Posts for May 2014

Meet Sarah-Louise: Front of House Manager at Crannog Restaurant

Friday 30th May 2014

Sarah-Louise PedersenSarah-Louise Pedersen started her role as Crannog Restaurant Manager in March 2013; although her connections with the restaurant began back in 1998. While at school, Sarah-Louise worked as a waitress during the holidays. She returned to work at Crannog every summer and continued to do this even when she headed off to Art School in England.

“Quality fish to create uncomplicated dishes”

Sarah-Louise returned to her home town of Fort William after completing her Art course and took up the position of Assistant Manager at the Grog and Gruel, another local restaurant, in 2006. Here she added to her experience by learning management skills before progressing to her current role. On returning to Crannog Sarah-Louise says, “Crannog’s principles remain unchanged. The kitchen team, led by head chef, Stewart MacLachlan, still use the freshest Scottish seafood prepared simply to let the quality of the fish speak for itself. The Crannog ethos hasn’t altered at all over the years.”   Sarah-Louise’s experience in art has also added to her role: owner Lorna Finlayson is an artist and art enthusiast, and the walls of Crannog Restaurant display the work of many local artists.

What’s the best part of your role as Restaurant Manager?

“We work very hard to create the best possible experience for our guests and hearing all the positive comments is easily the most enjoyable part of my job.”

Who would be your typical Crannog guest?

“In this tourist town the guests are varied; for example winter brings skiers, spring brings the Scottish Six Day Trials bikers, summer brings the downhill mountain bikers and those aiming to climb Ben Nevis or complete the West Highland Way. We are so lucky to be located in such a busy and interesting town!”

All in a day’s work

Sarah-Louise Pederson doing paperwork and taking in the loch view from Crannog RestaurantA typical working day for Sarah-Louise starts around 10.30am; she checks lunch and dinner bookings and deals with email reservations. Continual staff training is what Sarah-Louise sees as key to the high levels of service at Crannog, which set it apart from many other restaurants.

After ensuring the restaurant is ready for evening guests, Sarah-Louise grabs the chance for some fresh air and walks her dogs. She returns to the restaurant around 5.30pm, ready for evening service, which starts at 6pm.

After restaurant hours!

Sarah-Louise is a devoted godmother to her friend’s daughter Freya; on her days off Sarah-Louise often collects her from nursery and they enjoy a spot of baking and painting together.

Sarah-Louise also enjoys being on the other side of the table and dines out a lot with her fiancé, Joe – that’s when she’s not dining at Crannog of course!

We hope you have enjoyed learning more about our Restaurant Manager, Sarah-Louise; if you have any questions for her about the restaurant, either pop in to the restaurant on Fort William Town Pier or leave a comment below.


Fort William’s Town Pier to Stay Open

Friday 16th May 2014

“A Fort William cruise boat operator yesterday said the condition of the Lochaber town’s pier would not affect his business, which is a major tourist attraction in the area.

Waverely would not be able to visit Fort William  

Waverley at the busy pier lo-resHowever, Finlay Finlayson, who operates Crannog Cruises and owns Crannog Restaurant, said it was a shame the world-famous Waverley paddle steamer – which also attracts hundreds of tourists to the town – would not be able to visit this year.

Mr Finlayson’s comments came after Highland Council told paddle steamer operator Waverley Excursions that the ship, which has visited Fort William for around 30 years, could not use the Town Pier because its wooden fenders had “become dilapidated”.

No danger of the Town Pier closing

He said: “There is no danger of the pier closing.  We are fully abreast of the situation with the pier and are working with Highland Council.

“It is an old pier and it is only sensible to stop ships that are heavier than 100 tonnes using it until the work has been done.  Souters Lass is 65 tonnes so it is fine.”

He added that Highland Council had been quick to repair any damage to the pier caused by storms.”

Thanks to Sue Reston from the Press & Journal for this article, which featured in the paper on Thursday 15th May.    

If you have any questions about the Town Pier or our cruise boat, Souters Lass, leave a comment below, or contact us on 01397 707115 or email


Celebrating 25 years of Crannog!

Friday 9th May 2014

Since 5th May 1989, Crannog Restaurant has been serving the finest Scottish seafood to locals and visitors to Fort William; 2014 marks the 25th anniversary of this well known, family-run business.

From a bait shed to a Seafood Restaurant

Local fisherman, Finlay Finlayson, found it frustrating to see his catch heading to London markets, instead of being served in the beautiful loch-side setting of his home town.  Finlay decided to convert the bait shed on Fort William Town Pier into a restaurant, and fulfil his dream of serving his catch directly to customers.

Due to the restaurant’s increasing popularity and to make the most of the spectacular views he added a conservatory area to the building, and it boasts one of the finest views up and down Loch Linnhe from the ladies loo!  The Town Pier itself has an interesting history, having been used both as a World War II lookout point and a Caledonian MacBrayne office.

Fishing – a vital role in the community, and Fort William

New FlagsThe name Crannog was chosen by Finlay’s wife Lorna, a history graduate, with an interest in crannogs, which were built in Celtic times as fortified loch dwellings; fishing played a vital role in the crannog community.  The name fitted perfectly with the restaurant’s location and the idea behind the restaurant.

Fresh, local seafood for locals and visitors

Finlay’s ethos, on which the restaurant was created, remains the same to this day;

“Although I no longer fish myself, we still make sure that the fish we serve is landed locally, mostly in Mallaig, and is of the freshest quality.  Our specials board, which is served in addition to our main menu, changes daily depending on the catch landed.  This provides our guests with a great choice of seafood, and also keeps our chefs creative too!

“Lorna and I are incredibly proud of the Crannog ethos of serving fresh, local seafood to locals and visitors in Fort William and are immensely proud of our enthusiastic and loyal staff who continue to make it possible.

“25 years has gone by in a flash, so here’s to the next exciting period!”

Crannog 25th Anniversary

As part of the 25th anniversary celebrations, Crannog Restaurant gave the 25th diners in the restaurant, at lunchtime and in the evening, a complimentary meal!  The above picture shows one of the lucky diners – Anne & Edward Jones from Wales, picture with Finlay and Lorna Finlayson.

Share your memories of Crannog in the comments below; maybe you have been a member of the front of house or kitchen staff? Or perhaps you’re a regular guest – we’d love to hear from you!

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