After hitting their fundraising target of over £200,000 in just a week, a community group are putting forward an ownership bid for Britain’s most remote pub.
When The Old Forge, at Inverie on the Knoydart peninsula, went on the market back in January, a group of like-minded individuals pulled together to secure its future.
The Old Forge Community Benefit Society LTD have raised £208,575 in just a week by inviting residents and other interested parties to invest in the venture and become shareholders.
Fears had previously been mooted by the local community that the pub could be bought and turned into houses, stripping Inverie of jobs and a business hotspot.
For decades the pub has been the holy grail of the UK outdoors leisure community, with the Guinness Book of World Records declaring it “the most remote pub on mainland Britain”.
Providing jobs and supporting local businesses
Accessible only by boat from Mallaig, an 18-mile hike from Glenfinnan or a helicopter, it currently operates as a restaurant and bar.
With the capacity for 65 diners, it also has an attached cottage, comprising a living room/bedroom and en-suite bathroom.
Under community ownership, the pub would be open year-round, employing 15-20 local people in the tourist season, as well as supporting other businesses by using local produce.
For those wishing to invest, shares start at £25 for local residents, with non-resident applications having a higher minimum investment amount of £10,000.
The group have also submitted an application to the Scottish Land Fund – if successful the share funds will be combined with the land fund grant for acquisition.
They also have plans to launch a crowdfunding campaign in the near future which will be an opportunity for more people to get involved in the project.
‘Support has been incredible’
Group secretary, Stephanie Harris said: “The support over the last seven days has been incredible. We raised over £90,000 in the first 24 hours and applications continued to come in consistently – so much so that we met our minimum target in one week.”
With three weeks still to go, the share offer will remain open and the society is now aiming to reach its maximum target of £240,000.
She added: “The speed at which this has taken off, and the generosity of our new member shareholders just goes to show how much people want this to happen.
“Our supporters want to see the pub under community ownership and we have now reached a huge milestone in making that happen.
“We really hope to continue edging closer to our maximum target of £240,000.
“The more we raise, the more security we have in our overall fundraising plan, and the more we can achieve once the pub is secured for the community.”