Monster success for north tourism operator Cruise Loch Ness

© SuppliedDebi Mackenzie of Cruise Loch Ness
Debi Mackenzie of Cruise Loch Ness

North tourism operator Cruise Loch Ness (CLN) is celebrating a double triumph in the UK final of the Federation of Small Businesses’ (FSB) annual awards.

CLN won the top honour for family-run firms before going on to be crowned small business of the year.

FSB’s Celebrating Small Business Awards ceremony in London attracted about 600 guests from throughout the UK, including Chancellor Philip Hammond and Small Business Minister Kelly Tolhurst.

Eleven businesses scooped 12 UK-wide prizes at the event.

CLN provides scenic cruises and Nessie-spotting trips from its base in Fort Augustus. It sailed past more than 2,000 entrants to land the top accolade.

The cruise company – founded in 1968 – was singled out for sustained investment over more than half a century.

It now runs five boats from the banks of the iconic loch and employs 18 people, many of whom have been with the business for more than 20 years.

CLN director Debi MacKenzie said: “Year after year, we’ve reinvested in the business, testing new ideas and making sure that our customers have absolutely the best experience possible.

“It is fantastic to see the service we offer recognised.”

FSB Highlands and islands area leader Tanja Lister said CLN’s double success was “both phenomenal and richly-deserved”.

Mike Cherry, chairman of FSB, said: “Cruise Loch Ness illustrates that you don’t need to be a multinational to offer a world-class service.”