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Coronavirus: Converted vintage horsebox keeps Speyside cafe on the road in lockdown

Moray MSP Richard Lochhead and Sarah Nairn-Anderson, owner of The Gather'n Pod.
Moray MSP Richard Lochhead and Sarah Nairn-Anderson, owner of The Gather'n Pod.

A Moray cafe owner has set up shop in a vintage horse box due to Covid rules.

Sarah Nairn-Anderson, who runs Aberlour-based The Gather’n, has spent several months fitting the 50-year-old trailer.

The wagon was once the mobile home for her horse Harry and was most recently used to store feed.

However, coronavirus restrictions led to her considering new ways it could be used to support her business.

‘Opening cafe for takeaways was unviable’

The converted horsebox has now been rechristened The Gather’n Pod and has been serving hot drinks from the roadside at the southern entrance to Aberlour.

She said: “I bought it when I took Harry home so I’ve had it for years.

“During lockdown I had been looking at Instagram posts of other conversions – I just started sanding one day and didn’t stop.

Richard Lochhead, SNP candidate for Moray, and Sarah Nairn-Anderson at The Gather’n Pod in Aberlour.

“We were able to do almost all of it ourselves, my partner did the electrics and wiring.

“I wouldn’t be able to open the cafe for takeaways at the moment, with the way it is set up it just wouldn’t be viable.

“At least this way I can open. It’s taken a while to get all the necessary permits but it’s all ready now.”

Mrs Nairn-Anderson explained she expected the pod to be open in Aberlour until the cafe is open once again before hopefully moving it to a layby near Ballindalloch.

Businesses praised for lockdown innovations

Richard Lochhead, SNP candidate for Moray, has praised the ingenuity of the businesswoman and the rest of the industry for adapting existing operations to cater for the staycation market.

He said: “I have been in contact with local business people, like Sarah, every week through the pandemic and there is an amazing entrepreneurial spirit.

“This has been the toughest year that most businesses have faced but it’s fantastic that so many of them are looking for new and innovative ways to keep their businesses going and even expanding their offer like Sarah is.”

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