Couple’s floating hotel is ‘going to look one beauty’
Tourism: Conversion of trawler into luxury cruiser has been labour of love
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.”
EXCITED: Gaby Monkhouse and husband Gus Glue with Highland Lassie on the Caledonian Canal at Inverness.
The former fishing vessel before her transformation