Saturday, 23 June 2012

Wick Jubilee Harbourfest

Wick Harbour, once the shelter for a fleet of a thousand herring drifters during the summer season in the 1800's, has had to reinvent itself many times as the fishing industry changed and finally almost disappeared. Today it has a  thriving marina, destination for a wide range of visiting yachts. All year round it provides facilities for local yachts and sea anglers as well as the shellfish boats. In the near future it hopes to capture the service trade for the offshore windfarms that are planned off the coast of Wick.
     Last weekend's Harbourfest was the second such venture and this time round it was associated with the Queen's Diamond Jubilee. Happily the weather turned out better than forecast a few days before- despite a brisk north west wind, it remained dry and a large crowd attended. The events began with the crowning of the Harbourfest Queen by Miss Anne Dunnett, Lord Lieutenant, in the Market Square, Wick.
In the water the stars of the show were undoubtedly the three large heritage sailing drifters, Wick's own Isabella Fortuna, The Reaper from Anstruther, shown below in the outer harbour and The Swan from Lerwick, pictured above against the backdrop of Papigoe. All are straight stern 'Fifies' built around the end of the nineteenth century. Their histories are similar in eventually having engines fitted, being retired  and somehow escaping the breakers yard to be saved by restoration enthusiasts.

During the proceedings, a famous Wick landmark, 'e cannon', was rededicated by Miss Dunnett in its new position at the harbour breast. It was originally presented to the harbour trust by Mr Pender, the local MP as a fog warning device to help fishermen find their way home in the haars that can suddenly strike in the summer, before being retired to a quiet corner up the river. The smooth running of the day, several months in the preparation was a tribute to the competence of the organisers.

The Stuart Agenda by Alan Calder, published by Willow Moon. e-Book and paperback from all Amazon sites. See reviews at

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