Coronavirus has made us all think a little more - given that we find ourselves with an abundance of time. All of a sudden the little tasks we have put off become our top priorities, trying to keep ourselves occupied and pretend that this whole “self-isolation” thing isn’t as bad as you thought it was going to be.
For us at Loch Ness by Jacobite, working from home just before the start of the summer season is strange. This is the time when the marketing team is frantically ensuring the brochure has gone to print, the signs are done and all online platforms are ready for summer. The bookings team are inundated with requests and the operations team are sweating over the jam-packed timetable. Our new summer seasonal team would be learning the ropes, the boats would be getting a little TLC to ensure they are ready to welcome our enthusiastic travellers onboard and there is a buzz in the air and excitement in the atmosphere.
Today, there is silence. Instead of ensuring our boats are ready to go, we made sure they were secure to be locked up for weeks on end. We made sure the restaurant was cleaned down, the kitchen emptied the gift shop wrapped up and put into storage.
This isn’t the usual way of doing things and it can't be the new normal. For a team of people who are outdoor-focused, the change has been challenging, emotional and above all an eye-opener.
Without our boats, without our customers, without each other, we really have no purpose. Loch Ness by Jacobite is built on pride and passion. A passion for our home, the rugged glens and breath-taking views. A passion for the history that surrounds us, from the Wellington Bomber to the historic ruin that is Urquhart Castle. We are proud. We are so proud to be able to give people the chance to experience the mighty Loch Ness. We are proud to have a team of incredible people. We are proud to welcome people from all over the world, from all walks of life onboard our boats.
And whilst the appetite for travel may be soured, when we return to work and hug our colleagues when we put the gangways down and open the doors ready for business, we hope to see you there.
It may be a while before we welcome our overseas friends back to the Scottish Highlands, but what we can do is welcome our locals. So when this is over, when we can go back outside, when we can walk together, hug each other, visit our families and chat to our neighbours - celebrate with Loch Ness by Jacobite. Together, we can rebuild the beautiful thing we had before. And in all of it, we’ll remember this as a time in history, when everything we ever took for granted was so quickly taken from us.
From all of us at Loch Ness by Jacobite, stay safe and we cannot wait to see you again, shake hands with you and welcome you onboard to cruise the majestic Loch Ness.