Residents of a Highland community have invested more than £100,000 in a matter of days to help to keep a much-loved floating hotel afloat.
Gaby Monkhouse, 61, and her husband Gus Glue, 70 launched an appeal for investors on March 18 to help them safeguard the future of the Highland Lassie, a former fishing boat, on the Caledonian Canal.
The public was invited to invest a minimum of £2,000 in the project.
In the space of just nine days, the couple – who also own the Roakwood Restaurant in Dochgarroch – received dozens of offers from potential candidates, many of whom were long-standing customers of their restaurant.
Mrs Monkhouse said they are overwhelmed by the support they have received.
She said: “We went about inviting folk to invest with us, expecting to get a couple of people interested.
“Obviously we have been at the restaurant a long time, we have had customers that have been with us for the whole ten years that Highland Lassie has been on the go but we were absolutely gobsmacked that in five days we got £65,000 and we have now reached the £100,000.
“That’s how loved she is. I have spent a few nights in tears just thinking how loved she is and these people fortunately are backing the boat and what she will become which is fabulous.”
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The money will be used to furnish the interior of the boat, as well as sustain the vessel during its first three month stint.
The boat has undergone a £75,000 transformation at MacDuff Shipyards to return the hull to its former colours.
The two-storey vessel is in line to become a five-star luxury hotel due to set sail on its first voyage by early 2020.
Mrs Monkhouse says said the vessel will be showcased for the first time at VisitScotland’s Expo on April 10 and 11 generating interest from countries such as America, Russia, China and Hong Kong.
She says the project has been a labour of love for the couple since it began 10 years ago.
She added: “For me it’s never been about the money. It’s always been about changing Highland Lassie from a hard working fishing boat into her retirement. Taking people on the water where she fished, gently plodding along.
“It’s just been incredible. It just shows how people really do care about things. When you have all this dark stuff going on in the world and there is people out there that are lovely.”