The Press and Journal (Inverness, Highlands, and Islands)

Couple make a splash with new start-up


An inspiratio­nal quote read at a friend’s funeral motivated a couple in the Highlands to jump in the deep end by starting their own whitewater rafting business.

Joint owners of River Wild Adventures, headquarte­red in Newtonmore, Bonnie and Jennifer McGhie-Convery were motivated to start the business after losing a close friend, Claire, last year.

At the funeral, their friend’s husband read a passage including the message “don’t wait, do it today, don’t expect tomorrow is always going to be there”, which inspired the duo to put their ambition into action.

After deciding to take the leap, Bonnie started looking into business loans.

She came across Transmit Startups, delivery partner for the British Business Bank’s Start Up Loans programme.

The couple were approved for a £25,000 loan, allowing them to invest a total of £50,000 in vital equipment such as lifejacket­s, helmets and wetsuits in every size, as well as rafts, tubes and marketing materials.

Not wanting to limit the business to only one base, they set up a mobile operation with two trailers containing all the necessary equipment.

This allows them to meet participan­ts at different locations throughout the Highlands, providing a more bespoke experience.

They hosted their first group trip in June, offering a range of white-water experience­s such as rafting, canyoning and river tubing, with the level of bookings for the rest of the summer “highly encouragin­g”.

Jennifer said: “It all started at Claire’s funeral when her husband read this beautiful sentence she had written before she passed about not putting your dreams on hold.

“Both Bonnie and I really took this to heart and decided then and there it was time to finally go after our shared dream.

“Initially, we struggled to secure a business loan which would cover not only equipment but permits and insurance for all participan­ts as well.

“Then we came across Transmit Startups and the Start Up Loans programme, which enabled us to get the business off the ground.

“We aim to keep our group sizes small to maintain quality. The goal is for everyone to come away from our experience­s feeling like it was not just another water adventure, but something unique and a little bit special.”

River Wild Adventures is one of 312 small businesses in the Highlands to receive funding from the British Business Bank’s Start Up Loans programme since the initiative was launched in 2012.

Barry McCulloch, senior manager, UK Network, Scotland, British Business Bank, said: “It’s inspiring to see entreprene­urs like Bonnie and Jennifer realising their dream with the help of our Start Up Loans programme.”

 ?? ?? INITIATIVE: Bonnie, left, and Jennifer launched River Wild Adventures in Newtonmore.
INITIATIVE: Bonnie, left, and Jennifer launched River Wild Adventures in Newtonmore.

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