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Remotest pub in Scotland now has a rival as local hostilities erupt

Britain’s remotest pub, The Old Forge in Knoydart is up for sale.
Britain’s remotest pub, The Old Forge in Knoydart is up for sale.

The remotest pub in Scotland has just acquired a rival right across the road, following a bizarre row involving its Belgian owner.

The Old Forge at Knoydart has been famous for its grand isolation, accessible only by boat or a two-day trek through the hills of Lochaber.

But regulars have fallen out with John-Pierre Robinet – who has now set up a rival watering hole right across the road.

The move marks a new low in the relationship between some of the residents of Inverie – the main village on Knoydart, with a population of around 90 – and Mr Robinet, who has owned the pub since 2012.

As summer creeps in, visitors now have the choice of supping at two very different establishments.

The Old Forge offers highland hospitality, but at the weekend, a crowd of around 25 locals were gathered for a lively party at the unofficial lean-to bar – nicknamed “The Table” across the road.

Some locals brought along young children and pet dogs and, as the evening wore on, gamekeepers and ghillies arrived in Land Rovers to relax.

Estate manager Uilleam O’Neill, 30, said: “I’m barred from the pub because we were up the hill (deer) stalking.

“I had come back and was a little bit dirty. He (the owner) refused to serve me until I went home and washed. So I went into the bathroom, washed my hands and went to the bar.

“He just refused me service. Then we argued and then he told me to leave. In the argument, words were exchanged and I was barred.”

Ian Wilson, who owns a self-catering lodge at Knoydart, said: “The Old Forge used to be the only place people could eat and there are now two great restaurants that have opened.

“The council hasn’t done anything about The Table, thankfully. There’s an off-licence and you can drink as much as you like.”

Mr Robinet bought the world-famous hostelry, a former Pub of the Year, in 2012 for a six-figure sum.

Last night, Mr Robinet confirmed he had barred people from the pub, but claimed it was for “drunken behaviour”.

He said: “The Table is only the visible part of the iceberg. We have doing this for eight years – and they have tried to affect our image.

“They clearly live on the margin of society and most don’t have a full-time job. Obviously, people have lost their sense of reality and have Empty Life Syndrome.’

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