Crannog Seafood Restaurant Celebrates 25th Birthday !
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...
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.
Local fisherman, Finlay Finlayson, found it frustrating in the 1980s 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. The red roofed building also 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.
The Town Pier is also the departure point for the other aspect of the Finlayson business: Crannog Cruises. Keen to offer locals and visitors a chance to get even closer to the wildlife found in the sea-water loch, Finlay purchased Souters Lass, a comfortable cruise boat in 1989. Since then she has explored the waters of Loch Linnhe and Loch Eil, offering impressive views of Ben Nevis and the surrounding landscapes and the chance to spot wildlife.
The name Crannog was chosen by Finlay’s wife Lorna, a history graduate with an interest in crannogs, Celtic loch dwellings ; fishing played a vital role in the crannog community, so The name fitted perfectly with the restaurant’s location and the idea behind the restaurant.
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!”
Crannog has always been very much a family business. Finlay and Lorna’s three children, Helen, Richard and Neill Bo, were toddlers when the restaurant opened its doors, so have grown up very much involved in the business. Helen managed the restaurant for a spell, and both Richard and Neill Bo have crewed Souters Lass. But the local people who have worked at the restaurant over the 25 years have also been considered extended family to the Finlaysons.
“Lorna and I remain staunch about Crannog ethos of serving fresh, local seafood to locals and visitors in Fort William and we 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!”