Banff Rotary has a long-standing relationship with the Rotary Club of Kopervik in Norway.

Banff was delighted to welcome a contingent of 15 Norwegians from the Rotary Club of Kopervik last

week.  Invited by the Rotary Club of Banff with whom they have a long association, the group spent

three days enjoying the many facets  of Banff and the immediate surrounding area on offer – from

food to heritage and from music to business.


President John West explained “There has been a connection with the Kopervik going back over 30

years.   A visit to Scotland was long overdue, and although the visit was largely about fellowship and

fun, we did make  time for business – after all,  Rotary is a hugely collaborative organisation and quite

often smaller clubs work together to deliver a piece of work or a project more speedily.


John West continued –“Food and drink is a big part of the social lives of most people, and Rotarians

are no different!  As a result, we had a wonderful BBQ at Bogside Farm on the first evening.  With

dark clouds gathering overhead, Charlie Bruce made us very comfortable in one of his outbuildings.

It was “rustic” at it’s best and the food was delicious, too”!!


The group were welcomed at Duff House by Graeme Curran who gave a full tour of the house, and at

The Long Gallery was able to reveal to the visitors, murals painted by members of the Norwegian

Brigade  head-quartered there from 1942.  “It added a very special and poignant moment to the

tour” said Programme Organiser, Jan Emery.  Graeme has enormous knowledge and made the tour

very special for our guests”.  This was followed by a walk to Alvah Bridge.

She continued “We arranged a programme which was varied, but relaxed.  The reality is that there’s

so much to see in the immediate vicinity of Banff so we managed to arrange a great mix of heritage,

fresh air and fun.  The next day we headed out to Gardenstown where volunteer Eleanor Hepburn

gave a highly personal insight into the history of the village and the fishing industry,  at the harbour-

side Heritage Centre.

It was a fantastic morning and we headed along the coastal path to Crovie, which was a real surprise

to the Norwegians who had never seen a settlement quite like that before.  It was quite something

to see everyone sitting in the sun at Crovie, listening to former fisherman and Harbour Master John

West who regaled the story of the  amazing rescue of 7 men from the Ebenezer, a Norwegian

schooner  which got into great difficulties on the rocks off  Whitehills in 1900”.  John explained “In

those days, it was the Banff and Macduff Lifeboat, name “Help for the Helpless”


The Norwegians were very touched listening to the story.  Lasse Pedersen, a Kopervik Rotarian who

has visited 4 times previously said “I think this has been my best visit yet”.  Banff Rotarians were

delighted with this feedback and explained “we tried very hard to ensure there were lots of very

personal and highly relevant touches, and there’s no question that these were hugely appreciated. 

After all, there are many, many connections between Norway and the north east of Scotland.


All that walking really stimulated the appetite – which is just as well because we enjoyed the most

terrific lunch at “Teapot 1” in Gardenstown on our return from the walk.  Then, at our formal

dinner that evening, we had a wonderful feast at the Fife Lodge Hotel.   Sissel Banford, a Norwegian

married to a Scot, and living in Macduff,  gave a brief speech about “A Norwegian Living in Scotland”

which was greatly  enjoyed by both the Scots and Norwegians alike.  Rotarian Ian Moir organised a

post-dinner evening of music – provided by  the Strathspey & Reel Society and Portsoy Pipe Major,

Robert Legge.; and dance from Amy Watson and Benna Runcie gave a wonderful display of Highland

Dancing followed by  Country Dancing display by Alice Archibald and the Macduff Scottish Country

Dancers.   The  evening was a wonderful celebration of Scottish culture, music, food and tradition”

said Jan Emery. 


The sun shone throughout the final day of the visit and a walking tour of Portsoy was much-enjoyed

by most of the group, whilst several Rotarians met to discuss their working partnership” said John

West,  “but the great surprise was the very warm weather – no-one could’ve predicted how great it

would be.  Our visitors loved being out in this lovely landscape in such good weather – and it was a

real treat for the Banff members, too.  Let’s face it, when you live somewhere you can easily forget

some of the local beauty spots – so we absolutely made the right decision to “keep it local”.


On our final evening together we enjoyed a great supper at The Royal Duff House Golf Club.  Several

of our guests remarked how wonderful the view is from the lounge there.  “In fact”, said Vibeka

“everywhere you look here the scenery is just wonderful”.


Arve Haaland, the President of Kopervik Rotary Club, spoke at the end of the evening and was full of

praise for the hospitality of the local Club.  This was his first visit to Banffshire – the same for

half the group -  and he made it very clear they would all be back, which is great to hear” said

President John West,  “but in the meantime we have an invitation to visit our Norwegian colleagues 

on their home turf, so we have plenty to do and plan”.

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back Through the diverse experiences that each member brings to the Club, we improve the service we provide to our local communities and internationally.

'What We Do' Main Pages:

Annual Banffshire Cycle Challenge

We hold several fundraising activities throughout the year.


We support youth development in our community in a number of ways: through Rotary programs such as Rotakids and Rotary Youth Leadership Awards (RYLA) and through local projects which engage young people in learning and development opportunities.


Through the diverse experiences that each member brings to the Club, we improve the service we provide to our local communities and internationally.