Fort William women hear talk on Loch Shiel

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Members of the Fort William branch of the Scottish Women’s Institute (SWI) were joined by guest speaker Jim Michie from Loch Shiel Cruises at their April meeting.

Mr Michie told his audience how the loch was formed during the last Ice Age and how the River Shiel connects it to the sea.

He illustrated his talk with historic and scenic slides and told of CalMac founder David MacBrayne beginning the first ferry service in the loch. This was followed by a steamer service linking with mail coaches to Fort William and Arisaig.

When the railway started operating, the service was augmented by tourism and by the time the new road was opened between Lochailort and Kinlochmoidart in 1967 there was a week-day passenger and mail service.

These services stopped in the 1980s and in 1997 Mr Michie, spotting a niche in the cruise market bought an ex-admirality pinnace from 1940, which he got ready for service over the next year and Loch Shiel pleasure and wildlife cruises were born.

Institute president Isobel McGavin thanked Mr Michie for an interesting and informative talk.

Kathie White won the century bookmark competition and Isobel McGavin and Alicia MacLean were the raffle winners.

The next meeting of Fort William SWI will be the AGM on Monday May 8 at 7.15pm in the Montrose Centre, Inverlochy.