Ronald Mackenzie, who owns Cruise Loch Ness, has invested £30,000 in a retro coffee van to accompany his fleet of fast RIB’s and large passenger vessels – 40 years after his own mother opened the first tearoom in the village.
Family run business Cruise Loch Ness, which is located at Fort Augustus in the Highlands, has been in existence since 1968, when Ronald’s father, Norman first set sail. Cruise Loch Ness has been running boat trips from the southern bank of Loch Ness ever since and have had the fortune of carrying over 1.5 million (and counting) passengers in that time.
Ronald explained his mother, Effie Mackenzie, who has now passed away, opened ‘Mackenzie’s Tearoom’ in 1969 and ran one of the most popular tearooms of its era in the village.
Mr Mackenzie, who has recently invested in a £1.4 million catamaran, which is currently being commissioned and will be ready to set sail on Loch Ness in March 2017, explained he is a coffee enthusiast.
He said: “I’ve always been a strong coffee lover and passionate about the right espresso. After my mother opening the first tearoom in the village – it seems like a natural progression for me. I was basically brought up in a tearoom and on a boat!”
The coffee van is an original Citroen HY and was build in France. Mr Mackenzie sourced the van from online site, ebay – after searching for the perfect vehicle for the past two years.
The van is based at the hub of Loch Ness Cruises in Fort Augustus and is open for customers and members of the public to enjoy. The mobile coffee house has a fully fitted coffee machine and the coffee has been sourced from Thomson, the oldest tea and coffee merchant in Scotland.
The coffee company delivered barista training to the Cruise Loch Ness staff, and customers can order a range of hot drinks, from a cup of hot chocolate to an espresso, latte and a cappuccino. Cruise Loch Ness also sell their own brand of roasted coffee, which is already proving popular with the locals.
The van is now open for business, and Mr Mackenzie said it has been a welcome addition to the village.
He said: “After we successfully received our Street Trader Licence from the Highland Council, we opened for business and we have already built up regulars, who pop by first thing in the morning for their coffee to kick start the day.
“The van was in Newcastle and was fully kitted out and road worthy. I went down to collect it and fell in love with its character.
“We are planning to bring the van to Groove Loch Ness and hope to get involved in other festivals also. The van is also going to be available for private hire, for weddings and other functions.”