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Knoydart residents launch bid to buy Britain’s most remote pub

The Old Forge is the remotest pub in Britain
The Old Forge is the remotest pub in Britain

A small community in the west coast Highlands has launched an “ambitious” fundraising campaign to buy the most remote mainland pub in Britain.

Around 100 people on the Knoydart peninsula plan to purchase their only local pub, The Old Forge, under community ownership.

Built in 1880, the pub is situated in Inverie, which is accessible by an 18-mile hike from Glenfinnan, a boat service from Mallaig or by helicopter.

The owners put The Old Forge up for sale in February of this year at offers over £425,000.

Following months of planning, The Old Forge Community Benefit Society has now launched a share offer which aims to raise £204,500 through investments from members of the local community and other interested parties.

Stephanie Harris, secretary of the society, said: “After months of hard work we are excited to launch this community share offer and begin raising vital capital to purchase The Old Forge pub.

“By investing in shares, members will have a direct say in the future success of the society and the pub once under community ownership.

“Under our society’s rules, 75% of the shareholder members must be residents
within our community, and this is to ensure that the pub will always be managed by the community it serves.

“However, this means that we have set ourselves an ambitious target to raise over £200,000 from around just 100 people.

“To maximise our fundraising potential, we have set the minimum investment amount for the 25% of non-resident shareholders at £10,000. Group applications are welcome as well as individual members.”

The Old Forge Community Benefit Society in Knoydart. Supplied by The Old Forge Community Benefit Society/Mark Harris.

For the community

Community shares are unique to community benefit societies with the profits being invested back into local businesses and projects for the greater good of the residents.

Shareholders will also benefit from interest payments and other member perks, as well as having voting rights at meetings and the opportunity to stand for the management committee.

The money raised through investments will go towards the society’s offer on the pub, while the rest of the funds will come from a Scottish Land Fund if the application is successful.

The society also plans to launch a crowdfund campaign upon conclusion of the share offer so more people can get involved and “put their own stamp on the future of the Forge”.

Ms Harris added: “In such a small community, pubs play a vital role in the social and economic health of the area.

“As Knoydart has developed over the last decade, unfortunately our pub has not and today it does not provide the services that locals and visitors expect.

“We feel very strongly that under community ownership the pub can be rebuilt in to a thriving business at the heart of the community again, and today marks a huge milestone in making that happen.”

Since 1999, the Knoydart Foundation has owned most of the peninsula which covers around 80 square miles and is home to around 120 residents.

The share offer will be open from tomorrow until October 8. More information can be found here.

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