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Ullapool’s new Lugger Fest for boat enthusiasts set to ‘showcase new inner harbour’ in village

By Iona M.J. MacDonald

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Launch of the St Vincent on Lochbroom. Picture: Noel Hawkins.
Launch of the St Vincent on Lochbroom. Picture: Noel Hawkins.

Ullapool to hold festival for boat enthusiasts and to “showcase new inner harbour” this May at a new event titled Lugger Fest.

A celebration of traditional boats and their history, Lugger Fest 2024 is an opportunity for connections to be made between lugger groups, alongside some light-hearted racing.

“Lugger Fest was the brought to Ullapool Harbour Trust by local boatbuilders Tim Loftus, Dan Johnson, Ali Grant and local artist Charlotte Watters.” Ullapool Harbour master, Kevin Peach explained.

Some of the festival’s events include dockside demonstrations and activities, as well as a “Parade of Sail”.

Music, food and talks will also be on offer at the three-day event, taking place from May 10 to 12.

Ullapool Harbour Master, Kevin Peach. Picture: Iona MacDonald.
Ullapool Harbour Master, Kevin Peach. Picture: Iona MacDonald.

Kevin continued: “We at Ullapool Harbour Trust are delighted to host the inaugural Lugger Fest event which will be the perfect opportunity to showcase the new inner harbour and pontoons with a fleet of magnificent historic vessels alongside plus music, dancing, fun and refreshments available on the new quayside.”

“The boat boys spent a couple of years fully restoring the Zulu St Vincent (built in 1910) and Loch Fyne Skiff Clan Gordon (built in 1911), both of whom now reside at Tanera Mòr, one of Achiltibuie’s Summer Isles.

“These beautiful examples have created significant interest and both attended the 2023 Portsoy traditional boat festival, with St Vincent winning best boat in show. Following Portsoy the lads decided to plan a west coast traditional boat festival here in Ullapool, with the support of Ullapool Harbour Trust.”

Artist and an organiser for Lugger Fest, Charlotte Watters said: “Lugger Fest celebrates and values the history, heritage and use of traditional boats. Ullapool itself was founded as a Herring Port in 1788, and the fishing of the area and landings have been a vital part of its economy and culture the years since.”

On the final day of the festival (Sunday May 12), Lugger Fest will collaborate with another new Ullapool festival, Ulluminate. Also taking place from May 10 to 11, Ulluminate Festival is a community interest company, and will featuring activities and events focussing on science, arts and culture.

Launch of the St Vincent on Lochbroom. Picture: Noel Hawkins.
Launch of the St Vincent on Lochbroom. Picture: Noel Hawkins.

Find out more about Ulluminate Festival and tickets here

The joint event between the two festivals will be guided by local environmental campaign group, the Ullapool Sea Savers, who will lead a session on discovering more about the small but beautiful world of plankton in Loch Broom.

Lugger Fest 2024 is taking place at Ullapool harbour, from May 10 to 12.

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