An Aberdeenshire hotelier couple have been given the green light to reopen a pub in an “amazing” rural community.
Lynne and Mark Lino’s plans to convert a disused Strathdon steading into a village pub is just the first stage of their refurbishment project, which will also include the renovation of the adjoining hotel.
The couple moved to the area in 2014 after buying Billy Connolly’s former property, Candacraig House.
This year they bought nearby Colquhonnie House Hotel, renaming it as the Lonach Hotel.
Last night Mrs Lino said they had wanted to “give something back” to the community as they had “all been so welcoming”.
She said: “At the moment locals have to go to Tarland for the nearest pub.
“We have submitted plans for the hotel refurbishment too, and have tried to be sympathetic and take it back to how it used to look in the early 1900s – taking away any new-build extensions.
“But we have prioritised the pub and aim to have that open by this summer – in time for the Lonach Games and Gathering.
“The whole place needed some TLC; we are very excited about bringing something back to the community – they have all been amazing since we took over Candacraig – it really is a very special part of the world.
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“It just made sense to buy it and invest in this area.”
The couple hope the main hotel works, if given the go ahead, would be completed by the summer of 2020.
The hotel would employ around 20 people once it fully opens and will have 16 bedrooms.
“We are using local contractors for all the work,” added Mrs Lino. “And we have re-named it the Lonach Hotel as a nod to the annual gathering – it seemed an appropriate new name.”