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The Old Forge pub in Knoydart reopens after successful community buy out

The Old Forge pub reopened this Easter weekend after a community buy out.

Published: April 19, 2022
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Recognised as not only Scotland's most remote pub but also the UK's, The Old Forge, has reopened after a successful but lengthy community buy out.

The Old Forge, which is located on the Knoydart peninsula, is only accessible by foot (unless you take a boat from Mallaig) and the shortest route there is an 18-mile hike over munros.

Despite the efforts you have to go to to get there, it has a regular stream of visitors who enjoy its traditional vibe, lively atmosphere, impromptu ceilidhs and the stunning views of Loch Nevis.

Last year the pub was put up for sale for offers over £425,000, by the Belgian owner, Jean-Pierre Robinet, which sparked a campaign for community ownership.

There were some reports of tensions between locals and Robinet, including reduced winter opening hours and staffing and a consultation on a community buy out concluded that locals were “almost unanimously” in favour.

Fast forward a year and The Old Forge has now reopened, with residents happy that that pub will once again be 'the place where everything happens.'

£320,000 was raised through a community share offer, crowdfunding as well as funding from the Scottish Land and Community Ownership Fund.

Speaking to the Guardian, Stephanie Harris, secretary of the Old Forge Community Benefit Society, which now owns the pub, said: “It’s a bit of a cliche, but when you live in such a small community the pub plays a much bigger role than just somewhere to eat and drink.

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“In the past it was where everything happened: birthdays, weddings, when a new baby came home from hospital that was the first place they visited. It was the place where everyone came together.

“We want it to feel welcoming, with friendly staff behind the bar and an affordable menu, where families feel comfortable, and we’ll be restarting the music sessions again.”

The community owners are still renovating the kitchen and have been on a recruitment drive hiring a full time bartender.

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Known for cake making, experimental jam recipes, Champagne and gin drinking (and the inability to cook Gnocchi), Rosalind writes for The Scotsman on all things food and drink related as well as hosting Scran, The Scotsman's food and drink podcast.

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