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Pubco packs a Punch with £800k north refurb programme

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Pub and hotel operator Punch Taverns has unveiled plans to invest almost £800,000 in three Highland properties.

The Blacksmiths pub in Culloden, the Eagle Hotel, Dornoch and the Corriegarth Hotel in Inverness will be transformed into “contemporary venues with a modern twist”, the firm said.

The Blacksmiths on Keppoch Road is undergoing a £200,000 makeover that will see its food offer revived with much of the investment focusing on the 86 cover restaurant and kitchen facilities.  A 50-plus capacity function room and the bar area will also be updated.

Punch is looking for an individual or couple to take on the reigns of the pub.

Tom Reilly, Punch development manager,  said: “The Blacksmiths has the potential to be a great community local as well as a destination function venue catering for birthdays, weddings and funerals.  It’s a fantastic opportunity for someone with the right ingredients – knowledge of the local area, a passion for serving great food and entrepreneurial flair.”

The Eagle on Castle Street, will enjoy a £275,000 investment and work is due to start onsite early October.  Built in the 1840s, the nine bedroom inn is the oldest established hotel in Dornoch and enjoys close access to the world renowned golf course and beach. The investment will focus on upgrading the ensuite bedrooms, the 60 capacity bar, plus the 45 cover restaurant.

In the autumn, the Corriegarth Hotel on Heathmount Road will undergo a £292,000 refurbishment.  The six bedroom inn will see each room refreshed alongside the popular bar and restaurant.

“Due to their fantastic locations, The Eagle and Corriegarth are popular destinations with tourists and locals alike.  We are confident these investments will further their appeal and bring continued success to our Partners,” added Mr Reilly.

Punch’s investment in the Highlands follows the company’s announcement that it will invest £3million in its 200+ Scottish estate over the next 12 months.

Punch Taverns, the UK’s second biggest pub company, operates 3,300 pubs across the UK. In April, the group reported a dramatic drop in profit in the first half of its financial year following a reduction in the size of its pub estate as it continues with a property disposal programme.

The pub operator said its pretax profit in the 28 weeks ended March 5 dropped to £54.7million from £348.5million the year before, as revenue fell to £212.9 million from £221.7million.

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