‘Reaper’, the 112-year-old flagship of the Scottish Fisheries Museum in Anstruther, Fife, has just finished her first major event of 2014.
Over the period of a fortnight, she visited Tayport in Fife, Arbroath in Angus, Stonehaven in Aberdeenshire, and Montrose back in Angus. At each place, the pupils of the local primary schools visited the boat and were taught about fishing in the early 20th century, how to live aboard a herring drifter, how to haul up a sail, and how to walk the plank! Of the 2028 visitors to the boat, 1073 were pupils from 22 primary schools, 40 were Arbroath sea cadets, and 915 were teachers and other non-school adults. At one harbour, a TV crew came on board, and the boat, its crew and the children appeared on the local STV evening news.
The feedback from the schools’ teachers to the Reaper’s crew indicated a great enthusiasm and enjoyment of the children on the boat. Some quotes from the teachers included: “What a fantastic day!...”, “The visit will have created fabulous memories for them, that will last a life time”, “It was fantastic and it was such a wonderful opportunity for the children to see what we’d been learning about, for real.”, “The experience was mind-blowing for some of the children.”, “and exposed them to some authentic voices talking on a subject a little outside their comfort zone”.
Reaper did receive a sad message from the head teacher of the school at Gourdon, about the missing fishermen.
But this turned into expressions of great joy when the fishermen were found safe.
All the pupils were given cupcakes in celebration!
The crew of the Reaper want to thank the schools for sending their pupils to visit Reaper. The crew greatly enjoyed the children’s enthusiasm, their curiosity, their keenness to join in the activities, and their eagerness to learn about herring fishing and the life of fishermen.
The Boats Club thoughts are already turning to where Reaper might visit for the 2015 Schools Outreach Programme, and continuing an important educational initiative that began in 2009.
The Reaper will next be heading to Portsoy, Arbroath and Whitby for their festivals; a first time visit up the Tyne to a new event in Newcastle; leading the Flotilla in this September’s Forth Bridges Festival; as well visits to other harbours along Scotland’s east coast.