Loch Ness operator launches £2.4m vessel

Highland cruise tour operator, Loch Ness by Jacobite, has added the 200-passenger Jacobite Maverick to its fleet.

The vessel cost £2.4 million and its maiden voyage on the famous Scottish loch was marked with a fly-by in a biplane.

Freda Newton, Loch Ness by Jacobite managing director, hopes the catamaran will help the operator top 300,000 visitors this year.

She said: “When searching for a fitting name, Maverick stood out as it means quite unlike anything else – which sums up the Loch Ness by Jacobite experience.

“We commissioned Wight Shipyard to build the boat and we are really pleased with the end result.

“The quality is fantastic and it will help us share the loch with even more visitors to the Highlands.”

The vessel will join the other three in the fleet – Jacobite Queen, Jacobite Warrior and Jacobite Rebel – and will help the company to build on the record visitor numbers seen in 2017.

Newton said Loch Ness attractions have seen visitor numbers over the past two years climbing by 23% and 29% respectively.

“New flight routes mean we’ve welcomed people from all around the world, including China, the US and Australia, and the Maverick will help us continue to welcome more people than ever before,” she said.

Celebrating the launch at Jacobite’s Dochgarroch HQ was Drew Hendry, MP for Inverness, Nairn, Badenoch and Strathspey.

He said: “It’s experiences like these that make the Highlands such a desirable destination, and it’s no surprise that visitor numbers continue to increase.

“The expansion of the Jacobite fleet reflects the hugely positive outlook towards the region’s tourism sector, with our reputation for hospitality renowned the world over. This is only made possible by the local businesses working tirelessly to provide the best service to all visitors.”

The Jacobite Maverick will sail between Dochgarroch, the Clansman Harbour and the historic ruins of Urquhart Castle.