Highland cafe serves up bumper first month numbers with 10,000 guests

Barrie Aird of Bank of Scotland and An Talla's Freda Newton. Picture: contributed
Barrie Aird of Bank of Scotland and An Talla's Freda Newton. Picture: contributed
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A Highland cafe and retail destination has welcomed 10,000 customers during its inaugural month, more than doubling its target.

An Talla, a Victorian village hall in Dochgarroch, at the head of Loch Ness, has been transformed by Freda Newton, owner of cruise operator Loch Ness by Jacobite.

It opened last month after a two-year, £2.5 million build and refurbishment, supported by seven-figure funding from Bank of Scotland.

Customers have feasted on more than 6,000 lunches, 3,000 cakes, 4,250 cups of coffee and 1,600 teas since the cafe opened its doors.

An Talla’s local suppliers include Muir of Ord’s Bad Girl Bakery, Tain’s Highland Fine Cheeses, Inverness’ Duncan Fraser Butcher, Aviemore’s Loch Ness Brewery and Ardersier’s Connage Cheese.

Newton said: “Refurbishing and stocking An Talla was a real labour of love. Over the past few years we have poured over designs and travelled the length of the country selecting the best products to sell. So, it is absolutely wonderful to see others love what we’ve done.

“With Loch Ness by Jacobite we’ve managed a tourism business for 17 years. Now with An Talla, we have a product that is as popular with locals as it is with visitors, which is a real boost for the overall business.”

Barrie Aird, relationship manager at Bank of Scotland, added: “Tourism contributes more than £11 billion a year to the Scottish economy and brings a huge amount to communities like Dochgarroch. The vibrancy and strength of the sector is fuelled by healthy competition. For us, helping operators like Jacobite diversify their offering to stay ahead of the game is extremely rewarding and one way we’re helping Scotland prosper."