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
The 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!”
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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