Manx Beauty - now at Pitkerie - Feb 20
The Manx Beauty arrives in Pitkerie, February 2020


About The Cellardyke Trust


The Cellardyke Trust ( SC049941) was formed in February 2020 by a group of volunteers who wanted to create an umbrella organisation to support community events and projects in Cellardyke.  Their collective working group experience developed out of running the revived Cellardyke Sea Queen Festival, the Quiet Citizens’ Walk and multiple other projects.  The aim is to create a support network to enable further community events and projects in Cellardyke.


As well as the restoration of the Manx Beauty, the Trust has numerous other projects and partnerships, including with local businesses, schools, community groups, a lobster hatchery, and a knitting group.  Regular talks are given to community groups, Women’s Guild, Rotary, local history interest groups and attendances at maritime festivals.



The Manx Beauty 


Vintage photo of the Manx Beauty in Cellardyke Harbour - coloured by Greg Davis
Vintage photo of the Manx Beauty in Cellardyke Harbour - coloured by Greg Davis


The Manx Beauty is one of three known Cellardyke-built boats to survive today, and the one that is closest to her original build.  Hundreds of vessels were built in the town from 1860-1938.  The company that built Manx Beauty was set up by Provost W Carstairs, a visionary in the Scottish fishing industry who wanted the fishing industry to be more sustainable and fairer to the share fishermen.  The Manx Beauty and her sister ship the Manx Fairy were skippered by East Neuk men and are considered symbolic of the importance of Cellardyke as a fishing community.


Launched in October 2019, the Bring Back The Beauty campaign aimed to return Manx Beauty from Birkenhead, where she had spent the last years of her working life as a fishing vessel, to the East Neuk area of Fife, and to restore her to her former glory.  Following a successful fundraiser, the Manx Beauty arrived home to the East Neuk in February 2020, 81 years since she sailed out of Cellardyke Harbour for the first time.  She is now sited at Pitkerie, one mile out of Anstruther and only two miles from where she was originally built.





Work being carried out on the Manx Beauty, March 2023
Work being carried out on the Manx Beauty, March 2023

The Manx Beauty needs a major restoration to bring her back to her original look and meet MCA standards.  This will involve replacement of her ribs, deck beams and deck, as well as some other planks, internal fit out, and the building of a replica wheelhouse.  The restoration is being carried out by volunteers from various community groups, including East Neuk Men's Shed Group, local schools and charities, and the Scottish Fisheries Museum Boat Club.  The Museum have provided a significant amount of wood towards the rebuild, using wood left over from the restoration of their flagship historic vessel Reaper. 


As of 2023, every inch of the vessel has been measured and surveyed.  From this detailed work a scale model built by David Tod demonstrates the vision of the rebuilt boat.  CAD drawings are also being developed, and the Manx Beauty is covered to protect it.  Volunteers have been stabilising the boat to keep it in the safest condition prior to rebuild, and further plans for individual frames are being drawn up while the Trust works with funders to raise the monies needed to complete the restoration.



The Sea Queen Festival


2022 Sea Queen Festival by Alaistair Ramsay
The 2022 Sea Queen Festival, photo by Alaistair Ramsay


First held in 1948, the aim of Cellardyke's annual Sea Queen Day was to raise the profile of the town and celebrate its links with the sea.  Revived by the Cellardyke Trust in 2018, the new Sea Queen festival celebrates Cellardyke’s past and current communities, and involves the whole community in every aspect – schools, nurseries, community groups, individuals, families, care home residents, young and old.  Reviving the festival has also encouraged research into local history and led to the production of community-led exhibitions. 



Other Projects


Manx Beauty - etching of the boat by Kirstie Behrens
Manx Beauty - etching of the boat by Kirstie Behrens


In August 2021, award-winning young artist Kirstie Behrens became the first Manx Beauty Artist in Residence.  Kirstie lives and works in the East Neuk village of Pittenweem, where she grew up.  She finds great inspiration in the Manx Beauty, and feels that it contains many interesting and varied things to tell us.  As of March 2023, she is working towards a group exhibition at the Watermill Gallery in Aberfeldy.


The Trust have formed a partnership with East Neuk Hatchery.  When the vessel is rebuilt, they plan to offer the public an experience of restocking juvenile lobsters from the Manx Beauty as part of a trip round the May Island.


East Neuk Mens’ Shed are piloting products that can be created from reclaimed and recycled wood arising from the rebuild process.  Works in progress include unique pieces such as table tops, and small pieces of jewellery.


The Trust are also running a pilot knitting project where they have engaged knitters from each area with which the Manx Beauty was associated.  Sample gansey squares based on the theme “a sense of place” are being designed.  This will create a network of heritage knitters to develop a major gansey project.  Areas involved include- East Neuk of Fife, Birkenhead, Isle of Man, North Wales, Cornwall, Tobermory and County Cork, Ireland.


Working with the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland, the Trust are developing a musical theatre performance based round the story of the building of the Manx Beauty.  This will involve young musicians from the Isle of Man, the East Neuk of Fife, and potentially other areas where the vessel worked.


The Eco Project involves almost 60 oak seedlings being fostered by local families and individuals.  Once they are about three years old, the saplings will be retrieved for replanting, thereby replacing more wood than used in the rebuild.  This will also have a positive carbon capture effect.


The Trust are developing a practical sea safety education programme with local RNLI Coxswain Michael Bruce.  Using the rebuilt Manx Beauty, they will take school pupils and community groups aboard and with the RNLI team, lifeboat and training facilities, provide practical experiences at sea.


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