Cou­ple’s float­ing ho­tel is ‘go­ing to look one beauty’

Tourism: Con­ver­sion of trawler into lux­ury cruiser has been labour of love

The Press and Journal (Aberdeen and Aberdeenshire) - - NEWS - BY MICHELLE HEN­DER­SON

Fi­nal prepa­ra­tions are be­ing made to open a float­ing ho­tel on the Cale­do­nian Canal.

The High­land Lassie, a for­mer trawler, is due to open in the spring as a five-star lux­ury cruiser.

It has been a labour of love for Gaby Monkhouse, 61, and hus­band Gus Glue, 70, who bought the boat more than 10 years ago.

“She is such a spe­cial ves­sel. She had her life saved for a very good rea­son”

The cou­ple, who own the Oak­wood Restau­rant in Dochgar­roch just south of In­ver­ness, proudly un­veiled the trans­for­ma­tion the for­mer fish­ing boat has un­der­gone so far last April.

They have now set sail to take it to Mac­duff Ship­yard for the fi­nal stage of works.

The voy­age will take them to Tom­nahurich Bridge, down the flight at Muir­town and out to sea at Clach­na­harry to­wards In­ver­ness Ma­rina, where she will berth be­fore sail­ing east to Mac­duff.

Mrs Monkhouse said: “It’s a 10-hour jour­ney from Dochgar­roch to Mac­duff.

“Once we have a calm day we will head to Mac­duff and she will sit on the slope at Mac­duff for two weeks where they will fi­nalise all the en­gi­neer­ing works and bring her back to her orig­i­nal colour.

“When she is brought back into the canal she is go­ing to look one beauty,” she added.

The two-storey struc­ture has been built en­tirely from wind­blown wood, sourced from Dochgar­roch Es­tate, and will cater for eight guests on board.

A to­tal of four cab­ins will be lo­cated on the ves­sel – two on the up­per deck and two be­low deck – along­side the crew­man’s quar­ters, the owner’s cabin and the saloon.

The ven­ture will cost around £300,000 to com­plete, about £30,000 over the cou­ple’s orig­i­nal bud­get.

The first wave of guests are sched­uled to set sail in spring.

Mrs Monkhouse added: “It’s been a long, long time but we have never lost the pas­sion. I couldn’t be more ex­cited. I feel like a six-yearold at Christ­mas.

“That’s al­ways been our pas­sion. She is such a spe­cial ves­sel. She had her life saved for a very good rea­son, to retire and float along the wa­ter on the West coast.”

Pho­to­graph by Sandy McCook

EX­CITED: Gaby Monkhouse and hus­band Gus Glue with High­land Lassie on the Cale­do­nian Canal at In­ver­ness.

The for­mer fish­ing ves­sel be­fore her trans­for­ma­tion

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