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Anstruther Harbour Festival 2017 -  26 to 28 May

The Festival opened on the evening of Friday 26 May with 'its traditional ceilidh - his started with a pipe band parade through the town by City of St Andrews Pipe band, followed by a scottish country dance display by Dunedin Dancers in the Festival's pier marquee, and the evening finished with a dance ceilidh with top local ceilidh band Nackytoosh.  

There was live music all weekend in the big Muster marquee, plus Anster Fair - a revival of Anstruther'd historic market day with food and craft stalls, childrens entertainers and amusement

2017 was ihe Muster's 20th anniversary, and as well as its annual gathering of visiting boats. the Muster included a Boat Jumble organised by the Fisheries Museum Boats Club. The 2017 Muster was sponsored by Anstruther Fish Bar.  

The Festival's Classic Boat Rally saw numbers of visiting classic yachts and  fishing vessels berthed from Friday to Sunday on the middle pier of the harbour , and there was areception for classic boat skippers and crew on board Reaper   For photos of the classic boats see -  https://www.flickr.com/photos/136961567@N07/albums/72157684526761376

And Anstruther Lifeboat Open Day on the Saturday gave visitors the opportunity to tour the lifeboat station  and go on board the big lifeboat and meet the crew, while the inshore lifeboat crew gave rescue demonstrations in the harbour.

Anstruther's Scottish Fisheries Museum Open Day was on the Saturday , with free entry  for all. The Museum's Reaper 70' sailing drifter was open to the public, on both Saturday and Sunday, and the weekend included the Museum's Model Boat Club Exhibition and Museum Boatyard Open Days on Saturday and Sunday

Anstruther Harbour Festival 2015

The Festival's 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

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.

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 band Nackytoosh.  Ceilidh enthusiasts travelled from as far as Aberdeen to attend the events.

The harbourfront events on Saturday drew a large crowd with the Merlesque Mermaids entertaining us with songs and stories of the sea, and with Fusion Performance Dance demonstrating their skills. In the big marquee the childrens crafts and amusements provided family entertainment to the accompaniment of jazz and folk/country bands. And the Saturday evening music event in the big marquee featured local Fence Collective musician Gummi Bako and blues/rock band Safehouse

All afternoon in the harbour the Rowing Regatta 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 Hawaiian themed costumes and lifejackets between races, was won by Newburgh

Anstruther Harbour Festival 2014

The 2014 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


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 and © 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.

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"


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 Harbour Festival 2013 

2013 was the first Anstruther Harbour Festival   held from Thursday 8 to Sunday 11 August and which incorporated the Anstruther Muster and its rally of visiting boats organised by Anstruther Sailing Club

Over 50 visiting boats sailed to the Muster, which included

  •  Classic Boat Rally with 10 classic boats on display
  • East of Scotland Boat Jumble with 12 chandlery traders  

The 2013 Muster saw some of the lowest tides in years - as this photo of Anstruther Westerharbour shows. It's surprising noboby ever thinks of berthing against the wall here -  it's only 50 yards from the Dreel Tavern, you can cross the Dreel Burn to Anstruther Easter on stepping stones at Low Water, and there are no harbour dues !

The Festival was opened on Thursday evening by a display of Scottish Country Dancing by Dunedin Dancers on the East Harbour quayside followed by an informal open-air ceilidh, then a march by the City of St Andrews Pipe Band along the front. On Friday evening there was a Festival Ceilidh in Anstruther Town Hall.  

The Fisheries Musuem's "Reaper" 70' sailing drifter was open to the public at the quayside,  the Museum's Model Boat held an exhibition, and Food from Fife put on a “Chefs at School” seafood cooking demonstration in the Museum itself

Anstruther lifeboat and onshore lifeboat were on display on shore, and  Dunbar lifeboat paid a visit to the East Harbour, and the Scottish Submariners Assocation held their memorial service for the 1918 Battle of May Island at the East Harbour forecourt

At the Festival music event in Anstruther Town Hall on Saturday evening , the following Muster trophies were awarded by Cairns Birrell, Commodore of Anstruther Sailing Club 

- Furthest Travelled Boat Cup : to Paul Blanchard in 27' Cornish Gaff Cutter "Hope" from Faversham in Kent ( as photo opposite)

- Oldest Boat trophy to Sandy Aitken with his 65' Seine Net fishing boat "Britannia", dating from 1952

- Best Dressed Boat cup to Robert Smith of Anstruther

- Smallest Boat Trophy : to Dave Kittrick of Dunbar in his 18' "Wee Beastie" ( shown sailing across from Dunbar in the photo below left)

- Best Classic Boat Shield - to Gordon Bell in his Colin Archer-design Kattegat Gaff Cutter "Fidelity" from St Monans

Fidelity is the turquoise-hulled boat in the photo below, with the Furthest-Travelled Boat "Hope", itself a Classic Boat entrant, being the blue-hulled boat next to it

The photo right ahows some of the Classic Boats lined up against the middle pier, with the Festival's Walzer and Bouncy Castle in the background

The Shield for the Best Classic Boat was donated by the Boathouse Bar & Bistro Anstruther

And the Boathouse hosted a Classic Boat Lunch reception  for skippers and crew of the Classic Boats, sponsored by Anstruther Harbour Festival

See Photo Gallery of Classic Boats

In the Rowing Regatta held in the East Harbour, skiffs from the Anstruther, Pittenweem and Crail Coastal Rowing Clubs had an exciting afternoon's racing in front of an enthusiastic crowd of supporters and onlookers