Loch Ness by Jacobite owner celebrates 20 years at helm of business this International Women’s Day

Freda Newton

THIS International Women’s Day, Loch Ness by Jacobite is celebrating its female workforce ahead of the 20th anniversary of the business being taken over by Freda Newton.

Originally known as Jacobite Cruises, the business has been captained by Freda since 22nd March 2002. Since then, she has grown passenger numbers on cruises from 35,000 to over 300,000, opened a restaurant and retail offering at An Talla and, most recently, launched a range of stunning holiday cottages.

For more than 40 years, Loch Ness by Jacobite has been providing boat tours of the world-famous Loch Ness to visitors from all around the world. Opened in 2019, An Talla, Gaelic for the gathering place, is situated at Dochgarroch Lock, and is the perfect pitstop before or after a cruise to enjoy a bite to eat or browse a selection of local gifts and products. Last to join the Loch Ness by Jacobite family in 2021 was the Loch Ness Cottage Collection, which provides a range of self-catering holiday cottages at Dochgarroch Lock.

Freda Newton, Managing Director of Loch Ness by Jacobite, explained: “When I purchased Jacobite in 2002 there were no full-time female employees, but I have always believed that women can compete equally with men and everyone should, therefore, have equal opportunity to progress in the business and climb the ladder.”

“The fact that two of my fellow directors, Pauline Wilson and Alison Daun, are both female is testament to their capability, hard work and determination, and their success in their roles is evident in the growth of our business.” 

“Just some of our recent highlights include opening An Talla and reaching over 300,000 passengers on our cruises. I’m also really proud of our fleet; each boat better than the last, although I’m still very fond of the old lady of the fleet, the Jacobite Queen.”

International Women’s Day at Loch Ness by Jacobite will also pay tribute to the Jacobite fleet of boats, which are all female: Jacobite Queen, Jacobite Rebel, Jacobite Maverick and Jacobite Warrior.

As well as the boats, there are female employees in all parts of the business, from office staff to skippers and crew.

Linda Izquierdo Ross joined Loch Ness by Jacobite in March 2013 with a dream of working on boats on the legendary waters of Loch Ness. She is now senior boat crew and helps train new seasonal boat staff, as well as providing health and safety administration assistance.

“In the past, it was not common to see women working on boats, however when talking about boats the language used is typically maternal. The boat pronoun is ‘she’ because a ship is likened to a mother taking care of a baby. And I think this caring nature is something that can be of great benefit in the workplace,” Linda says.

“It is wonderful that the Loch Ness by Jacobite owner is female – and that women can be successful and caring in any job as long as they have the drive and skills. Freda Newton has built a strong tourism business over the past 20 years and, despite the major setbacks of the Covid-19 pandemic, the company has continued to thrive with three female directors taking the lead.”

Looking ahead after 20 years in the business, Freda hopes to take Loch Ness by Jacobite into a new level of excellence through continuous improvement. The team also hopes to recruit new team members throughout the business for the upcoming summer season.

Linda continues: “This International Women’s Day, in my opinion, the biggest challenge for women in the workplace is their own bias and that some do not strive for what they could achieve. Whatever our gender, background or religion, we should all be treated the same.”

Freda adds: “To any women starting out in the workplace, in business or looking to climb the career ladder, all I would say is to be confident in your own ability and believe in yourself.”

For more information about Loch Ness by Jacobite, please visit www.jacobite.co.uk

Details of 20th anniversary events and celebrations taking place throughout 2022 will be announced soon.

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