The Reaper returns for Fisheries Museum’s 50th anniversary

The Reaper at full sail.
The Reaper at full sail.

The Scottish Fisheries Museum in Anstruther first opened its doors in 1969.

That means it is celebrating its 50th anniversary this month and have a whole year of events planned to mark this important milestone.

Starting on July 4, the museum kicks things off by welcoming the Reaper home from major restoration work in Babcock’s Rosyth facilities accompanied by a flotilla of up to 50 boats.

On the day there will be a packed programme of entertainment including the Kingdom FM roadshow from 2-6pm and performances from Isla St Clair and Fusion Dance School. The arrival of the Reaper and the other boats will be marked by a lone piper and a cannon salute around 4pm as the Reaper moors against a new pontoon.

East Neuk Outdoors will be running free water sport taster sessions throughout the day also.

The museum’s historic vessel, the Reaper, was built in 1901 by Forbes, J & G Ltd in Sandhaven, near Fraserburgh. She was built as a herring drifter and served as a fishing boat in both the First and Second World Wars. In the late 1930s she even held the record in Shetland catching close to a quarter million tons of fish.

The Reaper was bought by the museum in 1975 and since then has welcomed generations of people on her deck to marvel at her unique design. She is the last surviving sailing lugger of the Fifie type and is now the only example of this once prolific type of vessel.

Also, in her retirement from fishing, The Reaper has appeared in many TV shows such as Outlander and a full episode in Tom Cunliffe’s 2010 series The Boats that Built Britain.

Since her last major refit over 25 years ago, the museum has secured grants and donations in order to complete extensive restoration required to enable a return to sea going duties.