Well, the answer is not the steaks on the menu but the fact that, in a previous life, Cruz was the steam ship Ocean Mist which was the private yacht of Joseph W Hobbs, the Anglo-Canadian owner of the Great Glen Cattle Ranch between Fort William and Spean Bridge in Lochaber.
Below is a picture of the Ocean Mist berthed at Banavie on the Caledonian Canal near Fort William (Ben Nevis in the background) when it was Hobbs' yacht:-
In 1945, Hobbs bought Inverlochy Estate at Fort William and renamed it "The Great Glen Cattle Ranch" with the idea of introducing American style cattle ranching to the Highlands of Scotland. Now I have to confess I don't understand enough about cattle farming to know the difference between "ranching" cattle and farming them in the usual Scottish fashion. Suffice it to say that the Greensburg (Pennsylvania) Daily Tribune reported in 1951 that Hobbs was employing "four Gaelic-speaking cattle hands. From dawn to dusk they range this Scottish ranch on horseback and carry 12 foot whips." And in the Glasgow Herald in 1957 Hobbs was quoted as saying that the ultimate object was to "make the hills of Lochaber like the English Downs or better."
Hobbs sold the Great Glen Cattle Ranch in 1961 but retained 300 acres centred on the estate mansion house, Inverlochy Castle. He died two years later, coy about whether he was a rich man but with his ideas about cattle ranching never really having caught on. But Joe Hobbs certainly left some legacies even if they were not the ones he imagined or hoped for.
His yacht, the Ocean Mist, you can read a detailed history of here. In short, she was built at Greenock in 1918 for the Admiralty as part of a programme to replace the many fishing trawlers called up for service as minesweepers and lost during the First World War. But with the end of the war, she was surplus and sold as a yacht to a member of the Guinness brewing family who adapted her fish holds to carry his racing cars to the Mediterranean. After passing through a number of hands, including doing duty during the Second War as a torpedo recovery vessel on the Clyde, she was bought by Joe Hobbs in 1960. After he died, the Ocean Mist was kept on by his son Joe, Junior and she remained on the Caledonian Canal until moved to Leith in the mid 1980s. I don't know exact sequence of events of her history there but this is what she looked like when first parked at Leith (pretty much how she looked at Banavie):-
|Photo credit Martin Third|
It was in 2005, I believe, after around 20 years at Leith, that the Ocean Mist was radically altered by having her original superstructure and funnel removed and replaced with the current superstructure as seen in the first picture in this post. The picture below shows her during the transformation:-
|Photo credit Leith Podcaster|
|Photo credit Celtic Castles - Ben Nevis in the background|
|Photo credit Keith Long|
I recall these buildings clearly from when we used to go on family holidays in the West Highlands in the early 70s (when I was about 7-10 year old). The GGCR shelters, clearly visible from the A82 between Fort William and Spean Bridge, were landmarks on our journeys by car and I always felt we were missing out on something by not stopping for a closer look. "We'll be stopping for chips at Fort William in about 10 minutes" was usually the riposte from my father.
I'm glad the GGCR buildings are still here. My father isn't.