The UK’s most remote pub is to be placed in the hands of its local community after tensions arose with the Belgian owner.
Residents of the Knoydart Peninsula on the west coast of Scotland have been awarded a grant of more than £ 500,000 by the Scottish Land Fund to buy the Old Forge pub, which is only accessible by boat or an approximately 18-kilometer hike over peat bogs and mountains.
“We are pleased that the Scottish Land Fund has chosen to support our community offering at Old Forge. This project is of immense importance to Knoydart, and we are now in a strong position to make it a reality, ”said Jacqui Wallace and Rhona Miller, co-chairmen of the Old Forge Community Benefit Society.
The pub is listed among Guinness World Records as mainland Britain’s most remote. Its future became the subject of controversy when the local community became dissatisfied with its owner, Jean-Pierre Robinet.
They were unhappy with the pub’s closure during the winter, which they claim is the most important time of year for it to be open, and the effect of it and reduced staffing on attracting people to the area. The pub is central to the area’s tourist trade due to its location on the main shipping route to Skye, the Outer Hebrides and the small islands. It attracts yachtsmen, as well as hill walkers and sailors.
Robinet has previously said that Old Forge is the peninsula’s largest employer and that he is trying to “do the best for society”. But after 10 years, he wants to move on and put it up for sale for offers over £ 425,000.
Following a £ 240,000 community offer, residents are facing a race to get the deal done before any private buyer steps in. The structure of their offerings means that locals will be required to own 75% of the shares. And they put their hopes of raising the rest of the money on their grant application.
With that now given, the 110 residents of the rugged peninsula are likely to get their wish.
Their was one of several projects awarded money by the Scottish Land Fund on Wednesday. Committee Chair, Cara Gillespie, said: “It is a privilege and a pleasure to help enable our communities to take control of their destiny through ownership of local land and buildings.” She said the projects would support local economies and strengthen the resilience of their communities.