Posts for Crannog

Celebrate this Christmas at Crannog!

Friday 26th Sep 2014

With the nights drawing in and an autumnal feel in the air, it’s time to think about Christmas dining celebrations! What better place to choose when eating out over the festive season than Crannog Seafood Restaurant? Dine with us and enjoy the wonderful menu that Head Chef Stewart MacLachlan has created.

Popular dishes on our Christmas Menu

From his experience of creating seasonal menus for the restaurant, Stewart has included a mix of popular seafood, meat dishes and a vegetarian option too, Seared Islay Scallops served with celeriac remoulade and pickled fennelensuring all customer tastes are catered for. Scallops are always a firm favourite, so for our 2014 Christmas menu Stewart has chosen to include King Scallops in the selection of starters.  Fresh from Islay, they are brought directly from the fishing boat to our restaurant to ensure these delightful shellfish are served at their best.

Another popular inclusion is the Seared Scottish Sirloin or Rib-Eye Steak served with a tattie terrine, braised red cabbage and a pink peppercorn sauce. This leaves meat eaters to decide between the luscious tender cut of the Sirloin or the juicy and more succulent Rib-eye. Both are freshly pan-fried to your taste.

Dark Chocolate Brownie from Crannogs Christmas Menu served in DecemberChoosing the dessert is tough; tradionalists will be likely to choose the Crannog Christmas Pudding served with cranberry and toffee sauce and brandy ice cream; however Crannog’s Dark Chocolate Brownie with caramelised banana, and orange and pomegranate crème fraîche is certain to be a real favourite during the festivities.

Christmas Lunch or Dinner from 11th December

Dine out this Christmas at Crannog These are just a selection of the range of dishes available throughout December; read our full Christmas menu here. This menu will be served for both lunch and dinner from Thursday 11th December until Wednesday 24th December inclusive; plus our three course special lunch menu will still be available throughout December, with a Christmas theme, for £18.95.

If you would like to see our full Christmas Menu for 2014 click here or, to book, email info@crannog.net or call Sarah-Louise, our Restaurant Manager, on 01397 705589.

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What’s on your plate? Scottish Shellfish

Thursday 28th Aug 2014

One of the things we’re most proud of at Crannog Restaurant is the wealth of beautiful shellfish and seafood that’s available in Scotland.   The pure, plankton-rich waters around Scotland’s coast and inlets produce delicious, high quality seafood that is not only enjoyed on our shores, but exported all over the world.

140820 Lobster £189Lobster from Eigg, Scallops from Islay

This season our customers have been enjoying mussels from local lochs such as Loch Nan Uamh and Loch Eil, scallops from Islay, langoustines and crab from Mallaig, and lobster from Eigg (we had one lobster recently that weighed in at 3.5kg!).

Our chefs believe the quality of our Scottish shellfish speaks for itself, so more often than not we serve our shellfish simply: langoustines with garlic butter, or mussels in a classic white wine sauce.  

Crannog Restaurant Head Chef shares his secrets

Head chef, Stewart MacLachlan, shares his method for cooking Lobster Thermidor here; download the recipe and try it yourself.  Let us know how you get on!

You can read more about how we source the seafood and shellfish on our menu here.  Our specials board changes daily, depending on the catch, so to find out what’s on today give us a call on 01397 705589 or email us on info@crannog.net

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What questions do you have about Fort William’s Crannog Cruise?

Thursday 24th Jul 2014

Souters Lass Crannog Cruise Boat sailing on Loch LinnheBeing 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 LCrannog Cruise Boat Souters Less Bar Areaass 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.

Souters Lass Route on Loch Linnhe and Loch EilWhat 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 thCrannog Cruise Boat Fort William Souters Lass Gang Planke 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.

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A Relaxing Way to Enjoy a Summer Evening

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

Evening Cruise with logo 2This 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.

Heron with logoSouters 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.

Evening Cruise with logoThe splendour of the Ben!

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

Have you taken an evening cruise with us?  What was the best part of the journey?  Share your experience of the cruise below:

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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.

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