November’s Anster Nicht In

November’s Anster Nicht In, a talk about the gansey by Di Gilpin, will be held online via Zoom on Thursday 19th November at 7.30pm. Members have been sent details of how to attend the online meeting, and any other parties interested in attending are invited to contact the AIA via email (  

An Exploration of the Gansey
As a lifelong knitter with a special interest in Gansey knitting, Di Gilpin will be taking a journey through the history and special knitting details of these fascinating garments. There is a huge story to tell and a lot of history to discover: tensions, stitch counts, patterns, construction details, yarns, colours and motifs. Di will share these special details and qualities with us on the evening and show how she uses them in her fashion work internationally.  Di is Creative Director of Di Gilpin Ltd, specialising in hand knitting, pattern writing and design.

We hope to see you there!

AGM and October’s Anster Nicht In

The AIA’s AGM will be held online via Zoom on Thursday 15th October at 7pm, just before October’s Anster Nicht In. Members have been sent details of how to attend the online meeting, and any other parties interested in attending are invited to contact the AIA via email (  The agenda can be found here and the accounts for 2019 here. The minutes for the 2019 AGM are here.

Nominations for election to the Board of Trustees are welcomed from Ordinary Members. They must be in writing by at least two Ordinary Members and the nominee should confirm his or her willingness to act as an elected Trustee if elected. Nominations can be made by email as above, or by post to The President at 11 Bankwell Road, Anstruther KY10 3DA not less than seven days before the AGM. Nomination forms can be found here.

Following the AIA’s AGM, at approximately 7.30pm, we will welcome Darren Peattie for our Anster Nicht In:

Salt Harvesting in the East Neuk

Two years ago, after 18 years living and working away, Darren Peattie brought his family home to St Monans. On a family walk at the St Monans salt pans he was struck by an idea to bring salt harvesting back to the East Neuk. Darren will talk us through the history of salt harvesting in the East Neuk, and how he is making his dream of revitalising the industry into a reality with the East Neuk Salt Company. He will also outline the project to reconstruct salt pan house number 9, creating a heritage visitor attraction in St Monans.

We look forward to seeing everyone there!

We’re hiring!

We have secured a National Lottery award from The National Lottery Community Fund, to employ a part-time community development worker for three years.  We’re looking for an experienced community development worker to start at Dreel Halls in early 2021. This is our first employee and will enable a step-change in the level of activity we can support. We are on the verge of completing our capital regeneration project, and this addition to the team will put us in a really strong position to ensure that the refurbished Dreel Halls building can play a key role in making our community even stronger and more resilient than it already is.

The community development worker will be responsible for driving forward the AIA’s strategy to meet the needs of Anstruther’s community, working in partnership with the many other dynamic local groups. In times when we are not subject to the current COVID restrictions, the AIA organises social, cultural and educational events and activities, provides small grants to improve the area, runs the Anstruther Writing Awards, the Anster Cinema and All-Ages Anster Café, contributes to the burgh’s floral displays and manages Dreel Halls. Despite the restrictions, we are still running our winter Anster Nichts lecture series, now online and retitled Anster Nichts In. You can find out more about these on the events page of our website or on our Facebook page. For information on the community development worker role please go to Goodmoves.

New season of Anster Nichts In

The AIA will run the inaugural Anster Nicht In on Thursday 17 September at 7.30pm via Zoom. Members have been sent details for how to attend this online event. Anyone who is not a member and interested in attending should email for more information. 

The Manx Beauty was a state of the art ring net boat built by Provost Carstair’s boat building company on Cellardyke bulwark in 1937. She was launched on the 11th June along with her sister ship, the Manx Fairy, in front of a large crowd. Their connections with the East Neuk did not end there. A community group got together in 2019 to rescue the boat, to restore her to her former beauty and to create multiple projects that would interest and involve many people beyond the historical boat geeks, who see her importance in the story of Cellardyke and fishing boat design.

Richard Wemyss will provide some of the history, exploring the local connections and how the project will make an 83-year-old boat relevant today.

Coronavirus update

The AIA’s Board met today to discuss the impact of COVID19 and to do some planning. During this period, when social interaction carries health risks for many in our community, we decided that it would be sensible to put on hold any of the AIA’s programmed events and activities until further notice. The building programme at Dreel Halls is coming to a close and we had hoped to be able to open our doors and start to welcome back our friends and supporters over the coming weeks, so it is sad that we cannot celebrate the end of our project in this way. However, the health of our community comes first, and we like to think there will be good times ahead when we can come back together and celebrate.

The first event that will be postponed until next season is Di Gilpin’s upcoming Anster Nicht on Ganseys, due to take place this Thursday, 19th March.

Since it requires a great deal of forward planning, volunteer input and face-to-face contact with local businesses, who will have higher priorities in these challenging times, we have also reluctantly agreed to cancel the AIA’s famous Duck Race this year.

The weeks ahead seem full of uncertainty and quite scary, but we are a strong and capable community of good, caring people and there may be no better place to be at this point. Anyone needing a helping hand can contact the AIA via our Facebook page or by through our website’s contact form and we will do our best to assist. Meanwhile, look after yourselves and look after each other.

Boats, Fish and Folk: Anstruther Writing Awards Celebrate 50 Years of the Scottish Fisheries Museum

Now in its seventh year, since first being reinstated in 2013 by the Anstruther Improvements Association (AIA), the 2019 Anstruther Writing Awards are looking for fishing-themed entries to honour the 50th year of the Scottish Fisheries Museum.

With both the Awards and the Museum steeped in fishing heritage, it is a fitting partnership and a wonderful celebration of all things sea-worthy, with a theme this year of ‘Boats, Fish and Folk’.

Entry to this year’s competition is free, and the winners, alongside other selected entries, will be included in a Museum publication in May 2020. The adult categories (poetry and short story) are open Scotland-wide, while the primary and secondary categories (poetry, short story, reflective writing and creative writing) are open to Anstruther school pupils. The competition has a stellar judging panel of Scottish novelist Jennie Erdal, children’s author Chae Strathie, young adult writer Christina Banach and poet Matt Barnard, all of whom look forward to another year of fantastic writing.

Christine Palmer, President of the AIA, said: “I am thrilled that the Anstruther Writing Awards have gone from strength to strength since they were reinstated back in 2013. It is especially exciting this year, the 50th anniversary of the Scottish Fisheries Museum, to celebrate the Museum and our town’s fishing heritage with our fishing theme. We are also delighted with our talented judging panel, who are looking forward to receiving what we hope will be a wonderful array of entries. The AIA would like to wish the Museum a very happy 50th birthday, and we hope this year’s celebratory competition gets the community, and those further afield, to put their pens to paper.”

Andrea Elder from the Scottish Fisheries Museum, said: “Storytelling is a big part of celebrating fishing life in days gone by and the museum has many examples of this, so it is wonderfully fitting that the Anstruther Writing Awards have taken on the theme of Boats, Fish and Folk this year. The AIA have done a fantastic job bringing back the Writing Awards, revived from the town’s traditional ‘Anster Fair’ and we can just imagine the Fisher lads and lassies from way back when, writing their stories and poems. The Museum can’t wait to read the winning entries and publish them alongside a selection of entries next year; a wonderful celebration of fishing in this seaside town.”

The deadline for entries to the Awards is 31 October and there will be a prize giving ceremony at the Fisheries Museum in Anstruther on 28 November. Further information about how to enter the Awards can be found on the Anstruther Writing Awards page.

The Scottish Fisheries Museum opened in 1969 and over the last 50 years has told the story of the boats, fish and folk around Scotland from the first signs of fishing to the present day. This year to celebrate this, they want to read your stories and poems and share them through a publication as part of the 50th anniversary year.

November 2018 update

Phew! We’ve had a busy time of it recently at the AIA. We are well into our current season of Anster Nichts and have enjoyed two highly entertaining talks from King James IV Professor, Chris Oliver, and Stephen Marshall from East Neuk Organic Brewing & Distilling. This Thursday 15th November we welcome Claire Robinson, Collections and Exhibitions Curator in the University of St Andrews Museum Collections Unit, who will talk about the University’s Art Collection.


The All Ages Café came to a successful close on 13th October and is now suspended until after the Phase II capital works on the halls are complete. We are hoping that building work will start in Spring 2019 and the halls will be open and ready for business again in 2020. The monthly Café will re-launch then, with a later slot. Watch this space!


The 2018 Anstruther Writing Awards produced some excellent work and our winners are: Adult Poetry – Linda Menzies; Adult Short Story – Fiona Thackeray; Secondary Poetry – Orla Campbell; Secondary Short Story – Rahima Nazir; Secondary Reflective Writing – Aidan Howie. The Primary winners will be announced at a school assembly on 21st November and publicised shortly after. We would like to thank all the entrants to the Awards, we love receiving your work and are amazed at the talent in our community. We also partnered with Waid Art team to run another wonderful exhibition of S3 self-portraits. The quality of work produced was inspiring and the exhibition was very well attended, with prizes awarded to Rhia Campbell, Fay Cardigan, Julia Haehner, Reece Hall, Connor Otto and Scarlett Penn-Ripley.


Meanwhile, outdoors the AIA volunteer gardeners have been busy tidying up the AIA’s bed and preparing it for winter. We were delighted to have played a part in the recent Beautiful Fife Gold award for Anstruther and Cellardyke and are feeling excited for next year. The town is always looking for more volunteer gardeners, so if you have time to spare and can help, please get in touch.


Last Saturday Christine Keay directed another fabulous Vintage Day at Dreel Halls. This is a key fundraiser for the AIA and a wonderful community event. So many people are involved in making Vintage Day happen and we would like to thank everyone who helped out – from kitchen staff to stall holders and everything in between. The day raised over £750 to keep our community halls open and continue to run the events and activities we put on. Thank you.


On Friday 16th at 7pm we will open Dreel Halls to the whole community for a photographic exhibition showing the impact of litter on the East Neuk’s shoreline. Christine Keay and Graham and Linda James have worked with the AIA and Plastic Free Anstruther to put together this exhibition and everyone is welcome. The exhibition is sponsored by the Community Kist, so our thanks go to Elizabeth Gordon for supporting it. If you can’t get there on Friday there’s another chance to see the exhibition on Sunday 18th between 12 and 5pm. At 6.45pm on Sunday, Anster Cinema will be screening The Clean Bin Project, an entertaining and enlightening documentary about the zero waste movement.


The Cinema continues to run on the first Sunday of the month at 6.45pm. Recent screenings have been Lady Bird, I, Tonya and Rear Window. Due to the uncertainty over the closing date for Dreel Halls for the capital works, there is no programme scheduled for 2019 but the Cinema will continue to run ad hoc until closure, so keep an eye out for posters and our Facebook page.


Anster Cinema was set up in 2016 and those who have attended will be familiar with Roger Sedgley, who introduced the films at the screenings. Roger was instrumental in setting up the cinema and joined the AIA committee in 2016, continuing to programme our seasons and oversee the cinema. Roger died on 28th October and we will miss him enormously. He was a great colleague, with a wry sense of humour, and our community owes him a huge debt for the work he did to establish our cinema.

AIA AGM + Anstruther Burgh Survey project discussion

The AIA’s AGM will be held at Dreel Halls on Thursday 31st August 2017 at 6.30pm. Please come along to hear what the committee has been busy getting up to in the past year, and plans for the future.

Following on from the AIA’s AGM, at approximately 7pm, we will welcome the team that led the Anstruther Burgh Survey, a year-long project involving the Anstruther, Kilrenny and Cellardyke community. They will be available to discuss the project in depth and answer any questions, and will launch the book that has been published to mark the project, which will be available to buy.

The project enabled volunteers to discover and engage with their heritage, exploring the origins and evolution of the burghs through archaeology and historical research. It was part of the Heritage Lottery Fund’s Townscape Heritage Initiative and Historic Environment Scotland’s Conservation Area Regeneration Scheme, led by Fife Council in partnership with Fife Historic Buildings Trust. The survey was delivered by Rathmell Archaeology Ltd, who provided support for the individual volunteer and community archaeology projects.

Building a thriving and resilient community, improving Anstruther for all