Posts for July 2014
Thursday 24th Jul 2014
Being situated in the major tourist town of Fort William means that before our guests come from far and wide to enjoy a cruise on Loch Linnhe with us, they tend to have a few questions they’d like answered before they start their holiday or trip. Read on to learn more about our cruises and maybe some of the questions you have will be answered too!
Souters Lass: our cruise boat and licensed bar
How many times a day does Souters Lass sail? From March to October our boat, Souters Lass, cruises four times a day at 10am, 12noon, 2pm and 4pm. During July and August we also offer evening cruises on Mondays, Wednesday and Fridays which depart at 7.30pm. Each cruise – daytime and evening – takes up to 90 minutes.
Are there any areas undercover? Souters Lass has several large undercover areas including a cosy viewing lounge with seating for around 40 people. In the lounge there is also a fully stocked bar which serves a range of hot and cold drinks, and snacks too.
What is the best weather for seeing wildlife? Generally calm water is better for being able to see mammals and birds however wildlife are plentiful in these parts no matter what the weather. Often low tide is better for spotting both otter and heron; though wildlife are so unpredictable you just never know when they will peak out.
Is this sea water? Yes this is a sea water loch called Loch Linnhe. It’s tidal with a great depth range from 40m at the north end, plummeting to around 150m around the centre, thanks to the fact that it is part of the Great Glen fault line.
What direction does the boat sail in? Our daily sailings are in a southerly direction down Loch Linnhe towards the Corran Narrows. See the red dotted line on the map. In the evening we sail in a westerly direction, towards the sunset, down Loch Eil.
What facilities do you have onboard? We have several large undercover areas. In our viewing lounge we have a fully stocked bar which serves a range of hot and cold drinks. The toilets are adjacent to the bar area both of which are accessed by a flight of 10 stairs.
Passengers, access and payment
Detailed below is more information about passenger access and payment. If there is anything we have missed, please don’t hesitate to ask in the box below.
Is this trip suitable for all ages? This trip is great for all ages. We have wildlife colouring sheets for children, along with binoculars to spot the distant wildlife and warm rugs just in case it’s a little chillier than you expected!
Can I bring my dog? Dogs are welcome onboard. Please just advise our staff when you purchase your ticket and they will let you know which areas of the boat are most suitable for you and your pet.
How much does a ticket cost? £14 per adult; £7 per child. Under 5’s are free and a family ticket is £40 (2 adults and up to three children).
Do you take credit cards? Yes we take most major credit cards including Visa, MasterCard and debit cards, as well as cheques and cash.
I have some mobility limitations. What is access onto the boat like? Access to the boat is via a gang plank which is not wide enough for a wheel chair however there is a hand rail on either side. Please see the photograph opposite to give you an idea.
Do you have space on the next cruise? We are licensed to carry up to 125 passengers so you can just turn up at the kiosk on the Town Pier; usually we can get everybody aboard with plenty of room!
Where can I park my car? The large West End Car Park is around 200 metres from the Souters Lass departure point on Fort William’s Town Pier.
We’re certain you will have other questions about Crannog Cruises which we’ve not answered in the above; if so, please post it below and we’ll get back to you.
Thursday 3rd Jul 2014
With the long summer evenings well under way, now is the perfect time to try something a little different and enjoy the spectacular views of Lochaber aboard the historic vessel, Souters Lass, as she heads off on an evening cruise from the town pier in Fort William.
Cruise west to Loch Eil
This 90 minute evening cruise departs at 7.30pm; perfectly timed to enjoy the sun as it begins to set. Souters Lass heads westerly towards Loch Eil leaving the bustling pier and restaurant for the more tranquil waters ahead. On her journey she cruises past the islands at the head of Loch Linnhe; and Corpach Basin, the head of the Caledonian Canal that connects the Scottish east coast at Inverness with the west coast at Corpach near Fort William. The canal was constructed in the early nineteenth century by engineer Thomas Telford, and is a sister canal of the Göta Canal in Sweden, also constructed by Telford.
Souters Lass reaches “The Narrows”, a small passage way between Fort William and Treslaig, a regular nesting spot for heron. Although these large birds are easy to spot our helpful skipper will always give a hand pointing out these and the many other seabirds you will see on your evening trip. Take a look at the bird count recorded in 2012 by expert bird watcher Jon Mercer of Glen Loy Wildlife.
A glimpse of the famous ‘Harry Potter’ steam train
As the boat travels a mile or so more, it passes the new BSW Sawmill, one the largest and most advanced sawmill sites operating anywhere in the UK. Next the water widens and the full size and width of Loch Eil comes into sight. Usually there is time to cruise further westward; perhaps as far as the mussel farm before turning to head towards the railway. Here the famous Jacobite Steam Train travels along the West Coast Railway; arguably the world’s greatest rail journey by steam. Timing is important to catch a glimpse of the Harry Potter-style coaches and the pillar of steam from this special train as it heads back to Fort William.
Our cruise boat turns to head for home displaying the full splendor of the Ben towering above the loch. On a beautiful summer’s evening the fantastic views are enjoyed throughout the journey home; all the time until her ropes are secured at its berth alongside the town pier!
Our evening cruises aboard Souters Lass depart Mondays, Wednesday and Fridays at 7.30pm from 1st July until the end of August in 2015.
Should you need to speak to our crew, call directly on 01397 700714