Award-winning Scottish cruise company prepares for a busy 2022 season under new ownership
David Lambie, a professional ecologist, and owner of two popular Scottish-based wildlife tour businesses, has purchased the successful Northern Light Cruising Company from its long-term owner of 27 years, Mark Henrys.
The perennially popular Oban-based Northern Light Cruising Company (NLCC) looks forward to welcoming their guests back on board the Hjalmar Bjørge this year under new ownership, after Mark Henrys, who launched the company back in 1994 and built it into an award-winning business, decided it was time for a change. The sale was finally concluded in mid-January to David Lambie, whose career has spanned conservation and ecology across the Highlands and Islands of Scotland, owning Stagfire Ecological Surveys, as well as Hebridean Adventures, which operates whale, dolphin and wildlife cruises and tours from Stornoway, and SKYEFARI which was launched in 2021 and offers wildlife watching daytrips by 4x4 minibus around the Isle of Skye.
Speaking about the purchase Mr Lambie said: “It feels like an honour and a privilege to ‘inherit’ such a prestigious little ship. I have seen the Hjalmar Bjørge travelling around in past years and never thought that sometime in the future I would be a part of her life now.
The opportunity seemed perfect as our existing wildlife cruise company is doing well and I felt that both the two vessels, and the two companies, were a good complement to each other, based at the north and south ends of the Hebrides. Hebridean Adventures is very much wildlife focused, aiming at the shorter trip lengths of up to 6 nights, while NLCC as well as wildlife is more of a go-anywhere vessel, able to undertake longer expedition type voyages.
I am indebted to Mark for the opportunity to take on the business and hope along with the superb returning crew that it will be business as usual and that all our guests, old and new, will continue to enjoy the wonderful trips that Mark has created over the years.”
Mr Lambie is very pleased to announce that many of the team that regular guests aboard the Hjalmar Bjørge (a 23m ex-Norwegian search and rescue vessel, affectionately known by crew and guests alike as the “Halma George”) will know well are staying on as skipper, steward, chef, and admin. This will ensure continuity and familiarity on-board for the foreseeable future in what is a very successful and well-supported business that visits many fascinating and remote locations around the Western Highlands and Islands of Scotland and beyond.
“Mark and his team created wonderful cruises and voyages over the years, and this was obviously a winning formula based on the full bookings and constant repeat guests, many who became friends and followers of Hjalmar Bjørge. I feel there is no need to change this although we have some ideas for the future, but these are still based around the existing cruises, such as extending the season beyond September. These are likely to comprise of shorter wildlife cruises combined with our SKYEFARI 4x4 Adventures sister company so you get the best of sea and land trips, and for the loyal following there will still be the favourites such as North Rona and the Flannans plus the obvious St Kilda, that very few others are capable of reaching.
Crucial to all this is a dedicated and professional crew and operations staff which have been key to NLCC’s success. It was important to me that many of the familiar faces returned with the boat, and I am so pleased to have such a great team continuing with us into the future.”