We had a great and exciting start to 2017 when it was announced in the New Year’s Honours list that our MD, Freda Newton, had been awarded the MBE. This was an excellent way to kick off what turned out to be our busiest year to date.
2017 was also the Year of History Heritage and Archaeology when Scotland celebrated its intriguing history, its impressive cultural heritage, and fascinating archaeology. The latter manifested itself in the discovery of a 4500-year-old Bronze Age beaker in a burial chamber on the site of the new surgery in Drumnadrochit village.
We went viral on social media with an amazing PR stunt that we orchestrated at Inverness Airport. As you waited at the carousel for your luggage, you were greeted by our very own Jacobite Jess, in large and small forms, flying round the carousel.
In April, we remembered Culloden, the last battle fought on British soil between the Jacobites of Bonnie Prince Charlie and the Hanoverians led by the Duke of Cumberland. It took place on 16th April, 1746, and the Jacobites were defeated. That put an end to the Stuarts’ attempt to regain the throne of Scotland and changed the course of history.
We also saw the 200th Anniversary of the Inverness Courier, the newspaper that triggered the world’s interest in the Loch Ness Monster. In 1934, the paper published an article entitled “Strange Spectacle on Loch Ness” and, as they say, the rest is history.
In June, the long-awaited TV thriller “The Loch” was broadcast. The scenery of the loch and the highlands was great, and it was a great advert for the area.
Summer came alive with the run of Highland Games and festivals taking place all over the Highlands. Inverness Highland Games was a great success with the heavyweights, pipes and drums, and Highland dancers.
At our main base at Dochgarroch Lock a sculpture of the Scottish Thistle was installed as the magnificent centre piece of our car park. This also marked our MD Freda being honoured with the Silver Thistle Award for her outstanding contribution to Scottish Tourism.
We then discovered Loch Ness was very popular in a survey conducted to find the places that made people most happy. Happy Ness for us all!
In September, we paused for reflection to remember John Cobb – speedster who was tragically killed at Loch Ness on September 29th, 1952. At the time, he was attempting to set the world water speed record in his jet-powered boat Crusader.
We marked the 30th Anniversary of “Operation Deepscan“, the sonar search of Loch Ness, in October 1987, undertaken by scientist Adrian Shine. This involved a flotilla of cabin cruisers spaced out across Loch Ness and installed with the latest sonar technology to try and capture any unusual contacts below the surface.
It was also a vintage year for sightings of the Loch Ness Monster – the most this century. They were recorded – along with more than 1000 others – in the Official Loch Ness Sightings Register which is maintained by Gary Campbell.
These are just some of the moments from 2017. Today marks the start of a great new year … we look forward to seeing you and sharing our experiences in 2018.