Now that a community group has finally got their hands on the Old Forge pub, they can’t wait to start returning it to its former glory.
The Old Forge Community Benefit Society now owns Britain’s most remote pub after 14 months of fundraising.
With the hopeful date for reopening just around the corner, the group has revealed its plans for refurbishing the 19th Century pub.
Stephanie Harris, secretary of the group, said it hopes to preserve the traditional feel of the Knoydart pub while still giving it a much needed modern refresh.
“It’s a very traditional pub, it’s not changed much at all in the last 10 years since the previous owner took over,” she said.
“I worked in the pub about nine years ago and it was still my writing that was on the specials board which was a bit of a surprise. We don’t want to change it too much but we’re going to do little things to refresh it.”
Getting ready for reopening
It is hoped the Old Forge will reopen for drinks on the Easter weekend.
There is much work to be done in order to make this dream a reality, with painting and reflooring scheduled over the next two weeks.
Ms Harris said, as with all of the community buyout process, the refurbishment of the pub will be a community effort.
She said: “We’re trying to get everything ready to reopen so we’ve started clearing the bar out. We’ve got a big volunteer day happening on Saturday to give all the locals a chance to come and look around but also to get a big deep clean everywhere.
“We’re getting it all repainted and getting the floors redone next week so that’ll be good and we’ll be getting the cellar up to scratch.”
To make the most of the pub’s shorefront location, which is a huge draw for locals and tourists alike, the group is also hoping to establish a larger seating area on the grass opposite.
Further refurbishment plans
Looking further ahead, it is hoped the pub’s kitchen will reopen in the next few months.
It is in an extension which needs a new roof, the biggest job that needs undertaking at the pub. Along with it, the toilet facilities are to be updated and the cellar extended.
The Old Forge is split into three sections, two of which are currently used as the main bar area and one of which was previously reserved as an office space and for staff accommodation.
Over winter later this year, the latter section will be transformed into a cosy bar area. This will act as a warm respite during the quieter cold months without the whole bar having to be opened.
Mr Harris said local tradespeople will be used for the work whenever possible to further support the group’s aim of creating jobs in the area.
‘It’s a bit overwhelming’
Ms Harris said the reaction to the reopening has been incredibly positive.
She said: “Everyone is really looking forward to seeing what will happen and what the pub will add to the community with it being run by us.
“There have been lots of people popping in and giving us ideas which is great because that’s what it’s all about.”
People from far and wide holiday in the area every year, meaning friendly faces from years past are looking forward to seeing the newly refurbished pub in the near future.
“It’s a bit overwhelming at the moment, there’s so much to do but it’s exciting,” said Ms Harris.
“The response we’ve had has been amazing, not only from Knoydart but other people getting in touch, we’ve had hundreds of emails and things like that so that definitely spurs you on to keep going when people are rooting for you.”