ready to roll
Jan 17th 2014

Portsoy's community boat-building project enthusiasts have started 2014 with their sleeves rolled up ready to start work in earnest on the re-creation of a traditional wooden salmon coble. 

And the Portsoy Organisation for Restoration and Training (PORT) Coble Building Group has extended an invitation to anybody interested in the project to join them.

The group will be hosting an open information session at the Salmon Bothy in Portsoy on Thursday 23rd January at 7.30 p.m.

Anyone who comes along will be brought up to speed on what's been going on to date, and they'll get the lowdown on the next steps in a unique project.  The amazing photographic record of the story of the "Tern" - a beached salmon coble which has been dismantled to provide the group with valuable information - will be on display.  A selection of the film clips of the coble project will also be shown. 

The group is very keen to hear from anybody interested in any aspect of boat building.  Anyone who wants to get involved in the project or just wants to drop in at the workshop on any Monday, Wednesday or Friday will be made very welcome.

And as the year progresses, there will be many more opportunities to get involved in an exciting and innovative project.

Glenglassaugh releases new single malt
Dec 10th 2013

Portsoy's Glenglassaugh Distillery continues to grow with the release of a 40-year old single malt whisky.

With an initial run of about 800 bottles, the single malt will be an on-going product in the distillery's range.

Founded in 1875 by local entrepreneur James Moir, Glenglassaugh has stocks dating back to 1963, and the distillery was mothballed in 1986.  It re-opened in 2008, and was taken over by BenRiach earlier this year.

In August, the owners released their first Glenglassaugh bottling - a 30 year-old single malt - and the new 40 year-old continues the distillery's ability to merge tropical fruits with sherry and oak spice.

The new owners have inherited some astonishingly fine whisky at Glenglassaugh, and they are delighted to launch their second expression almost nine months after taking over the distillery.  There is very strong demand for Glenglassaugh whiskies around the world.

Salmon Bothy scores top tourism accolade
Oct 18th 2013

A north-east harbour building which has been lovingly restored by residents has scored a top tourism accolade.  Portsoy's Salmon Bothy, which attracts more than 3,000 visitors each year, has been upgraded to 4-Star status by VisitScotland. 

The harbour-side building was bought by the Scottish Traditional Boat Festival committee in 2006.  More than £400,000 was raised by volunteers for the restoration project.  After 2 years of work, the bothy was re-opened to the public.  It is now home to a museum, a genealogical research centre and a community facility known as Upstairs at the Bothy.  The bothy is used by local groups, including painting, craft and knitting clubs.  It also offers boatbuilding courses for school children, as well as traditional music via Folk at the Salmon Bothy.  The upstairs section has also been used for exhibitions, parties and even weddings.

The building is managed by a voluntary team and remains part of the Festival committee which is a registered charity. 

Coastal rowing taking off with launch of 2nd boat in Portsoy
Oct 18th 2013

Coastal rowing in Portsoy has really taken off - since the beginning of the original St Ayles Skiff community project in April 2012.

With a registered membership of more than 35 men and women aged between 20 and more than 60, Portsoy Coastal Rowing Club's rowers and boatbuilders have made remarkable progress - with the growth in enthuiasm for rowing requiring a second boat to provide competition and training.

The Soy Quine was launched in March 2013, and the Skifettes took part in competitive rowing for the first time at the 2013 Scottish Traditional Boat Festival, followed closely by the first World Coastal Rowing Championships in Ullapool where they reached the finals in two events at their first attempt.  Since then, the Soy Quine has been taken to Banff, Cullen and Burghead to demonstrate the club's activities.

The Soy Loon was launched on Sunday 13th October.

For more information, go to the group's Facebook page at www.facebook.com/PortsoySkiffettes or visit their website at http://kaydunn08.wix.com/portsoy-skiffettes or phone membership secretary Carol MacDonald on 01261 843960.

Glenglassaugh Distillery releases new malt
Sep 5th 2013

The Benriach Distillery Company, which bought Glenglassaugh in March, has released its first new bottling from the Portsoy distillery since the takeover - a 30-year-old single malt.

Glenglassaugh 30YO was unveiled recently - a 44.8% volume single malt described as a "magnificent and very special Highland single malt" - amber in colour, with a rich, complex and full nose featuring luxurious tropical fruits of peach, mango and banana, complemented with sultanas, sherry and gentle oak spice.

This release is the first of a number of planned developments in response to strong demand for Glenglassaugh in global markets.

Portsoy's Skifettes make debut on world stage
Jul 9th 2013

Portsoy's all-woman rowing crew - the Skifettes - are making their debut on the world stage this week at Ullapool in Wester Ross.

The Skiffettes and their self-built St Ayles skiff - "Soy Quine" - are testing their skills and speed in the Inaugural World St Ayles Skiff Championships.  They join 32 vessels from around the world and around 800 competitors.  The championships have drawn boats and crews from Scotland, England, the Netherlands, Australia and the USA.

This will be the biggest gathering of skiffs anywhere in the UK, and Loch Broom is a spectacular setting. 

A number of activities are also available onshore, including ceilidhs, traditional music performances, sampling local seafood and taking part in arts and crafts sessions.

Further information on the championships is available at www.skiffieworlds.com

Boat building project gets financial boost
Jul 1st 2013

The Scottish Traditional Boat Festival's boat-building arm, Portsoy Organisation for Restoration and Training (PORT), has announced the award of a £57,000 grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund.

They lodged a successful bid to support the building of a traditional wooden Scottish salmon coble, following its progress from the felling of timber through construction to the launch of the completed vessel and beyond.

The project aims not only to produce a wooden coble in the traditional manner, but also to maintain and develop traditional boat-building techniques by involving volunteers of all ages and experiences in a series of workshops to create a body of interested and skilled workers.

If they wish, volunteers can later move on to help restore some of the beautiful old boats inherited by PORT from Portsoy Maritime Heritage.

The coble project aims to raise awareness of local seafaring heritage and traditions, and, at the end of the project, there will be a major exhibition featuring a professionally produced film and DVD charting the progress of the build and a display of pictures, tools and artefacts linked to salmon fishing history in the area.

The finished boat will serve as a workhorse for the Scottish Traditional Boat Festival every year and available to go on display at festivals and maritime exhibitions around the coast.


Museum to open after revamp
May 3rd 2013

Portsoy's Salmon Bothy opens its re-vamped museum on Saturday 4th May.

Over the winter months, volunteers at the Salmon Bothy have been busily re-furbishing the small museum housed in the three, vaulted ice chambers.

Star of the updated exhibition is Jeannie, the lifelike and authentically dressed fisher lass, created by Bothy volunteer, Jack Elliott.  Accompanied by her kist full of personal possessions, she represents the thousands of gutting quines who followed the migrating herring from Shetland down to Yarmouth each year.

In the first of the three ice-chambers, visitors can find out about the development of Portsoy's two harbours.  New items in this chamber include a collection of original boat-building tools and a display of seafaring knots where people can try their hand at securing various items using this once essential skill.  Also available for visitors to try are a selection of block and tackles which would have been seen on all sailing vessels and used for heavy lifting jobs.

Chamber two shows the busy industries once established in Portsoy - including the quarrying of Portsoy marble and the making of buoys for the fishing industry, not forgetting the lively smuggling activities which were once rife in the area.  It also features an original clinker-built pilot boat (descended from the Vikings), complete with splendid sail, an example of the kind of vessel which once sailed from Portsoy's harbours. 

Chamber three features the life history of the salmon, and charts the development of commercial salmon fishing, which flourished in Portsoy until the closure of the fishery in 1990.  A large variety of salmon fishing artefacts are on display which visitors are welcome to try for themselves.

New to this chamber are examples of boats built and sailed by local youngsters in a series of innovative projects undertaken by PORT, the boat building wing of the Scottish Traditiional Boat Festival.

As well as housing the small museum, the Bothy has developed a centre for family history research and has become the hub for all kinds of community activities.

For further information, visit www.salmonbothy.org.uk


Online Whisky Tutorials Whet The Appetite
Jan 17th 2013

Staff at Glenglassaugh Distillery, near Portsoy, are set to become internet TV stars in 2013 following the launch of their own YouTube channel.

Whisky connoisseurs around the world are now just a click away from learning about the distillery's products direct from the people who know them best through a series of on-line tasting notes and tutorials.

The channel went active recently and viewing numbers have been steadily increasing ever since.  The channel is a great opportunity for the team to share their passion for the whiskies that Glenglassaugh produces and to show their products to customers who live on the other side of the world.

The Glenglassaugh YouTube channel can be found at:-




Glenglassaugh's Latest Addition to the Chosen Few Range
Dec 20th 2012

A new single cask bottling has been released by Portsoy's Glenglassaugh Distillery as part of an unusual scheme where staff receive the keys to the warehouse to search out their favourite dram.

The bottling is part of the Banffshire distillery's Chosen Few Range - the first in the series was released in November 2011 as the choice of account manager, Ronnie Routledge.  This time, production manager Mhairi McDonald has opted for a single malt aged in a bourbon barrel.  Only 275 bottles of Mhairi's Chosen Few are available for release.  In addition to choosing her own favourite expression, Mhairi was also asked to develop tasting notes to accompany it. 

The Chosen Few Range is special in that it enables each member of staff to choose a cask of  Glenglassaugh which not only expresses the distillery's style, but their own as well. 

Mhairi's Chosen Few is available from all whisky retailers or the Glenglassaugh Distillery online retail shop at www.glenglassaugh.com.

19th Century Banffshire in new book
Nov 18th 2012

The Keith and District Heritage Group has published a book entitled "Victorian Scenes by William Robb, Solicitor of Keith" which features a series of rare glass plate photographs showing images from Keith, Banffshire and neighbouring counties.  The original full collection of glass plates can be viewed in Moray Council's Heritage Centre in Elgin.

Mr Robb had a great liking for the coast, and included in the book are photographs featuring Buckie, Portknockie, Portsoy and other fishing villages, with the various types of fishing boats of the time identified and named.

Launch of exclusive new single-malt Scotch whisky
Nov 18th 2012

Glenglassaugh Distillery has launched an exclusive new single-malt Scotch whisky. 

The limited-edition malt, named "Evolution", has been matured in bourbon casks and has a totally different set of characteristics from "Revival", the previous release from the distillery, located near Portsoy.  The bottling has extended to only 6,000 bottles, which have been hand-filled.  The feedback from pre-launch tastings in Dufftown, London and Germany has been fantastic.  As it is a limited-edition product which has matured in casks sourced from a distillery in Tennessee, Glenglassaugh are confident of a complete sell-out within a relatively short period.  Glenglassaugh intend to develop "Evolution" in future with a range of different wood styles; the next release is due in 2013. 

"Revival", the first single malt to roll off the production line since the relaunch of Glenglassaugh in 2008 - the most coastal mainland distillery in Scotland - has exceeded all expectations since its release in April 2012. 

New Whisky Visitor Centre Opened
Sep 24th 2012

Glenglassaugh Distillery has launched its new visitor centre, including a cafe, tasting room and shop.  Although the distillery has been taking pre-booked tours since its re-launch in 2009, this is the first time it has been able to open to the public.  The old revenue and customs office has been transformed into a tasting room,with the former staff office providing space for the retail space and a cafe.  All of the work has been done by the company's own in-house maintenance team.  The centre will initially open from Monday to Friday.   

New Unique Malt Whiskies Developed
Sep 24th 2012

Glenglassaugh Distillery has continued its resurgence by creating five unique malt whiskies as part of a deal with a world-renowned winery.  The Distillery has joined forces with Massandra (based in the Crimea) to create a single cask series, with each of the five whiskies given their own unique characteristics and flavour after being finished in casks previously used for maturing fine wine.  Only 1349 bottles have been produced from the five casks which were used to produce the selection which is called The Massandra Connection.

This is the first time that a distillery has been able to use Crimean wine casks in this process.  Previously, the Massandra Winery would use their casks until physical exhaustion and this is the firsrt time that they have allowd the casks to be used outside of the winery.

Massandra is the oldest winery in the Crimea and has been producing fine wines for more than 110 years, winning international acclaim for their exceptional quality.

Glenglassaugh Distillery toasts success
Jul 30th 2012

Staff at Glenglassaugh Distillery, Portsoy, are toasting success this week after winning a gold award for their 45-year-old single malt.

The whisky, which is part of the distillery's Rare Cask series, took the top award in the International Wine and Spirit Competition held at the Innholders' Hall in the City of London.

Judges praised its taste and texture.

Shanty at Boat Festival
Jun 21st 2012

Dozens of youngsters from across the north-east are working on a song to launch this weekend's Scottish Traditional Boat Festival.  Around 50 primary pupils from throughout Banffshire have teamed up with local songwriters to put together their own sea shanty, and will perform their Big Boat Song at the festival's opening night concert in a marquee set up at Portsoy's Wally Green.  The children have been rehearsing for several weeks with members of the Creative Scotland Youth Music Initiative.  The songs written thus far have ranged from ballads about fairies and trips of the zoo to learning the penny whistle.  There's even a song called It's A Long Way to Portsoy Co-op.

Maritime Traditions at Scottish Traditional Boat Festival
Jun 17th 2012

Visitors to this month's Scottish Traditional Boat Festival are being urged to observe centuries-old maritime traditions.  Organisers have produced a tongue-in-cheek guide of do's and don'ts for those visiting Portsoy for its 19th annual show.  The list is based on superstitions which were held by seafaring communities in the north-east.  Many of the beliefs, aimed at warding off bad luck or bringing good fortune, began as tall tales or legends.  Sailors observed a variety of traditions, including pouring wine on the deck and avoiding red-headed people.  It was believed men with red hair would bring bad luck on a journey, but this could be avoided by speaking to the person before they had the chance to say anything first.  Sailors were warned to not throw stones into the seas as it would be seen as disrespectful and result in retaliation such as giant waves and storms.  Women were also advised not to board any ships, as it was commonly believed women had no place at sea. 

Cash boost for Art Project at Boat Festival
May 29th 2012

Portsoy's Scottish Traditional Boat Festival has been awarded nearly £20,000 in a scheme aimed at promoting Scotland's creativity and raising its profile as a tourist destination.

The funding from Creative Scotland is part of a £1.2 million investment in projects across the country, and will see an art project entitled "Ebb and Flow" delivered at the festival by artists Bryan and Carla Angus for the next three years.

The Boat Festival is renowned far and wide for the quality of its maritime heritage offering, but the event is about so much more than boats.  It has built up an enviable reputation for showcasing the very best in traditional and modern arts and crafts, and many of the 16,000 visitors who come to Portsoy over the weekend come specifically for this element of the event.  The award will enable us to take this to a new level, and we are delighted that it provides an opportunity for visitors to actually get involved with the artistic process.

The Festival takes place on 23rd and 24th June 2012.


Bon Voyage for Proud Pageant Boat
May 29th 2012

Obair-Na-Ghaol, the wooden fishing boat built by the Aberdeen Asset Scottish Traditional Boat Festival at Portsoy, has set off on its journey to London to fly the flag for Banffshire at the Thames Diamond Jubilee Pageant.  She will be part of a flotilla of 1000 vessels saluting the Queen as she celebrates 60 years on the throne.  The boat is an exact replica of a scaffie - a traditional herring drifter - named Gratitude BCK 252.  Obair-Na-Ghaol -  the Scots Gaelic for Labour of Love - was built from scratch 14 years ago by Alex Slater, Sinclair Young and Willie Simpson.  The boat has been fitted out with a new engine thanks to Macduff Shipyards and has been freshly painted.  Obair-Na-Ghaol will be returning to Portsoy on the first day of the Aberdeen Asset Scottish Traditional Boat Festival - 23rd June 2012.

3 Banffshire Coast Awards Finalists
May 15th 2012

Three organisations in the Banffshire Coast area have won through in the North-east Regional Finals for Scottish Thistle Awards and now go through to the National Finals in November.

Portsoy's Scottish Traditional Boat Festival started as a small community celebration to mark the 300th anniversary of Portsoy harbour almost 20 years ago and has grown in status to become recognised by VisitScotland as one of the region's flagship tourism events.  Although the emphasis of the Boat Festival is on maritime culture and heritage, the event has expanded over the years to reflect a wide range of associated traditional skills.  There is also a hugely popular food fayre and craft tent, an extensive music programme featuring local and internationally-renowned artists, and sports activities from running to rugby.  This year the festival is making history by playing host to the biggest ever St Ayles skiff coastal rowing regatta.  The Festival received the Award for Best Cultural Event in the North-east.

The Deveron Fishing Festival has been recognised for its success in attracting visitors to the area and boosting the local economy.  A lot of the trade now see the festival and its trade fair as a major event on the UK fishing calendar, and it is fairly unique to be able to hold a fair in an environment where equipment can be shown and tried on the river.  The festival ticks all the boxes in showing off the river to anglers and bringing people to the area.  The community also gets a payback in the benefits to the local economy.  The Festival received the award for the Best Nature-based Experience.

The Spotty Bag Cafe in Banff - part of the famous Spotty Bag Shop - received the regional award for the Best Cafe, Bar or Restaurant in the north-east.

Herring Drifter Trophy in Show
Apr 28th 2012


A marble trophy once given to fishing crews who chased the "silver darlings" will be the centrepiece of the "Our Fishing Heritage" Exhibition at the Salmon Bothy, Portsoy from 4th to 7th May 2012.  The Exhibition will also include photographs, posters, fishing artefacts and a film.  The hand-carved Prunier prize was awarded from the 1930s to 1960s to the drifter which netted the highest crannage of herring in one shot in one night.  The first winner, in 1936, was the Aberdeen-built boat, Boy Andrew, crewed by Portsoy fishermen.  The Prunier Trophy is kept at the Lowestoft Maritime Museum and has been loaned to the Salmon Bothy for the exhibition.  It has been to Portsoy before and is relevant because of the link with the first winner.  The trophy is named after Simone Prunier, who, in 1935, opened a London branch of the Paris restaurant Maison Prunier.  She became aware of declining fortunes in the herring industry and decided to award the trophy as an incentive to fishermen.  The last winner was the Fraserburgh-built drifter Tea Rose in 1966.

Royal Visitor sees refurbished Thames-bound boat at Macduff
Mar 6th 2012

The Princess Royal was given a sneak preview (1st March 2012) of a fishing boat which will take part in the Queen's Diamond Jubilee celebrations.  Macduff Shipyards are involved in the refurbishment of a replica scaffie herring drifter - called Obair-na-Ghaol - which will sail on the Thames at London this summer as part of a huge pageant to mark the monarch's Jubilee.  It belongs to the Portsoy-based Scottish Traditional Boat Festival group and will represent Banffshire's Lord Lieutenant at the celebrations.

Funding Delivers First Major Results
Feb 16th 2012

The first elements of ground-breaking marketing initiatives for the Banffshire Coast area have now been launched.  The website now contains a new section focusing on one of the area's key attractions, Dolphins and Marine Life, as well as ideas for Great Days Out along our coastline.  These features will make it easy for visitors to find useful information not only about the wildlife, but also about the best viewing points and the range of marine attractions to visit.  The three Marine and Wildlife Itineraries provide ideas for great days out along the coastline, giving visitors lots of reasons to spend time here, whether one day, a few days or longer.  In March, the new Area Guide will be launched.

Boat Festival to play role in Year of Creative Scotland
Jan 19th 2012

The 2012 Scottish Traditional Boat Festival will play a role in the Year of Creative Scotland and will have an emphasis on cultural heritage and the area's creative links to Europe and the rest of the world.  Visitors, which usually number in excess of 16,000, will also be able to see traditional boats from far and wide in Portsoy's historic 17th century harbour, along with associated crafts, music, song and dance and the very popular Festival Food Fayre.

Traditional Boat Building and Restoration Base to be created in Portsoy
Jan 16th 2012

Plans to create a traditional boat building and restoration base in Portsoy have taken a major step forward.  The Portsoy Organisation for Restoration and Training (Port) - a subsidiary of the Scottish Traditional Boat Festival group - plan to renovate a derelict property near Portsoy harbour. Two feasibility studies - to look at the buildings (which will include sleeping accommodation for visiting groups) and the business planning/operational side - will be complete by the end of March.  There will be community, environment and tourism benefits from the development; the project will also provide youngsters with an opportunity to develop their skills and confidence.

Portsoy Boat Festival Secures Caravan park
Jan 4th 2012

Aberdeenshire Councillors have agreed to transfer the assets of the caravan site at Portsoy to the Scottish Traditional Boat Festival organisation.

There are now plans for immediate investment in the site to refresh the facilities. In the longer term, the plan is to replace all the facilities and bring the site up to modern-day standards. There are plans to make the Portsoy site the best in Scotland.

The park currently has more  than 30 pitches for static vans, tourers and tents.

Fishing boat replica to set sail and mix with royal party
Jan 4th 2012

A replica of a 19th-century fishing boat will play a part in celebrations to mark the Queen's diamond jubilee.  The Obair-Na-Ghaol - Gaelic for Labour of Love - will be made ready for the event by the Portsoy-based Scottish Traditional Boat Festival group; the boat is a replica of the scaffie Gratitude which was a traditional herring drifter with a dipping lug sail.  The original was built in Portknockie in 1896 and Obair-Na-Ghaol was launched exactly 100 years later after being built at Portsoy.  The vessel will be made ready for the event by volunteers from the festival's restoration and training project.  The humble wooden vessel will join a flotilla on the Thames in London this summer for a spectacular river pageant.  About 1,000 boats from throughout Britain and the Commonwealth will assemble to pay tribute to the Queen. 

Portsoy Ice Cream scoops 10 awards
Nov 16th 2011

Top local ice cream maker and retailer, Portsoy Ice Cream are chillin' out after picking up a record TEN awards in the Ice Cream Alliance contest.

Owner Alex Murray says the only previous time he entered, he won a single diploma, so is delighted with his success.

Winning flavours included their green apple sorbet. The firm produce no fewer than 100 flavours, but not all are available at the same time!

Portsoy Ice Cream prides itself in responding to customer suggestions for flavours, and use local producers wherever possible.

The busy shop on Portsoy's main street welcomes visitors from all over Scotland, who have already tasted their fantastic ice cream, or have heard of the shop's reputation.

New! Mobile website for the Banffshire Coast
Nov 3rd 2011

Great news for the Banffshire Coast Tourism Partnership. Our new mobile website is now live on-line, and available to all who use their mobile phones to access the internet.

This is the future! It means that folk in their cars, or in the street can find out where to go, where to shop, where to eat, where to stay etc in our area, just with a few clicks on their mobiles.

The Banffshire Coast mobile website includes some minor mods to make it easier to use and to read on small  phone screens.

Thanks go to our IT gurus at blue square for creating it.

If you don’t have an internet enabled  phone, you can get a look at the mobile website on:  http://m.banffshirecoast.com/  To see how it actually  looks on a phone screen, make your viewing window much narrower. (Of course, it is much smaller on a phone too.)

Banffshire Coast Tourist Group Awarded Promotional Boost
Sep 30th 2011

Banffshire Coast Tourist Partnership were recently awarded £35,000 funding from a combination of the Rural Tourism Business Support project, the VisitScotland Growth Fund and Aberdeenshire Council.

Over the next 18 months, tourism businesses along the Banffshire Coast will have the opportunity to participate in several significant marketing initiatives, thanks to a recent funding award of £35,000.

The funding, from a combination of the Rural Tourism Business Support project, the VisitScotland Growth Fund and Aberdeenshire Council, will enable the Banffshire Coast Tourism Group to further develop and market the Banffshire Coast as a highly attractive visitor destination.

Roger Goodyear, Chair of the Banffshire Coast Tourism Partnership, commented: "This award is a fantastic opportunity to promote our area to both first time and returning visitors, and follows on from a very successful short marketing campaign run at the beginning of this year which resulted in visits to our website (www.banffshirecoast.com) rising by more than 1500%."

The four marketing initiatives fall under two themes - Outdoor and Ancestral.  A full-colour 48-page pocket Area Guide, to be distributed throughout Scotland and the Banffshire area, will contain high-quality imagery and editorial content to encourage both visits to and wider exploration of the area.  The other three initiatives will focus on the area's strengths of Marine Life, Walking and Birdwatching, and Ancestral.  They will all involve a combination of activities, including the creation of new sections for the website, e-flyer campaigns to targeted market segments, PR trips and familiarisation visits, as well as social media campaigns.  All four initiatives will provide tourism businesses in the area excellent opportunities to advertise their own individual offering.

Roger Goodyear commented further:  "The Banffshire Coast has a wide range of tourism attractions and services, but these have never been brought together in a way which is 'visitor friendly'.  The planned campaigns will draw all of these elements together in one place and promote comprehensive packages and itineraries to those with these specific interests - for the very first time.  We will be showing visitors just how they can spend their time in our area - whether one day, a few days or longer.  By focussing on the web and social media, we will be able to achieve more significant results than the traditional advertising routes which are out of the reach of our budget, as well as utilising the most up-to-date promotional tools.  We are very grateful to our 3 funding partners - without whom we would not be in a position to make this step change in tourism on the Banffshire Coast."

For more information, please contact:  Zillah Jamieson, Director, Banffshire Coast Tourism Partnership Limited; 01542 840314; zillahj@btinternet.com

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