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Russell Loch Ness Hub on Great Glen Way
3 Min Read
23 February 2024
Russell Loch Ness Hub on Great Glen Way

We’ve pulled back the curtain so you can peek at how things work behind the scenes here at Macs HQ. Get to know some of our experts, specialists, fellow walking enthusiasts and small business owners who meticulously plan your trips, do all the logistical legwork and provide 24/7 support, so you can have a memorable, stress-free trip.

Spotlight on Russell, who's an integral part of our team on the ground for our Great Glen Way trips.

Today, we chatted with Russell, who manages Loch Ness Hub and Travel in Drumnadrochit. A community centre owned by the local community of Glen Urquhart along our Great Glen Way route. It provides luggage transfers and shuttle services, the profits of which are invested back into the community to support local businesses, groups and amenities.

Russell tells us how our adventurers can support his business, how the community has benefitted from the hub and where it all began...

Tell us the story behind how the local community became owners of the hub

In 2018, the Glen Urquhart community investigated the possibility of taking over the recently vacant Tourist Information Centre in Drumnadrochit. We embarked on a trial period where volunteers decorated the building and local groups used the venue to showcase information and activities of interest to visitors, before committing to full community ownership and opening to the public as Loch Ness Hub.

To ensure the project was sustainable in the long-term, Loch Ness Hub Ltd was established as a community benefit company to raise funds for the purchase of Loch Ness Travel through a Community Share Offer in 2020. The initiative successfully raised its maximum target, and with additional funding from SSE and local community charity Soirbheas, the purchase of Loch Ness Travel completed in February 2021.

All profits from Loch Ness Travel fund the running of Loch Ness Hub, with surplus profits invested back into the community through the Glen Urquhart Rural Community Association.

What are the key initiative and purposes of the hub?

Loch Ness Hub acts as a first point of contact for visitors to the area of Loch Ness, Drumnadrochit, Glen Affric and wider Glens and communities.

Our purpose is to provide visitors with authentic and responsible tourism information to ensure they feel like temporary locals for the time that they visit us, and leave having had the best experience possible and memories to last a lifetime.

How has the hub benefitted the local community and economy from our partnership over the years?

Partnering with Macs Adventure brings direct commercial benefit to Loch Ness Hub & Travel through our luggage and people transfer services along the area’s long-distance trails. This helps fund the information centre and public toilets. It wouldn’t be possible for Loch Ness Hub and Travel to give financial benefit funds directly back into the community without Macs' support.

Loch Ness Hub

What sustainable initiatives have you adopted or are in the works?

We’ve purchased an Electric Vehicle, which we use to deliver school meals as well as offering transport solutions to local schools and childcare centres, and we’re currently in process of applying for Green Tourism accreditation.

We’re monitoring our carbon footprint on an ongoing basis and have introduced an air source heat pump, solar panels, new double-glazing units, increased insulations, sensor sanitary wears in our public toilets and most recently, battery storage for charging our EV.

What’s next for the Loch Ness hub?

Loch Ness hub has been slowly building our authentic experience for visitors to our community. Our next projects include developing our heritage trails, expanding our eBike hire fleet, and developing tours following our successful introduction of our Croft and Highland Coo tours last year. We’re looking to collaborate with local partners in expanding those experiences for visitors and immersing them in the community and people of Glen Urquhart.

How can travellers support your community hub?

Come and say hello and shop in our Great Glen Way merch in the gift shop! All profits from any purchases remain in the local area and support the community.

Do you have a favourite part of the Great Glen Way? Or a favourite place to walk in Scotland?

We love the high route from Invermoriston through to Drumnadrochit as the views are breathtaking and you’re circling the beauty of the mountains behind you with the majestic surroundings of Loch Ness below. This is the real Highlands in our eyes. The view leading across Urquhart Bay from above Glen Urquhart is also special and worth stopping for reflection. And just on our doorstep is the beautiful Glen Affric. We challenge anyone to visit there and not come away mesmerised by one of the most spectacular places on earth.

How much did you raise in 2023?

2023 saw us make our first direct community payment back into the community of £5000! However, our volunteer board of directors have scheduled a review for additional funds being attributed in the coming months, so watch this space.

How many adventurers did Macs Adventure send your way in 2023?

LOTS! But please send more! We moved a total of 1846 bags which equated to 3120 bag transfers. And we carried people shuttle transfers for 584 Macs customers.

Kirsty Schneider

Written by

Kirsty Schneider
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