First Oyster Festival In Scotland

Scotland is renowned for its seafood from salmon, trout and herring, but did you know about Scotland’s oysters? This year Stranraer celebrated its first Oyster Festival in Scotland, it was packed with live music, cookery demonstrations from famous chefs to the Oyster Shucking competition and much more. Here is what you need to know about Scotland’s oysters and its first Oyster Festival.

Oyster Festival In Scotland. Stranraer Oyster Festival
Stranraer Oyster Festival ©MDHarding

Highlights of Stranraer Oyster Festival in Scotland

Scotland’s Oysters

Oysters, said to be an aphrodisiac are ethically sourced in Loch Fyne known for the production of the finest seafood but in Stranraer, Loch Ryan is Scotland’s only native oyster bed dating back to 1701. Once oysters were harvested in their millions, then by the 1950’s the population plummeted, the oyster nearly extinct has been carefully managed and now the population and stock levels are rising.

Oyster Festival In Scotland. Loch Ryan Oysters
Loch Ryan Oysters ©MDHarding

Stranraer Oyster Festival

Stranraer, a town on the west coast of Scotland in the county of Dumfries and Galloway, for more than a century a busy ferry port between Stranraer and Larne, Northern Ireland.

The festival started 15th September 2017 on a high, with a large turnout of both locals and visitors eagerly anticipating the boat –  Vital Spark, with its delivery of Loch Ryan Oysters and the entertaining handover.

Opening Highlights Stranraer Oyster Festival ©MDHarding 

Cooking with Oysters

On the opening night there was the largest oyster Paella prepared by John Henry from Henry’s Bay House Restaurant, then there were spiced pakora oysters from Hardeep Singh Kohli. What next? Normally enjoyed with tabasco sauce. The crowds loved them.

Oyster Festival In Scotland. Cooking Masterclass with Hardeep Singh Kohli
Cooking Masterclass with Hardeep Singh Kohli ©MDHarding

Oyster Shucking Competition

Oyster Shucking takes place around the world with many a competitor striving to open as many oysters as quickly as possible, the cleanest and best win. Tristan made it look easy with only a knife (some wear a protective glove), working quickly and presenting the best. It was an entertaining afternoon presented by Canadian Oyster Shucking Champion and Guinness Record breaker Patrick McMurray, watching shells flying and the competition end on a wave of adrenaline.

Oyster Shucking Finalist - Tristan Hugh-Jones. Oyster Festival In Scotland.
Oyster Shucking Finalist – Tristan Hugh-Jones ©MDHarding

Big Oyster Bash

What better way to enjoy good Scottish food than with great Scottish music. The Dangleberries put on an amazing performance with lots of well-known classics and newcomers. The Oysters and beverages were enjoyed into the wee hours.

The Big Oyster Bash with the Dangleberries. Oyster Festival In Scotland.
The Big Oyster Bash with the Dangleberries ©MDHarding

Getting to Stranraer & Accommodation

It is easy to reach Stranraer, there are 12 daily departures with Scotrail from Glasgow Central to Stranraer taking 2.5 hours. You could also take a bus from Buchannan Street Bus Station, Glasgow to Stranraer. The easiest and most convenient way to visit Stranraer is by car. It also gives you more flexibility to visit the nearby attractions and places of interest such as Castle Kennedy Gardens and Mull of Galloway Experience. With scenic routes along the Ayrshire coast looking out onto the western Scottish Isles such as Ailsa Craig. If flying into Edinburgh or Glasgow Airport why not pre-book a hire car, so it’s available to collect upon arrival.

There are a number of accommodation options including small guest house’s, B&B’s and also small hotels. The most central is the North West Castle Hotel, which has its own car park and within easy walking distance to explore the town.

Ailsa Craig. Oyster Festival In Scotland.
Ailsa Craig ©MDHarding

I hope you have enjoyed reading about Scotland’s oysters and the first Oyster Festival in Scotland. As always I would love to hear from you.  Have you tried an oyster or two? Was it one of your most memorable experiences? Please leave any comments/questions below. Happy Travels:) x

Thank you to Stranraer Oyster Festival.

About MichelleDeansHarding


 Michelle has a love of travel and photography, which has currently taken her to six continents. Experiencing other cultures/history and food both independently and while working on-board luxury cruise ships. Discover more about Michelle, her enthusiasm for travel and photography via:

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One Response

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    Kenny Boag

    Myself and my daughter attended the festival and we were presently surprised at how wonderful the festival was. What a well ran and organised festival, not only that but there was also a regatta that was taking place as welll. The whole event was fantastic and I hope the event will take place next year and for many years to come.


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