Plans for a community buyout of Britain’s most remote mainland pub have moved one step closer to fruition.
When The Old Forge, at Inverie on the Knoydart peninsula, went on the market back in January, a group of like-minded individuals banded together to secure its future.
The Old Forge Community Benefit Society LTD was established amid fears the pub could be bought and turned into houses, stripping the village of jobs and business hotspots.
After months of fundraising efforts, the group has now been awarded £508,000 through the Scottish Land Fund (SLF) to support the purchase and redevelopment of the pub.
Management committee member Davie Newton said the new income of cash towards the project will enable them to at last place an offer on the pub.
He said: “The Old Forge is on the market for offers over £425,000, but that figure does not include the owner’s asking price for goodwill of the business.
“We are currently working with the owner to undertake an independent valuation of the goodwill, and once this has taken place, we will be able to assess and submit an appropriate offer.
“The investment raised from the share offer and other fundraising routes will build our finances up to the level identified in our business plan so that we can buy, manage, maintain and develop the pub into the future.”
Final piece of the puzzle
For decades the pub has been the holy grail of the UK outdoors leisure community, with the Guinness Book of World Records declaring it “the most remote pub on mainland Britain”.
Under community ownership, the pub would be open year-round, employing 15-20 local people in the tourist season, as well as supporting other businesses by using local produce.
The money acquired through the SFL has already been allocated – with £380,000 of grant assigned to support acquisition costs, while the remaining funds will go towards purchase costs, essential repairs, and employing a project officer.
However, Mr Newton added they are still missing “the final piece of the puzzle” to finish the project.
He said: “In the last six weeks we have made huge strides in securing the necessary funding for this project, but we aren’t there yet.
“We have submitted an application to the Community Ownership Fund which, if successful, could support goodwill and redevelopment costs, and we will be launching a crowdfund campaign shortly which will be the final piece of the puzzle in our fundraising plan.”