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Reaper back in business at Anstruther Harbour Festival

Reaper at last year's Anstruther Harbour Festival
Reaper at last year's Anstruther Harbour Festival

A historic Fife vessel will return to public duty this weekend, nine months after she was damaged in a Mearns storm.

Reaper, featured in hit TV series Outlander and the Tommy’s Honour movie released next month, will be a star attraction of Anstruther Harbour Festival from Friday to Sunday.

In August last year the 114-year-old Fifie herring drifter was swept over by a gust of wind at Johnshaven Harbour Festival.

A crew member was injured and the Sandhaven-built vessel sustained significant damage in the incident.

A fundraising campaign was launched to pay for essential hull repairs, ahead of a major refit due to begin this autumn.

Although she will not leave Anstruther Harbour to recommence tours of the Scottish and English coast until after her refit, fans will be delighted to see the flagship of Anstruther’s Scottish Fisheries Museum welcome the public on board again for the first time.

Joan Paton, chair of the Scottish Fisheries Museum Boats Club, said the club was very pleased to be able to show off her new look.

She said: “People are delighted to see the boat back in action again. She is looking very, very good.”

The planned refit was brought forward following last year’s incident,

Simon Hayhow, museum director, said: “We are very pleased to be able to proceed with tendering for work on the Reaper refit.

“We are so grateful for all the help from the volunteers in the boat clusb and beyond to be able to get Reaper prepared and ready to welcome visitors in the summer.

“We are also grateful to all who have contributed to the fund-raising effort which shows the great local support we have for Reaper.

“Reaper is in the core collection of National Historic Ships, demonstrating her significance to our maritime and fishing heritage and we hope to be able to operate her as a seagoing vessel for many years to come.”

The vessel will also open to the public on June 24 and 25, July 8, 9, 22 and 23 and August 5, 6, 19 and 20.

This weekend she will be joined by a flotilla of classic boats at Anstruther Harbour Festival, which combines the annual Anstruther Muster, the open days of Anstruther Lifeboat and the museum and the revival of the town’s historic market day, Anster Fair.

Boats from around the UK coast will arrive for the gathering from Friday.

The fair will see arts, crafts and food stalls in a marquee at Anstruther Folly, while in another marquee there will be children’s activities, dancing and live music throughout the day and late into the evening.

Another highlight of Saturday will be the naming ceremony of the 2017 Fisher Lad and Lass.

Among the musicians performing will be Jim Tribble, of Anstruther, who will play historic instruments which might have been seen at Anster Fair back in the early 1800s.

Grace Brownlow, of Anster Fair sponsor Muir Homes, said: “We hope this year’s Anster Fair, along with the rest of the harbour festival, will be a huge success.”

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