Scotland’s Year of Coasts and Waters celebrates every aspect of our beautiful shores and waterways with a programme of activity designed to inspire both visitors and locals to explore and experience everything that make them special.
Each month we’re showcasing the people who live, work and have a passion for our waters and as we are celebrating International Women’s Day on 8 March, this month we’ve interviewed three trail-blazing women who work across Scotland in businesses and organisations that interact with some of our most beautiful natural resources.
Find out more about living and working amongst the stunning coasts and waters of the Highlands as we talk to Freda Newton MBE, Owner and Managing Director of Loch Ness by Jacobite, An Talla, and a founding member of Destination Loch Ness. Showcasing Loch Ness, managing singing tour guides and meeting lots of tourists are only part of her role. Read on to get the inside scoop on what everyday life is like working so closely with Scotland’s heritage and landscape.
What do you find so captivating about the Scottish Highland and Island’s inland lochs and waterways?
They have a truly unique charm about them. The floating mist-covered lochs, the rugged coastlines and windswept islands make them unlike anywhere else in the world. It is also my home.
Why do you think visitors flock from all over the world to visit the Highlands of Scotland and more specifically Loch Ness?
The Highlands is home to some of the world’s most beautiful and impressive landscapes that are steeped in Scottish history, and a Loch Ness by Jacobite Cruise on Loch Ness offers the perfect way to experience them. There’s also the hope of spotting our famous Nessie, of course!
What do you think makes the Jacobite tour experience so unique?
Two things – our boats and our people!
We employ people who are genuinely passionate about what they do, from our front of house staff to our skippers and singing tour guide, who will help to make a Loch Ness voyage truly memorable.
We also continually invest in our fleet to provide the ultimate experience for customers. Our new catamarans are spacious, comfortable and kitted out with Nessie-spotting technology as well as a bar serving Costa coffee, local drinks and snacks for Nessie-hunters of all ages.
What’s the best part of your job?
Getting to meet and delight people from all around the world and sharing with them the wonders of Loch Ness. Also, the view from the boat when I take a trip from Dochgarroch and enter Loch Ness at Bona Lighthouse still makes me go “wow” – aren’t we so lucky...
What’s the most challenging aspect of your job?
Developing and opening our new café, visitor and retail destination, An Talla, has been a 15-year challenge to find the right property near Loch Ness and then create a truly unique dining and shopping experience. We’ve now been open for eight months so it’s becoming less of a challenge every day!
On International Women’s Day what piece of advice would you like to give to aspiring female entrepreneurs and business leaders?
Trust your instincts and if anyone ever tries to tell you your idea can’t be done, prove to them that it can. I’ve surrounded myself with a strong group of female leaders who are always there to challenge and support ideas or plans for the business.
You’re passionate about the tourism industry, what makes it such an exciting sector to work in?
The tourism industry never stops changing so you need to continue to adapt your business and offering to be the best for your customers and visitors.
What’s your favourite fact or stat about the waterways across the Scottish Highlands?
The record-breaking 325,208 visitors who experienced a Loch Ness by Jacobite tour in 2019, as well as the more than 10,000 people who came to An Talla in its first month of opening last year.
Do you have a favourite place or memory connected to Scotland’s coasts or waters?
I think my answer is obvious! Loch Ness, of course.
Find out more about Scotland’s Year of Coasts and Waters and how you can get involved to make the most of the year for your business.