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Fishing Around: help build a traditional fishing boat

Bettyhill based Strathnaver Museum

An exciting opportunity to create a community boat for Bettyhill has emerged as part of Strathnaver Museum’s traditional skills programme. The programme of workshops has been funded by National Lottery Heritage Fund, Communities Mental Health and Wellbeing Fund, and the Co-op.

Strathnaver Museum is delighted to be working in partnership with North Sutherland Community Forest Trust who will be hosting the workshops at their Borgie Cabin site from January to June 2023. The Trust recently erected a polycrub which will provide shelter for the boat during its construction.

Fiona Mackenzie, Project Manager with Strathnaver Museum explains: “Taking inspiration from the ‘Iris WK322’, which takes centre stage in Strathnaver Museum’s fishing exhibit, participants will construct a seaworthy vessel with the expert tuition of boat builder Jeff Mackie.”

The ‘Iris’ was owned by James Mackay and used as a second boat to the ‘Roseleaf WK121’ at Kirtomy. The boat is thought to have been built between 1870 and 1880 with three generations of the Mackay family sailing in her. The ‘Iris’ was used for taking in creels close at hand and to fish for lobster bait for salting.

Andreas Herfurt, Chair of North Sutherland Community Forestry Trust: “The boatbuilding project is a really unique opportunity for those in the local community to learn and replicate the skills used by those living in the area over 100 years ago. We are delighted to be involved in the project and to be able to provide both the facilities offered by the Polycrub and log cabin.”

The first workshops will take place 20th to 23rd January at Borgie Cabin. To register your interest, and sign up for an initial induction, contact Strathnaver Museum at


Notes to editors

About Strathnaver Museum

Strathnaver Museum is a rural history museum in Bettyhill which explores the life in the province of Strathnaver. The museum has exhibits from early history through to the modern period and stages regular events, special exhibitions and performances. The main themes explored by Strathnaver Museum are the emergence of Clan Mackay, the Highland Clearances and agricultural life.


About North Sutherland Community Forest Trust

North Sutherland Community Forestry Trust (NSCFT) was established in May 2000 to generate economic benefit for the area through community ownership and management of local forests. NSCFT currently owns a sawmill and area of forest at Forsinain, just to the north of Forsinard in the North Highlands. They also own and maintain a log cabin in Borgie Forest while sharing responsibility for the maintenance of the forest with Forestry and Land Scotland.

About Jeff Mackie Boat Builder