Episode 3 – Portsoy

In this episode we will be telling you all about Portsoy, located in Aberdeenshire. We’ll hear from Susanne from Adventures Around Scotland who will tell you about her visits to Portsoy, and from Lauren, who will tell you all about The ACE Winches Scottish Traditional Boat Festival which takes place every year, and in 2023 will take place from 30th June to the 2 July 2023.

Adventures Around Scotland – A Scotland Travel Blog

ACE Winches Scottish Traditional Boat Festival

Portsoy – Wikipedia

Portsoy Visitor Guide – Accommodation, Things To Do & More | VisitScotland

portsoy | OpenStreetMap

Award Winning Ice Cream & Sorbets at Portsoy Ice Cream

Portsoy, Aberdeenshire – Visitor Guide

Portsoy, Moray: Things to Do | Out About Scotland

Walk Report – Hidden gems of Portsoy: Boyne Castle • Walkhighlands

Boyne Castle, a true hidden gem near Portsoy

PORTSOY LINKS BAY – 2023 All You Need to Know BEFORE You Go (with Photos)

Dexys Midnight Runners – Wikipedia

Overview – Portsoy – Aberdeenshire Harbours

Portsoy, Moray: Things to Do | Out About Scotland

THE 10 BEST Things to Do in Portsoy – 2023 (with Photos)

File:Portsoy Old Harbor – Portsoy Marble and Warehouse.jpg – Wikimedia Commons

File:Portsoy Old Harbour – geograph.org.uk – 434379.jpg – Wikimedia Commons

File:Wheat, Portsoy – geograph.org.uk – 3225361.jpg – Wikimedia Commons

File:Portsoy harbor (43077737375).jpg – Wikimedia Commons

File:The Old Harbour from Shore Street – geograph.org.uk – 2254530.jpg – Wikimedia Commons

File:Portsoy Harbours – geograph.org.uk – 3534612.jpg – Wikimedia Commons

Portsoy Marble – Portsoy and Whitehills

Portsoy Salmon Bothy

Wooden Boat Building @ The Portsoy Boat Shed

Facebook – The Portsoy Gift Box

Brandon Lodge Bed and Breakfast – Located three miles from the historic harbour town of Portsoy

Aberdeenshire Coastal Trail | VisitScotland


Facebook – Fair Trickit

Facebook – Skip 2 The Beat


Reaper returns to Portsoy ahead of Scottish Traditional Boat Festival – History Scotland

Scottish Fisheries Museum – Home Page

Wood fuel products including wood pellets, briquettes, firewood

Contact Us – Hamlyn’s Of Scotland

Macduff Group | Shipyards, Crane Hire, Profilers & Precision Engineering

Facebook – The Portsoy Thrift Shop

Twice Buried Rum


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Scottish Digest Podcast is a production of cluarantonn.com

Hosted and written by Dawn Young

Edited by Erin Ferguson

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Host Dawn Young

Welcome to Episode 3 of Scottish Digest, where we will be telling you all about Portsoy.


Later in this episode, we will hear about an event that takes place in Portsoy every year, where you can enjoy music and dancing, Scottish food and drink, as well as see demonstrations of traditional crafts such as weaving and knotting, and where you can also buy unique handmade gifts. But we’ll hear more about that later. We’ll also hear some personal recommendations from Susanne from Adventures Around Scotland about her visit to Portsoy. But first let me tell you a wee bit about Portsoy, where it is and what it’s known for. The charming port village of Portsoy is in Aberdeenshire and located, according to Wikipedia, on the Moray Firth coast of North East Scotland. It is 50 miles or 80 kilometres north west of Aberdeen, and 65 miles or 105 kilometres east of Inverness. According to the 2011 census, it had a population of 1,752. However, for two days each summer, when the Scottish Traditional Boat Festival takes place, Portsoy is visited by, according to outaboutscotland.com, up to 16,000 people, who come to enjoy the festivities. According to Visit Scotland, Portsoy has an attractive uphill town centre, and its fascinating, winding streets lead down to one of the things Portsoy is famous for, its distinctive 17th century harbour, which, according to Wikipedia, is the oldest on the Moray Firth, and it has featured in TV dramas such as Peaky Blinders. According to outaboutscotland.com, the harbour is distinctive due to the wall being built with horizontal rather than vertical stones, as it was assumed that this would better stand up to the fierce waves that would crash against it. And, as it still there today, they must have assumed correctly. A new larger more exposed harbour was built in 1825, and, according to aberdeenshireharbours.co.uk, it berths up to 30 boats. While visiting the harbours you might spot pods of dolphins swimming along the shore. However, even if you don’t spot the dolphins at sea, you can find a sculpture of a dolphin overlooking Portsoy. Portsoy is also famous for its jewellery, which is made from polished red and green Serpentine marble, which has been shipped and used all over the world. But you don’t have to go far to be able to see this beautiful Portsoy marble, as you’ll find it on view in a warehouse that overlooks the harbour. If you would like to find out about the history of salmon fishing, boat building and see artifacts from Portsoy’s harbour, you can visit The Salmon Bothy Museum for free. Another gem of Portsoy that you might want to sample while you’re there is the award-winning Portsoy ice cream, with so many flavours such as strawberry cheesecake, salted caramel, and even mojito sorbet, plus there are even gluten and dairy-free options available. To find out more you can visit portsoyicecream.co.uk.  If you’d like to do a little exploring, according to outaboutscotland.com, there are good walks in both directions along the coastline, and just a couple of minutes walk from the harbour is Links Bay, which offers picnic benches and amazing views over the North Sea, and you can watch the seabirds perched on the rocks. So, I hope that has given you a bit of an idea about Portsoy and what you can do and see there. Now let’s hear more about Portsoy and what it has to offer from Susanne, who has actually visited Portsoy.


Hi, I’m Susanne from Adventures Around Scotland, and in this episode I’m going to give you my tips for things to do in the coastal village of Portsoy, which is an Aberdeenshire. Like lots of visitors to Portsoy I gravitate towards the harbour. There’s actually two harbours; one of them dates back to the 17th century and it’s particularly characterful and photogenic. There’s some nice walks round it and there’s also a viewpoint just above it where you can look out to the North Sea, and you can look across the original harbour, the 17th century harbour, and also the newer harbour, which I think dates to the early 19th century, so it’s still quite old as well. And also round about the harbour area there is the Boatshed, which is a workshop area where volunteers keep alive the skills of traditional boat making, so you can actually pop in and speak to them, find out more about the craft, and if you’re lucky, they’re very welcoming to visitors, and if you’re lucky they’ll even offer you a wee cup of tea, which is what they did when I popped in. And if you can’t make the Boat Festival, it’s a great place to find out more about the traditional boat building history in the Portsoy area. And there is a little gift shop where you can pick up some Portsoy marble. Now, it’s actually polished Serpentine and it’s famous for being exported around the world from Portsoy, but particularly being used in the Palace of Versailles. So, I think that’s quite amazing, that rock quarried near to the harbour in Portsoy is part of the fabrication of the Palace of Versailles. But that’s not the only thing that Portsoy is famous for, it’s also famous for its ice cream, and up on the Main Street is the Portsoy ice cream shop, and you’ll know it on a sunny day because it always has like a queue winding down the street. It’s award-winning ice cream and it has over a hundred, I think they have, flavours of ice cream and sorbets and some really unusual concoctions.  So, if you grab an ice cream, or even one of the fish and chip shops nearby, and head down to the harbour, that’s like the perfect day in Portsoy for me. And the last time I visited Portsoy I actually stayed in a lovely bed and breakfast called Brandon Lodge, which is in the countryside just a few miles outside of the village. So it’s like the best of both worlds, you’re staying in the country in a lovely quiet rural setting, but you’re also just a short drive away from the sea and the coast. But I’m giving it a special shout out because I think it’s one of the great things about staying at a bed and breakfast is the personal touch, and when I arrived at, I’m glutton free, so when I arrived the owner, Lorna, had actually baked me fresh home-baked pancakes, they were still warm and they were absolutely delicious. And I think it’s a lovely accommodation its own right, but Lorna also went above and beyond in many ways whilst I stayed with her, so I just think that she deserves a special mention in this podcast. And once you’re finished in Portsoy there is so much more to see along this part of the Aberdeenshire coast.  There’s actually a road route that runs round the coast called the Aberdeenshire Coastal Trail, and I’ve written a blog post about it so you can find that on my website. And there’s so many beautiful scenic and kind of under the radar places in this part of Scotland, so it’s definitely worth going not only to Portsoy but also exploring a bit more around the coast. So, if you want to find out more about the Aberdeenshire coast, Portsoy or other places to stay and things to do in Scotland, then you can check out my travel blog at www.adventuresaroundscotland.com, and also my social media channels, I’m adventuresaroundscotland on both Facebook and Instagram.

Dawn – Okay, so I mentioned before about the Scottish Traditional Boat Festival that takes place each year in Portsoy, so now here’s Lauren to tell you more about it.


Lauren Ahoy Portsoy! Probably the best way to start. The ACE Winches Scottish Traditional Boat Festival is returning on Saturday the 1st and Sunday the 2nd of July in the historic harbour of Portsoy in Aberdeenshire. Now it’s famous, everybody loves it, celebrating its 30th anniversary this year and we have loads on. So, we’ve got traditional sailing vessels, we’ve got music and dance, we’ve got food and drink, you’ve got age-old crafts, you’ve got unique handmade items and gifts. We’ve got loads and loads on across the weekend. So get yourself down here, it’s going to be really really fun. Now let me just tell you a little bit background on the festival. The festival was first held in 1993, it was a bit of a one-off, and then people loved it, and that’s it. Since then it’s been firmly anchored in the town’s calendar, and it takes place annually, attracting thousands of visitors across Scotland, and further afield to be honest, it’s one of them isn’t it, people just love it at the Portsoy harbour and the Boat Festival. In terms of music then, Skerryvore  is going to kick off the Festival as they headline the Big Gig on the Back Green on Friday the 30th of June. Now, this is a band that has been touring globally and they are going to be performing their new tracks from their new album Tempus, which is exciting. There’s going to be a host of local groups, artists and performers that are going to take to the stage during the weekend. We have Cullen based Duo Fair Trickit, they are absolutely brilliant, they were there last year and they are just great. We’ve got Festival favourites Skip 2 The Beat as well, they’re going to return for another fast-paced skipping stunt, which was really interesting to watch last year. On Saturday night renowned Highland rock band Rhythmnreel, they’re going to be bringing their upbeat, foot stomping tunes, and they’re going to be headlining the Big Gig on the Back Green as well, so that’s going to be exciting. There’s lots and lots of music across the weekend. Other things to look out for obviously boats, the main thing, the main attraction, and the Reaper, the iconic Reaper is making a comeback. A 19th century Fife sailing herring drifter, it’s going to be returning to the festival, so it’s a rare survivor of the golden age of sail. And it’s had a bit of, well it’s been restored, so it’ll be something new to look at. It’s owned by the Scottish Fisheries Museum in Anstruther in Fife, and it is one of the few vessels in the UK’s National Historic Fleet which is actually still in condition to be in the sea.  Skipper, Eric Lauritsen, he is making his way with his eight crew, they’re going to be making an 18 to 20 hour journey to Portsoy for the festival. And obviously you can get on board the Reaper and have a little look on, and experience the life, what it was like at sea over 100 years ago, which is going to be fantastic. It’s going to be amazing. And the other thing to look out for is the food fair. So if you’re hungry, definitely the place to be for the weekend. You’ll get the best Scottish produce on the menu, it’s going to be all locally sourced, Aberdeen Angus beef, handmade pies, pickled onions, locally produced gin, we’ve got rum, whiskey, we’ve got sweet treats including fudge and toffee, Belgian chocolate, and of course so we cannot forget the famous Portsoy ice cream. Man, I’m just so hungry thinking about it. We’ll also have the craft demonstrations, so they’re going to be on display in the craft fair. We’ve got handmade ceramics there, jewellery, prints, paintings, all available to browse and buy. Now this is perfect if it’s someone’s birthday coming up or Christmas you’re thinking ahead to, then definitely something to get along to. Other thing as well if you’re thinking about bringing the kids or anything, then we do have a kids zone. So we’ve got trampolining, bouncy castles, segways, teacups, we’ve got glitter tattoos, we’ve got loads and loads on to keep your little ones entertained, so you can bring them. We’ve also got the onboard Tam O Shunter land train, that’s going to be amazing, so that’s going to be running throughout the weekend, you can have a wee shot on that. We’ve got the raft race, that’s the ever so popular raft race, it’s always a laugh to watch, and and that will take place on Saturday afternoon. You can see teams of three compete to make it across the harbour, and they’re in their homemade rafts and paddles, so it’s gonna be interesting. And the one thing is is that they’re not allowed to fall in. So, yeah, definitely something fun to watch. Now, we want to say a massive thank you to all the festival sponsors; we’ve got ACE Winches, we’ve got Puffin Wood Fuels, Hamlyns of Scotland Oatmeal, MacDuff Shipyards, Portsoy Thrift Shop, Twice Buried Rum, Moray West, we’ve got loads and loads of sponsors, so thank you to you, because without you we wouldn’t be able to do this at all of course. Now, if you would like to come along to the Portsoy Boat Festival, you’re thinking this is right up my street, this is brilliant, then head to www.stbfportsoy.org, that’s where you can purchase some tickets, that’s www.stbfportsoy.org. And if you fancy going on social media as well, give us a wee follow at stbfportsoy, or you can #ahoyportsoy. Anyway, I really hope to see you there. That is the 1st of July and also the 2nd of July, Saturday and Sunday, at the Portsoy Boat Festival. We can’t wait to see you. Ahoy Portsoy!

Dawn – If you like the sound of the Scottish Traditional Boat Festival and would like to attend, you can find all information and get your tickets at stbfportsoy.org.


Before we go just another we interesting fact about Portsoy. According to Wikipedia, Jim Patterson, who was the trombonist with the late 70s early 80s band Dexys Midnight Runners, one of their songs being Come On Eileen, was born and raised in Portsoy. And that’s it for this week. We hope today’s episode has given you an insight into Portsoy and what is available to do and see there; from the distinctive 17th century harbour, the award-winning ice cream and the annual Scottish Traditional Boat Festival, it really does sound like an interesting place to visit. You can find all links to what I’ve talked about today in the show notes or from cluarantonn.com/scottishdigest, that’s c-l-u-a-r-a-n-t-o-n-n.com/scottishdigest. If you have plans to visit a specific place in Scotland, or if you would like help or advice in planning your trip to Scotland, then please visit adventuresaroundscotland.com where you will find a host of information about where Susanne has visited and what she has experienced, as well as Susanne’s contact details if you would like further advice or information. We really hope you have enjoyed this episode of Scottish Digest, and we would love for you to join us next time, where we will focus on another beautiful part of Bonnie Scotland.


Scottish Digest is a production of Cluarantonn.