Loch Ness cruise firm expands in Fort Augustus

A Fort Augustus cruise operator has invested a six-figure sum to enhance its offering as it anticipates its busiest summer to date.

From left: Debi Mackenzie and Ronald Mackenzie of Cruise Loch Ness with Chris Taylor, regional leadership director of VisitScotland. Picture: contributed

Cruise Loch Ness has officially launched a new booking office to cope with increased demand, as it expects to welcome a record number of guests this tourist season.

The fresh investment follows last year’s launch of the Spirit of Loch Ness, a custom built catamaran which holds 220 passengers and has helped the business to meet increasing demand from domestic and overseas visitors to the loch.

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The firm, run by husband and wife team Ronald and Debi Mackenzie, celebrated its 50th anniversary last year.

MD Ronald Mackenzie said: “Our best assets are our team, who we have come to view as family, and the spectacular backdrop that we are lucky enough to call our back garden. Our biggest passion is sharing the delights of Loch Ness with visitors and locals alike.”

Chris Taylor, regional leadership director of Highlands and Outer Hebrides at VisitScotland, who cut the ribbon for the new facility, said: “Cruise Loch Ness is a brilliant demonstration of the positive economic impact that a five-star tourist attraction can have on a small community, not to mention, a great day out.”

Cruise Loch Ness was crowned small business of the year at the national FSB Business Awards in May.

Meanwhile a hotel, bar and restaurant in Fort Augustus has been brought to market by hotel property specialist Cornerstone Business Agents.

The Richmond House Hotel on the shores of Loch Ness, for sale at a guide price of £725,000, offers nine letting rooms along with a two-bedroomed owners house.

David Higgins, director at Cornerstone Business Agents, said: “Although extremely busy during the summer months, this area of the country also attracts visitors throughout the year.”