Leisure Marine Seal Trips

The Inspiration for
In Search of a Rose

Here is the newspaper story about
Leisure Marine
that inspired the Hamish MacBeth episode
In Search of a Rose

Calum Gets Seal of Approval

Reports that a crafty West Highland cruise operator was using dummy seals to drum up trade from visitors have been investigated by trading standards officers and were discovered to be unfounded.

The incident has left Plockton man Calum MacKenzie highly amused.  Calum, who runs Leisure Marine in Plockton, offers boat trips to see the seals which abound in the waters off the village.  And he is so confident that visitors won't be disappointed that he guarantees them their money back, or another trip free of charge, if they fail to see any seals.

This has led to a standing joke locally that Calum has an army of plastic seals at the ready just to make sure he doesn't have to honour his commitment!

And he was intrigued to hear recently that trading standards officials from Highland Regional Council had been asking questions in the village about his money-back-guarantee. "I heard weights and measures people had been asking a local shopkeeper if it was true I had plastic seals in the bay," Calum said.  "A couple of weeks later I was talking to a girl on one of my trips.  She had a local accent, and it turned out she was from the trading standards office in Fort William.  She seemed embarrassed when I asked her if she was checking me out, and said she was in the area on business and was just taking a sail during her lunch break."

He said there was certainly no need for plastic seals -- on a good day he could see as many as 200 on one of his trips.

Jennifer Jones at the trading standards office in Fort William confirmed this week that a council official from another department had heard the "plastic seals" story and had reported it.

"We didn't take it very seriously," she said, "but we were in the area on other business a couple of weeks ago and decided to check it out.  We really had no doubts, and we did it kind of tongue-in-cheek.  We do get some very strange complaints."

And she was happy to confirm that their investigation convinced them Calum wasn't up to any funny business.

And... Check out Brian's page with the Hamish folk's press release about this inspiration:
"Fact and fiction have started to merge in the village of Plockton, beautiful backdrop for the hit series Hamish Macbeth, filmed on the West Coast of Scotland.  This week's episode was inspired by local entrepreneur Calum MacKenzie who runs boat trips for tourists..."

And the Mitchell Smyth article about the hoax (and more about Plockton) from the Toronto Star:
"Inflated tale gets worked into episode of Hamish Macbeth, the series that put a remote fishing village on the tourism map...."



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