Posts for Cruise
Thursday 3rd Sep 2015
“There’s something about warm summer days that make me want to get out on the water. So, with the sun shining last Friday morning, we set off for a family trip along Loch Linnhe aboard the Souter’s Lass.
The boat sets off from beside the Crannog restaurant at Fort William Town Pier, and over the course of 90 minutes or so takes in a number of sights along the loch – including a large rock in the middle of the water which has come to be known as ‘Seal Island.’ You can probably figure out how it came by that name, but, if not, keep reading and I’ll reveal all.
We were on the ten o’clock sailing, and being the first day of the local schools’ summer holidays, we expected the boat to be much busier than it was. Not that we were complaining, as it gave us more room to roam around and everyone had an uninterrupted view out over the water.
The twelve o’clock sailing was much busier, so I think we made the right choice by going for the earlier option – although my 13-year-old son, who had been planning a lie-in for the first day of the holidays, might disagree.
Entertaining and Informative
Our skipper for the trip was incredibly knowledgeable about not just the loch, but Fort William and Lochaber in general. His narration as we cruised along Loch Linnhe was entertaining and informative, and his eagle-eyes even spotted a porpoise splashing around not far from the boat – one of the first sightings of the season. Unfortunately, I wasn’t as quick off the mark, and by the time I’d got the camera ready the only sign the porpoise had been there was an expanding ripple on the water’s surface.
We continued along the loch, passing a salmon farm, spotting lots of big silvery fish leaping around, and taking in views of the area that even we, as locals, aren’t used to seeing.
Although the sun was shining, a cold breeze was blowing. Luckily, the crew was on hand with a selection of blankets for those feeling the chill. On colder days, I’d imagine the covered seating area downstairs gets a few visitors – especially with its well-stocked bar!
In what felt like no time at all, we had reached Seal Island. Some days there can be upwards of a dozen seals flopping around on the rock and sunning themselves after a hearty scoff. Today, though, there was just one. He kept a close eye on us as we slowly circled around, snapping photos and shooting video for all we were worth.
The seals are easily startled by high-pitched noises – the voices of young children in particular can spook them – so a hush descended among all those on board as we looked at the seal and the seal looked back.
Eventually, we said goodbye to the island’s sole inhabitant and returned to the Crannog – although not before hearing about the trainee divers residing hundreds of feet below us in the Underwater Centre’s submerged Loch Linnhe training capsule. Apparently they stay down there for three weeks, breathing a mixture of Helium and Oxygen. Rather them than me!
Lunch at the Crannog Restaurant
After the cruise came the bit I was really looking forward to – lunch at the Crannog Seafood Restaurant. I’m a huge fan of fresh seafood, and there are very few places in the Highlands that do it as well as the Crannog does.
As part of the Cruise and Dine package, we were able to choose from a set three-course lunch menu, and although there were only two or three options for each course, the variety of the food on offer meant we felt spoiled for choice.
We opted for starters of Fish Pie and Smoked Haddock salad, and both dishes were vibrant and fresh, with a strong but not overpowering fishy flavour. My dad, who is as much of a seafood fan as I am, remarked that the smoked haddock was the best he’d ever had, and I have to admit I can’t think of ever eating a better fish pie.
The main course didn’t let us down, either. The Hake was flaky and melt-in-the-mouth soft, while my Breaded Haddock with Sautéed Potatoes was so good it’s probably ruined all other Fish & Chips for me for life.
My dad was too stuffed to tackle dessert, but I bravely pushed on, opting for the selection of ice creams over the dark chocolate cheesecake on offer. Rich, creamy and full of flavour, there was nothing I could find to fault about that course, either.
At just £25 per adult for the cruise and lunch, this would be a great value deal even if the food was average. The fact that for your money you’re getting a fantastic three-course meal from one of the best seafood restaurants in Europe means it’s an offer too good to pass up.”
Tuesday 30th Jun 2015
With school term time nearly complete for the summer holidays a few local schools here in Fort William, Lochaber have been enjoying a special children’s activity. Banavie Primary School is one school which recently spent a few hours on a family friendly outing aboard Crannog’s cruise boat, Souters Lass.
The primary school children enjoyed their journey down Loch Linnhe, departing from the Town Pier in Fort William. They were able to admire views of Ben Nevis, spot wildlife and hear more from our knowledgeable skipper about the animals and birds which live and thrive in the locality of Loch Linnhe.
In the below deck viewing lounge, the children used activity sheets to help them spot the local wildlife, and they had fun colouring the sheets in.
Feedback from other young cruise guests
“Thank you for our school trip to the Souters Lass. It was the best trip in the whole wide world!” from Mes
“To all the crew of Souters Lass, I am a pupil from Banavie Primary School. I am writing to say thank you for letting us on your boat. I liked going past the fish farm because the fish were jumping up and down” from Marcus
“Thank you for all the information about Loch Linnhe and the animals that live there. I would love to go back and have another trip” from Natasha
“Thank you for taking us on the cruises and showing us the animals” from Ryan
“Thank you for giving us a cruise for 90 minutes on Loch Linnhe. I saw 6 seals” from Cory
“Thank you for the lovely boat ride and telling us about the seals. The seals were cool” from Archie
“Thank you for the trip on the boat. I really enjoyed it and I saw lots of jellyfish there was about 150” from Molly
“Thank you for showing me the fish farm. I liked the way the fish jumped in and out of the water. I also liked the mussel farm. I hope you liked taking us on the boat. The Souters Lass is one of the bits I liked most of all” from Tom
If you are interested in joining one of our family friendly Crannog cruises in Fort William, Souters Lass will be departing at 10am, 12noon, 2pm and 4pm everyday throughout the summer holidays!
Visit www.crannog.net for more information or give us a call on 01397 700714.
Wednesday 27th May 2015
Following a recent trip to Fort William, travel writer Robin McKelvie joined a Crannog evening cruise. Read on to discover his journey aboard Crannog’s cruise boat, Souters Lass, as told by Barry Hutchison, from the Outdoor Capital of the UK.
Stepping aboard the Souter’s Lass at the Fort William town pier, the family embarked on a trip which saw them take in some of Lochaber’s spectacular scenery including Ben Nevis, the UK’s highest mountain.
Popular for all ages
The cruises are a popular activity for visitors and locals alike, as they journey along the loch to pay a visit to the seals who like to bask in the sun on Seal Island. The 90 minute cruises offer the opportunity to spot more than seals, though, with porpoise and golden eagles both being known to put in appearances along the route.
For those rare, once-in-a-blue-moon occasions when it rains in Lochaber, the Souter’s Lass is equipped with an all-weather viewing level where guests can also enjoy some food, drink and traditional Highland hospitality.
Great in all weathers
Rain didn’t prove a problem for Robin and family, though, and a great time was spent spotting wildlife, marvelling at scenery, and standing up the front with arms held out pretending to be Kate Winslet in Titanic.
OK, that last bit was just me, but everyone else had a great time, too.
This is reblogged from the Diaries produced by the Outdoor Capital of the UK; see more on Robin’s adventures in and around Fort William and Lochaber on their website here.
Our cruises depart at 10am, 12noon, 2pm and 4pm; our Evening Cruises take place at 7.30pm on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays during July and August. All cruises depart from the Town Pier here in Fort William. Just turn up around 15 minutes prior to departure.
Saturday 21st Mar 2015
As the Easter Holidays are fast approaching, many families and carers will be looking for a fun and interesting activity for the kids; and of course we’re in Scotland, so it’ll need to be an activity that’s suitable for a sunny or a rainy day! Crannog Cruises will be running every day throughout the Easter Holidays, departing Fort William Town Pier at 10am, 12pm, 2pm and 4pm.
Easter Holidays: Family Activity
Our skipper gives a warm welcome and a watchful eye to ensure safety for all. You can spot the emerging spring wildlife from the open decks; at the start of the season there are regular sightings of deer on the surrounding hills, as well as seals and baby seals, porpoise, and the occasional white-tailed eagle.
If you’d prefer to be under cover we have an indoor viewing area – which also has lots of information about the local sights, and wildlife colouring sheets and crayons. You can also enjoy a warm cup of tea, or a cool gin & tonic, so you’re covered whatever the weather!
If you’re looking for an extra special treat, we are also running our new Cruise & Lunch Offer : enjoy a cruise at 10am or 12pm, followed by a delicious three course lunch at Crannog Restaurant, situated on the same pier that our cruise boat departs from, for just £25.00 per adult, or £15.00 per child.
Visit our website here for full information on cruise times and prices, or contact us on firstname.lastname@example.org or 01397 700714 for more information, or to book. We look forward to welcoming you on board.
Friday 3rd Oct 2014
Can you remember the first time you crossed a gangway onto a ship, and peered over the sides to see the white horses of the waves chasing the boat as you cruised deep blue waters? Crannog Cruises offers a wonderful family outing to capture children’s imagination and give them a chance to see some of Scotland’s wildlife in its natural environment.
Family Cruise: Wildlife Spotting
Our eagle-eyed skipper will help you keep a look-out for porpoise and otters during the cruise to Black Rock, where you can regularly see a colony of seals. From the comfort of Souters Lass you can often catch a glimpse of red deer on the surrounding hills; herons, oyster catchers, cormorants, black guillemots, and eider ducks can also be spotted in their home environment – and sometimes even a golden or sea eagle.
“The captain was friendly and gave us loads of info without droning on.”
Cruising past the local salmon farm is a source of delight for children too, as they get to see the salmon jumping out of the water.
Also a rainy day activity
A cruise on Loch Linnhe is still a great family activity even on the ‘occasional’ rainy day we get here in Fort William: Souters Lass has an enclosed seating area at the stern, as well as a cosy bar area with windows close to the waterline – all the better for possibly spotting those porpoise fins!
In the bar area you’ll also find colouring sheets that will help kids identify our local wildlife, as well as coloured pens and pencils.
For mum and dad, the bar serves hot drinks, or something a little stronger if required!
Popular boat trip with Fort William schools
“We had a good time on the cruise and for some of the pupils it was the first time they had ever been on a boat. Now they all want to do it again!”
Class Teacher, Banavie Primary School
“Thank you for taking us to Seal Island. I liked colouring the wildlife picture. I liked looking at the seals. I liked looking at the fish farm.”
Erin, Primary 3, Banavie Primary School