Joe Hobbs – the “Chance Rancher” of the Great Glen Cattle Ranch


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This Monday, September 5, at the Highland Cinema, the Lochaber Local History Society welcomes Hugh Dan MacLennan to talk about Joe Hobbs ‘Chancer Rancher’.

Joseph Hobbs.

This is perhaps the first time locally, if not in the UK, that a presentation of the life of Hobbs, a First World War naval officer, smuggler and entrepreneur, has been shown.

Hobbs apparently made his fortune selling alcohol in California during Prohibition. He was a failed Depression-era stockbroker and developer, building the iconic Art-Deco Marine Building in Toronto, which was a million pounds over budget in 1930.

On his arrival from Canada in 1941, he purchased the land of Torlundy in Brackletter along with the Ben Nevis distillery, Inverlochy Castle and the fishing on the River Lochy.

The Great Glen Cattle Ranch.

The source of his funds may be open to speculation – but he didn’t stop there, founding the Great Glen Cattle Ranch whose huts remain a landmark along the A82.

Many will remember his second yacht, the Ocean Mist, moored at the top of Neptune’s Staircase, now a floating hotel and bar in Edinburgh.

Hugh Dan leads two other researchers, one from Hong Kong and the other from Canada, who met recently to share their information.

An informative and eye-opening evening is guaranteed. All welcome.

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