2015 Anstruther Harbour Festival

Despite showers on Friday evening, the 2015 Festival attracted big crowds for its Pipe Band Parade from Waid Academy and in the big marquee there was lots of audience participation for Dunedin Dancers Scottish Country Dance display and for the later ceilidh with local ceilidh band Nackytoosh.  Ceilidh enthusiasts travelled from as far as Aberdeen to attend the events. And boats started arriving in the harbour for the Anstruther Muster and its Classic Boat Rally

The events on Saturday started with the traditional Dreel Boat Race with its fleet of multi-coloured small plastic boats cascaded from the the Dreel Bridge down the Dreel Burn. Noon saw the annual Scottish Submariners Association 1918 Battle of May Island memorial service. In the marquee there were childrens activities, exotic animals and amusements, and street entertainers performed on the harbourfront

In the afternoon we had large crowds on the  harbourfront for  the Merlesque Mermaids entertaining us with songs and stories of the sea, and with Fusion Performance Dance.  In the marquee, jazz and folk/country bands played and we had excerpts from Pirates of Penzance performed by St Andrews Uniiversity Gilbert & Sullivan Society . And on Saturday late afternoon and evening, the music events in the big marquee featured Family Shed (pictured) and local Fence Collective musician Gummi Bako and blues/rock band Safehouse

Saturday and saw the Museum's 70' Reaper sailing drifter sail into harbour, bringing in the Fisher Lass & Lad for their inauguration  ceremony. The Reaper was then open to the public for the day, with its below decks museum of how the boat worked in the herring fishery. Saturday was also the  Scottish Fisheries Museum's Open Day which gave visitors free entry to the Museum's exhibitions. And the MacBus mobile history museum was on the harbourfront with an exhibition "Moving Stories" exploring the experience of the Great War from a Fife perspective, and an animated film "Sea Front’"


The Festival's Anstruther Muster attracted about 30 visiting boats from all along the Forth and further afield, with the trophy for Furthest Travelled Boat won by a boat from Hartlepool, and for Best Dressed Boat (boats at the Muster are festooned with flags and pennants) going to "Kellya" owned by Gary Watson of Pittenweem

Over 30 visiting boats arrived for the Festival's Anstruther Muster, which is now in its 20th year. And twelve boats took part in the Festival's Classic Boat Rally, including two beautifully restored 1940's fishing vessels from the North East Maritime Trust in Newcastle and a quartet of Fifie fishing luggers from Anstruther, Eyemouth and Dunbar. The winner of the Festival's Classic Boat of the Year Trophy went to fishing lugger "Rose Leaf" of Anstruther, skippered by Sean Dooley. The winner of the Festival's Oldest Boat Trophy for boats that had travelled to Anstruther went to fishing lugger "Marean" of Dunbar, skippered by Bob Clunas. See photo gallery of the Classic Boat Rally http://www.anstrutherharbourfestival.co.uk/gallery/index.php/Classic-Boat-Rally-2015/Harbour-Festival-2015

All afternoon in the harbour the Fun Rowing Regatta organised by St Ayles Rowing Club had eight skiffs from all around Fife competing in various fun races. The Interclub races were won by Newburgh and Fife respectively. The first ever Backwards Row Race was won by the home crew from Anstruther, and the Fancy Dress Relay Race, where the teams had to change Hawaian themed costumes (as photo above right) between races, was won by Newburgh


The Festival's East Neuk Food & Drink 2015 event in the marquee showcased local producers' wares. There were Sea to Plate workshops by Elmwood College with Seafood Scotland doing ‘come dine with me’ tasting sessions featuring local seafood, and JIm Knox of Fishermans Larder demonstrating everything you need to know about shellish


Special Festival cruises were run by Osprey rib and excursion boat May Princess on the Saturday afternoon, in addition to their usual May Isle trips. And Anstruther Lifeboat Open Day gave visitors the opportunity to tour the lifeboat station  and go on board the big lifeboat and meet the crew, while the inshore lifeboat gave rescue demonstrations in the harbour

Sunday saw the Festival's Craft Fair doing good business in the pavilion marquee and there was a full house in the big marquee for the interdenominational Service of the Sea

For Alaistair Ramsay's brilliant photographs of the 2015 Festival's Classic Boat Rally, see  - https://www.flickr.com/photos/136961567@N07/albums/72157661143173243    Click on the projector icon in the top RH corner of the screen to get the full screen images

For photos of the 2015 Festival's Saturday  events, click on   https://www.flickr.com/photos/136961567@N07/albums/72157663484243595

For photos and information on each of the 2015 Festival's events, see our main photo section - http://www.anstrutherharbourfestival.co.uk/gallery/index.php/

For a brilliant videoclip of the 2015 Festival weekend, courtesy Gemma Miller, a visitor from Stirling, see  https://www.facebook.com/miss.gemma.miller/videos/vb.632480804/10153070720445805/?type=3&theater

For the Courier's report on the 2015 Festival, see http://www.thecourier.co.uk/news/local/fife/celebration-of-the-sea-at-anstruther-harbour-festival-1.880359


2014 Anstruther Harbour Festival

The 2014 Anstruther Harbour Festival was held from Friday 15 to Sunday 17 August.  By popular demand the large marquee was back on the quayside for the Festival's music events. 

The Festival started on Friday evening with a march by the City of St Andrews Pipe Band leading a procession from Waid down to the harbourfront.

This was followed by a ceilidh in the Festival marquee - with lots of audience participation in response to the excellent local ceilidh band Nackytoosh

See Photo Gallery of the Festival's events

  The Friday evening procession included Anstruther Lifeboat's inshore rescue boat, manned by some very young crewmembers

Anstruther Harbour Festival’s events on Saturday got off to an early - and colourful - start.

The Festival adapted the always-popular duck race held earlier in the year by Anstruther Improvements Association, so instead of bright yellow rubber ducks being let loose into the Dreel Burn, a multi-coloured cascade of more fitting rubber boats was launched.

Tickets had been sold throughout the town in the lead up to the day and there were prizes for those corresponding to the first three boats across the finishing line, with £50 for first place, an Osprey boat ticket for second, and £10 fish and chip voucher for third








Photo courtesy & © East Fife Mail


There was a good crowd for the craft and food stalls, childrens' activitries and street entertainers at the harbourfront

Stalls on the Folly harbourfront included craft jewellry, hand-made chocolates, pirate artefacts, charity and emergency organisations, and a RNLI Cookout stall with burgers/kippers/bacon rolls

Also on the Folly was Fife's MAC bus, a mobile museum with its exhibition on Fife's Great War and the stories of Fife people who took part

However strong winds on Saturday afternoon meant things closed early, and the afternoon Jazz Band and Sea Shanty music events and several kids' activities took place in the marquee rather than on the harbourfront.

The strong winds also limited the number of boats attending the Anstruther Muster - only 24 visitors compared to the 50 to 100 boats of previous years, and also cut short the Festival's East of Scotland Boat Jumble.

However the Festival's Classic Boat Rally was a great success, attracting more entries than last year and all of a very high standard

The photo opposite shows Fifie fishing luggers "Good Hope" and "Marean" and the smaller Fifie lugger "Rose Leaf", with 1950s lifeboat "St Andrew" in the background

See Photo Gallery of Classic Boats at the Festival


The Festival's Saturday evening music event in the marquee, featuring rock band Obsession, was well attended, and went on  till late.

Prizes for the Muster's sailing events were presented by Anstruther Fisher Lad & Lass, as photograph opposite. Prizes awarded were _

  • Best Classic Boat - to Bob Clunas for "Marean"
  • Oldest Boat - to Sean Dooley for "Rose Leaf"
  • Furthest Travelled Boat - to Bill Kennaway with "Caperdonich"
  • Best Dressed Boat - to Natalie Thomson for "Claymore"

Anstruther Improvements Association also held a Best-Dressed Shop Window competition as part of the Festival. Winners were :

  • First Prize - Pathhead Nurseries
  • Second Prize - Charisma
  • Third Prize - jointly between Ingrid's Hairdressing, East Neuk Pharmacy and Barnett's Artisan Bakers.

The Festival's Grand Raffle was drawn in the marquee, with a lot of exceptionally valuable prizes donated by local businesses, including Cellar Restaurant, Balgove Larder, Craig Millar Restaurant, Spindrift Hotel, Boathouse Bar & Bistro, Haven Restaurant, Cocoa Tree Chocolate, Cambo Beer Festival, St Andrews Botanic Garden, Highland Chocolatier, Petite Epicerie, Morton of Pitmilly, Elie Deli, Crail Pottery, Crail Whole Smoked Food, Honeypot Tea Room, Scores Hotel, Chillilicious - see list of donors, prizes and prizewinners

The Scottish Submariners Association's memorial service for the Battle of May Island bravely went ahead on Saturday in spite of the wind

In the Fisheries Museum, FoodfromFife held "Chefs at School" cookery demonstrations focussed on local seafood. And the Museum's Model Boat Club held their annual exhibition in the Museum workshop

Sunday morning saw a full house in the marquee for an interdenominational  "Service of the Sea" and the departure of most of the Muster's visiting boats

Thanks are due to Alaistair Ramsay and Robert Melville for the excellent photographs


Sponsors  for the 2014 Anstruther Harbour Festival include :

  • Fife Council Common Good Fund and Local Area Budget
  • Anstruther Community Council
  • Mainstream Renewable Power
  • Spindrift Hotel
  • Anstruther Fish Bar
  • Intermarine Pontoon Design & Construction
  • Pagan Osborne
  • A9 Partnership Accountants
  • Anstruther Community Kist
  • Newburgh Signs




2013 Anstruther Harbour Festival 

The first Anstruther Harbour Festival was held from 8 to 11 August 2013


Events on the maritime theme at the 2013 Festival included :

  • Anstruther Muster organised by Anstruther Sailing Club, with 50+ visiting boats from all over the East of Scotland and further afield
  • Classic Boat Rally of historic yachts, motorboats and working boats, organised by Anstruther Sailing Club
  • East of Scotland Boat Jumble, organised by Anstruther Sailing Club
  • “Reaper”  70' sailing drifter open to the public, courtesy Fisheries Museum Boats Club
  • Coastal Rowing Regatta with racing between local Coastal Rowing teams from Crail, Anstruther and Pittenweem
  • RNLI Lifeboat and Inshore lifeboat on display on shore, and visit by Dunbar Lifeboat
  • Fisheries Museum Model Boat Club exhibition in Museum workshop

Shore-based events included :

  • Scottish country dancing display and Pipe Band march to open the Festival
  • Food and craft produce stalls on the Folly at the harbourfront
  • Ceilidhs and live music in the evenings
  • Funfair, childrens amusements, falconry and dance displays
  • Kingdom FM music and compere at the Festival marquee
  • Shops and waterfront decorated with bespoke bunting, organised by Anstruther Improvements Association
  • “Chefs at School” seafood cookery demonstration by Food from Fife in Fisheries Museum
  • Competition for Best-Dressed Shop Window, organised by Anstruther Improvements Association

See photo gallery of 2013 Festival shore-based events and photo gallery of Muster activities




The Festival was opened on Thursday evening by a display of Scottish Country Dancing by Dunedin Dancers in the Festival's marquee on the East Harbour quayside.

This was followed by an informal open-air ceilidh outside the marquee, resurrecting an old Anstruther tradition of open-air dancing at the harbourfront


Following the dance display and open-air ceilidh, there was a march by the City of St Andrews Pipe Band, accompanied by the Anstruther Inshore Lifeboat on its trailer. 

The band marched from Waid Academy down to the Festival's harbourfront marquee, meeting up with the ceilidh, then marched back to Waid



The Festival included a Classic Boat Rally of working boats, yachts and motor boats of classic design, and with information boards giving the history of each boat

The  photo right shows some of the 10 classic boats that took part, with the funfair's Walzer and Bouncy Castle in the background.

See photo gallery of the Festival's classic boats


In the Festival's Rowing Regatta, organised by Anstruther's St Ayles Rowing Club, skiffs from Anstruther, Pittenweem and Crail Coastal Rowing Clubs had an exciting afternoon's racing in front of an enthusiastic crowd of supporters and onlookers

Crail won the  Mixed Open A + B race, Pittenweem won the  Mixed Up race, and Anstruther won the Blindfold race and Best Crew award. Final scores were Anstruther - 12 points, Crail - 11 points, Pittenweem - 7 points.

See photo gallery of the regatta


There were music events on the Friday and Saturday evenings of the Festival weekend in Anstruther Town Hall .

Friday's event was a ceilidh with top ceilidh band, the Gallivanters.  Saturday's event was a free Festival music event with swing band Obsession

Prizes were awarded at the Saturday event for various Muster competitions, including :

  • Oldest Boat
  • Furthest Travelled Boat
  • Best Classic Boat
  • Smallest Boat
  • Best Dressed Boat

The Festival included a Best Dressed Shop competition

The competition was judged by 3 local councillors, and prizes were awarded at the Saturday evening music event, results being:

  • Most humorous and overall winner:- Pathhead Nurseries
  • Most picturesque: Mrs P's Deli
  • Most original: Esquire Barber Shop
  • Most Artistic: Anstruther Fish Bar

This photo shows  the Most Artistic prize being presented to Robert Smith of Anstruther Fish Bar by Elizabeth Gordon of Anstruther Improvements Association, sponsors of the competition


Anstruther Lifeboat was open to the public at the lifeboat station, and Anstruther Inshore Lifeboat was on display

Anstruther also had a visit from Dunbar Lifeboat

This photo shows the Dunbar boat at the quayside and the Anstruther Boat on the ramp at the Lifeboat Station


The Scottish Fisheries Musuem's "Reaper" 70' sailing drifter was on show at the quayside throughout the Festival, and was open to the public on Friday and Saturday free of charge, thanks to volunteers from the Museum's Boats Club.

The Reaper has an exhibition below decks of the history of herring fishery and of how the boat worked when fishing for herring over 100 years ago

The Museum's Model Boat Club held an exhibition of its model boats, ranging from historic and modern fishing vessels to Missisippi steamboats in the Museum workshop

Food from Fife held an afternoon of “Chefs at School” seafood cooking demonstrations in the Museum's Education Room

The programme of events for children on Friday and Saturday included a sandcastle building competition, water-zorbing, radio-control model boats provided by Langtoun Model Boat Club, falconry displays by Kingdom Falconry, mini-bike rides by Gold Wing Bikes, and  puppet shows by Puppets & Co.

Stalls on the Folly harbourfront on Friday and Saturday included an artisan baker, craft jeweller, wood-turning, hand-made chocolates, chowder fish soup, charity and emergency organisations, and a RNLI Cookout stall with burgers/kippers/bacon rolls.

Events in the Festival marquee on Friday and Saturday included modern and traditional dance displays by East Neuk School of Dance and Fusion Performance Dancers, and sea-shanties and songs from the East Neuk by SeaTangles duo of Kayren & Tom Hall

Community events during the Festival included:

  • Scottish Submariners Assocation memorial service for 1918 Battle of May Island
  • RNLI Gallantry Award ceremony for 3 members of Anstruther Lifeboat
  • Opening Ceremony for Thomas Chalmers Memorial Garden

The 2013 Anstruther Harbour Festival was sponsored by :

  • Fife Council Area Budget
  • Anstruther Community Regeneration Project
  • Anstruther Improvements Association
  • Anstruther Fish Bar
  • Mainstream Renewable Power
  • Repsol Power
  • Boat House Bar & Restaurant, Anstruther



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