Loch Ness and Urquhart Castle Cruises
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About Loch Ness by Jacobite

For 40 years, Jacobite has helped customers to experience the mysteries and myths of the worldfamous Loch Ness.

Each year, our friendly and professional crew entertain more than 100,000 visitors with awardwinning cruises and tours on board our impressive fleet.

With a choice of Jacobite experiences lasting from 60 minutes to seven hours, Loch Ness by Jacobite offers a more comprehensive collection of Loch Ness cruises and tours. 

Thanks to our continued commitment to outstanding customer service, we've been awarded fivestars for our cruises and tours by VisitScotland as well as the TripAdvisor Certificate of Excellence and a Gold award for Green Tourism.

Our aim is to help you create your own story of Loch Ness and ensure you get the most from what could be a once in a lifetime visit to this beautiful part of the world.

Making Waves around the World

Our cruises and tours are the culmination of years of experience, our knowledge of the Loch, a dedicated approach to safety and our enthusiasm for creating new ways to enhance our customers' experiences.

Cruises leave from Inverness Bus Station, Tomnahurich Bridge, Dochgarroch Lock and Clansman Harbour, with visits to Urquhart Castle and the Loch Ness Exhibition Centre included in some tours. For something more exclusive, charters are also available for wedding receptions, corporate hospitality and special events.

If you would like to talk to someone about an event you're planning, or to discuss any of our cruises and tours, please get in touch with the Loch Ness by Jacobite team.

History of our Loch Ness Cruises

It's changed days from the company's early years. Founded in 1975 by Inverness quarry master Dan McWilliam, Jacobite Cruises carried 15,000 in its first year of operation, which was at the time regarded as something of a breakthrough in opening up the pleasures of Loch Ness to locals and visitors.

Having established and developed the business, Dan sought a buyer, at which point local hotelier Rod Michie and local publican George MacLean were approached and, in March 1983, the company was made over to them. Two years later, Rod and his wife Etta were in sole ownership of Jacobite Cruises.

In the early years of Rod Michie's ownership, the company purchased the first of three mini-buses. This combination of bus and cruise from Clansman Harbour has continued ever since. Then, in 1987, Rod purchased a former near derelict Tyne ferry Tyne Queen, which, as it happens, featured in the gangster movie, Get Carter.

Re-branding, re-furbishing and re-focussing

Rod had her completely re-built with a spacious new saloon and observation deck, embellished by a traditional 1930s' style funnel. She was renamed Jacobite Queen to become the flagship of the fleet with twice the capacity of any previous Jacobite vessel at 159 passengers.

This classic ship operates to this day twice daily in time-honoured fashion from Tomnahurich Bridge, Inverness down the Caledonian Canal and into Loch Ness to Urquhart Castle.

When the new millennium dawned, with the company on a sound commercial footing, patronage had reached 35,000 passengers. As he was approaching 60, however, Rod decided to hand the baton over to someone else. That someone was bus woman and local entrepreneur Freda Newton who bought the company in March 2002.

Over the winter of 2002-03, Freda set about a programme of re-branding, re-furbishing and re-focussing. The vessels were upgraded internally and externally repainted in the new house colours of purple hulls with white upper works. Coaches sported a new silver grey paint scheme.

The company's services were then marketed as a series of integrated cruise and coach based tours aimed at satisfying a range of tastes and pockets. Recognising his expertise, Freda was keen to retain Rod and he was persuaded to remain with the company as an executive director.

Prompted by a desire to retain staff, the company extended most of the tours into the winter of 2003/4, the first year in which regular winter sailings had been provided on the Loch since 1929. The evolution from a seasonal to year-round operation resulted in a substantial and continued year on year growth in traffic and revenue.

As patronage grew, larger vessels were purchased and, in due course, they were replaced by ships of even greater capacity. The current mode of operation commenced with the purchase of the French catamaran Sept Iles in 2011 and, after refurbishment, she was renamed Jacobite Warrior by Fergus Ewing MSP in 2012.

Every two hours to Urquhart Castle

The catamaran design provides a broad beam and generous 250 passenger capacity such that the Warrior has proven to be a highly successful acquisition with a marked boost to carryings on her normal hourly run between Clansman Harbour and Urquhart Castle.

In 2014, a Princess 45 motor yacht was purchased to cater for the growing market for smaller parties seeking high-end charters and exclusive use for the patrons of luxury locations such as Aldourie and Skibo Castles. She can take parties of up to 12 persons and was, of course, named Jacobite Princess, the third of the name.

That year, too, a vessel of intermediate size was required. The search focussed once again on France and a second catamaran Jules Verne IV was purchased. After extensive refurbishment, the new acquisition was renamed Jacobite Rebel.

She operates every two hours to Urquhart Castle from the company's new base at Dochgarroch, some five miles from Inverness with which a connection is made by Inverness's open-top City Sightseeing buses, also operated by Jacobite.

The continuous improvement in the quality and capacity of Jacobite's vessels and cruise experience has undoubtedly been a major component in the customer growth that has been achieved. As 2015 signalled the company's 40th anniversary, the operation was rebranded "Loch Ness by Jacobite".

The quality of the Jacobite operation has not gone unrecognised within the tourism industry, having won no less than 15 awards since 2003 in addition to winning the coveted Visit Scotland's 5-Star award every year since 2006.

2016 saw a £½million upgrade of Clansman harbour and the purchase of a new 47 seater MAN Beulas coach. It also marked the end of an era, for, on 31st December, Rod Michie retired from the company as executive director although he still retains a non-executive role.

The future looks bright for Jacobite and for anyone seeking to enjoy a cruise on the far-famed waters of Loch Ness.


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