2019 has been a colossal and exciting year for Loch Ness by Jacobite. From extending the tours we have on offer, finally opening our lovely new café and shop An Talla and gaining lots of fabulous new Team Members, this has certainly been a year to remember! Here’s just a few of our highlights…..
Spring is our time for prepping for the busy Summer season ahead. Every year in April we attend the Visit Scotland Expo and hold a social dinner so that we can meet existing and potential travel partners and let them know what Loch Ness by Jacobite is all about. This year the dinner was held in the unique and very charming Clydeside Distillery set in the historic Glasgow docks. It’s always a great way to start the summer season getting to network with companies not only from Scotland but from all around the world. We had another amazing 2 days at the expo and enjoyed seeing some familiar faces there too!
Gearing up for a busy Summer requires some new recruits to make sure we give our visitors the best of Highland hospitality! In February we started our campaign to find new Crew to join our infamous ‘Monster Patrol’. We received an overwhelming amount of C.V’s which eventually led to us finding some fantastic new Crew members who fit perfectly into the Team.
With a new year came new tours. The Mini-Rebellion tour made its debut this summer, leaving from Dochgarroch this 3-hour adventure takes in the scenic Caledonian Canal, Loch Ness and has a 1 hour stop at the historic Urquhart Castle with plenty of opportunity to spot the elusive Nessie! It proved to be a huge hit with our Visitors, and we’re excited to welcome it back in 2020.
At the beginning of every year we ask our Team to nominate a local charity which we can spend the next 12 months fundraising for. This year we chose Mikeysline, a suicide prevention charity in Inverness City centre. Throughout the year we have held bake sales, had sponsored walks, sponsored Loch Ness swims, held a Fireworks night and have just ended the year with a torchlight walk. Our Team have made a sterling effort to raise funds and awareness of this incredibly important charity and we are very proud to say we have raised just over £3000 for them.
Our MD Freda is dedicated to making sure Loch Ness by Jacobite keeps on thriving, Freda is constantly coming up with innovative ways to improve our valued Customers experience with us. In 2006 Freda had the idea to open a luxury café and shop and in 2017 she set this idea in motion! Flash forward to June 2019 when our beautiful new café and shop, An Talla by Loch Ness opened its doors to the public. Offering up the finest local cuisine, Jo Malone, and some superb gift ideas it was sure to please. We are delighted with how our new venture has been received with over 10000 customers in its first month of opening to already being nominated for best restaurant by the Scottish Business Awards. We can’t wait to keep watching An Talla grow and can’t thank our valued customers enough for all their positive feedback and support. With An Talla opening we have been able to welcome some new hospitality superstars to our Team and extend our Jacobite family.
We love seeing old friends here at Jacobite and so we were very excited to welcome back our resident highland coos to Dochgarroch this year. We have had the coos come and spend their Summers with us for the last few years and they always prove to be a massive hit with all our Visitors. This year was no different with the herd keeping everyone very ‘aMOOSed’!
As always Summer flew by and before we knew it, we were on to our Winter timetable, this year with 2 boats running, one from our Dochgarroch stop and the other from the Clansman Hotel Harbour. We are delighted to now be able to offer our Winter travellers more choices when it comes to our tours. Loch Ness is stunning all year round so we are loving being able to show it off in all its winter glory.
In November we held our annual Bonfire and Fireworks night with Moray Firth Fireworks putting on another epic display. Our Chefs were busy all night cooking up a storm on the BBQ and we got to welcome the Mikeysline Team who spent the night painting faces and sharing information about their super charity. It was a great night with around 500 people turning up despite the chilly weather.
Having a fantastic venue like An Talla means we can now offer more events. This Christmas to get people in the festive spirit we welcomed Angela Stewart Creative to come and take 2 wreath making workshops, Angela shared her creative knowledge with 30 fabulous Ladies who all left with showstopping wreaths that would leave their neighbours feeling envious. We didn’t want to leave out the little Ones, the talented Team from Bad Girl Bakery joined us to take festive cupcake decorating workshops, this was a huge success with our participants leaving with cakes so pretty that they would make Mary Berry proud!
After a year of hard work and lots of excitement it was time for the Team to let loose at our Christmas Party, this year being held at the stunning Achnagairn Castle. Everyone had a super time celebrating another successful year, there wasn’t a spot left on the dancefloor with many of our team giving the strictly come dancing cast a run for their money!
So it’s safe to say this year has been another massive milestone for the Jacobite Team, we have welcomed over 320,000 customers on our tours this year beating last year’s numbers and had a successful first 6 months in An Talla with around 25000 customers. We can’t wait to see what 2020 has in store and look forward to welcoming more visitors to our shores!