Viewing 40 posts - 1 through 40 (of 48 total)
  • Good news for Knoydart / the old forge
  • Premier Icon tjagain
    Full Member

    Scottish land fund has given the local community a grant to buy it after they raise half the money

    Really good news – the most recent owner shut it over winter but its essential to the tourist trade and locals

    A couple of years ago my nephew was there midweek in may – and it was shut

    I had feared it might be lost but it now looks safe
    Ignore the usual daftness in the grauniad talking about scotland ” 18 mile walk over mountains and bogs” – its actually a good path the whole way
    https://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2021/oct/14/scottish-community-awarded-500000-to-buy-britains-remotest-pub

    Premier Icon scotroutes
    Full Member

    IIRC the “goodwill” is yet to be assessed so there is no guarantee that the locals will have sufficient funds to complete the purchase.

    While I’m not convinced that it’s the best way to spend £500k of public money, something does have to be done about supporting rural areas and I wish them all the best.

    Premier Icon MoreCashThanDash
    Full Member

    While I’m not convinced that it’s the best way to spend £500k of public money, something does have to be done about supporting rural areas and I wish them all the best.

    I know nothing about the area, but having seen local communities rescue pubs for the community down here, I had similar misgivings. Partly as it seemed quite pricey – must be a very profitable business at that valuation?

    Premier Icon Drac
    Full Member

    Yes, spotted that yesterday hopefully it works out. I’ve still never made it when I’ve been up that way.

    Premier Icon tjagain
    Full Member

    While I’m not convinced that it’s the best way to spend £500k of public money, something does have to be done about supporting rural areas and I wish them all the best.

    its a lot of money for a community of 110 people for sure but the pub is pretty central important to the community

    I must confess I idly wondered about buying it myself – then I got real 🙂

    Premier Icon thegreatape
    Free Member

    A slight tangent, but you were in a dream of mine earlier this week TJ. My wife and I were out on a bike ride and you were going the other way on a tandem. You kindly stopped to let us have a shot of it to help us decide whether to buy one. Thanks for your help 👍🏼

    Premier Icon outofbreath
    Free Member

    500k? So that’s 1 million £ valuation.

    Why is the state contributing to something that’s so busy and profitable it’s worth a million? Surely a loan would be a doddle?

    I’ve been there two or three times and I never got the feeling it was struggling.

    What am I missing?

    Having said all that if it was genuinely struggling, I’m glad it’s been saved.

    Premier Icon tjagain
    Full Member

    the pubs worth £425 000 ( thats the sale price) and from what Scotroutes says there is still the “goodwill” to be agreed

    I think ( but not sure) it made good money over the summer but struggled in winter

    I agree tho it all sounds a bit odd – my guess is that this is the only way to stop it being turned into holiday flats or something – but I agree why could a commercial loan not be made

    Great ape – you want a shot on it? Its just hanging on the wall being sad ATM

    Premier Icon BillMC
    Full Member

    Ate great smoked salmon there and drank good beer but doubt whether it’s worth a bar.

    Premier Icon scotroutes
    Full Member
    Premier Icon Garry_Lager
    Full Member

    Owner seems a polarising figure – coin flip to get a beautiful dining experience or Basil Fawlty on a bad day:

    https://www.tripadvisor.co.uk/Restaurant_Review-g551969-d1494559-Reviews-The_Old_Forge-Knoydart_Peninsula_Lochaber_Scottish_Highlands_Scotland.html

    Premier Icon grum
    Full Member

    I know some people from Knoydart. The former owner is hated by the locals pretty much universally. Apparently he would close the pub over winter but when his mates came over from Belgium he’d ask local musicians to come in and play for peanuts and make it look like the pub was lively and open all the while.

    It really sapped the life out of the whole community and created a lot of resentment and division.

    Premier Icon outofbreath
    Free Member

    He’s hated by the locals pretty much universally. Apparently he would close the pub over winter but when his mates came over from Belgium he’d ask local musicians to come in and play for peanuts and make it look like the pub was lively and open all the while.

    Yup, I’ve heard the locals basically refuse to go in there and set up some kind of informal private club as an alternative.

    Unpopular or not he seems to have wrangled half a mill out of the state.

    Premier Icon BillMC
    Full Member

    He struck me as a bit of a Canute, once he’d got your money he was as sour as.

    Premier Icon tjagain
    Full Member

    Unpopular or not he seems to have wrangled half a mill out of the state.

    No he has not. he will get a market price for the place. the half millon goes to the community

    Premier Icon thegreatape
    Free Member

    Great ape – you want a shot on it? Its just hanging on the wall being sad ATM

    Thanks but we’re ok – in real life we’ve had a go on a few, and invariably not done much better than Howard and Marina in LOTSW.

    Premier Icon duckman
    Full Member

    I was there in July, I go most years for a gold group that finishes there. The kids are 18 so we get parental permission to buy them a celebratory drink. I think JP was Dutch and all the locals had huge tabs when he took over,he ruffled feathers by wondering when they would be settled. The community that have just bought the pub built their shed right outside his pub,and they would tell you not to drink in the pub so no wonder he focussed on tourists. He looked after us well every time we were in and I remember it being a cold shithole with terrible beer and no food a couple of owners ago. He could have a torn puss on occasion in all fairness, but see EVERY publican in Scotland. No danger will it be selling local real ale or producing food of the same standard next year. ( He is an ex chef of some standing.)
    Oh and the pish about using local businesses etc in the foundations begging letter,all his stuff was so local the tax man is after him. Obviously the locals hatred of him didn’t extend to taking his cash.

    Premier Icon outofbreath
    Free Member

    No he has not. he will get a market price for the place. the half millon goes to the community

    Ok, so the pub is being bought for the £250k which the locals raised and the £500k is being used to refurb the pub or similar?

    Is there a reference to that somewhere?

    Premier Icon tjagain
    Full Member

    425000 for the pub buildinbgs. plus ( according to Scotroutes) goodwill I guess they will also need a floating fund
    community have raised 250 000

    Premier Icon tjagain
    Full Member

    Ta for that Scotroutes – I wisnae calling you out – just I had no knowledge of the “goodwill” apart from what you said

    Premier Icon scotroutes
    Full Member

    Pretty standard business deal really. Goodwill and inventory by negotiation.

    Of course, there’s nothing to prevent someone else coming in with a better bid, though they’d have to factor in the current situation with the locals.

    Premier Icon grum
    Full Member

    I think JP was Dutch and all the locals had huge tabs when he took over

    Wrong nationality, and the correct one already mentioned in the thread – but I’m sure you really know what you’re talking about and all the locals are wrong. 🧐

    Also pretty sure he was never a chef – https://uk.linkedin.com/in/jean-pierre-robinet-52038518

    Premier Icon convert
    Full Member

    I didn’t think you could sell the adherent goodwill of a pub separate from the purchase price of the bricks and mortar. i.e. it has to be bought with the building and stamp/lbtt had to be paid on it. Specific case (so I thought, but seemingly wrong) for pubs because the goodwill is generated by the physical space. Personal goodwill leaves with the outgoing landlord and is effectively worthless. Maybe it is marketed like this so that, if failing to find a buyer of it as a pub, it could have been sold as a domestic property too at a lesser price.

    Hope it works for them. Pubs run by committee of invested locals have not got the best rep for doing well.

    Premier Icon duckman
    Full Member

    but I’m sure you really know what you’re talking about and all the locals are wrong. 🧐

    My apologies grum,I commented on my experience of being there multiple times over 3 different owners and 5 times in the last 4 years, including twice this Summer. That is obviously different to your reading of the relationship between the locals and the owner in your recent experiences of Knoydart.
    Oh; and I always assumed he was Dutch as he was described as a Dutch prick by a local in the drinking shed the first year that was opened. I would love to see the folk who run the cafe take it on,their food was really good, which they will need to keep up to keep attracting the boats.

    Premier Icon outofbreath
    Free Member

    My apologies grum,I commented on my experience of being there multiple times over 3 different owners and 5 times in the last 4 years, including twice this Summer. That is obviously different to your reading of the relationship between the locals and the owner in your recent experiences of Knoydart.
    Oh; and I always assumed he was Dutch as he was described as a Dutch prick by a local in the drinking shed the first year that was opened. I would love to see the folk who run the cafe take it on,their food was really good, which they will need to keep up to keep attracting the boats.

    Thanks for the only recent first hand account in the thread, Duckman.

    Premier Icon grum
    Full Member

    Not going to get into a who knows best comp duckman but I have a pretty good mate who lives there and I know a few other locals too. I think you get a different perspective as a visitor.

    Premier Icon duckman
    Full Member

    Didn’t say I was the only recent visitor out of breath so no need for thanks.

    Fair enough grum.

    Premier Icon molgrips
    Full Member

    Can you ride there?

    Premier Icon grum
    Full Member

    Can you ride there?

    Do you mean ride to get there? I think it would involve an awful lot of carrying. There is a decent mostly rideable track from Barrisdale Bay to Inverie. Probs more fun to hike and go over the munros there though.

    Premier Icon duckman
    Full Member

    I had asked that in June, the consensus was not really.

    Premier Icon poly
    Free Member

    The kids are 18 so we get parental permission to buy them a celebratory drink.

    Why would you need parental permission to buy a drink for another adult?

    Premier Icon NewRetroTom
    Full Member

    Ignore the usual daftness in the grauniad talking about scotland ” 18 mile walk over mountains and bogs” – its actually a good path the whole way

    Last time I walked in there was a pretty boggy section near alongside upper loch Hourn. OK if you have decent walking boots and it’s dry weather.

    I think the community running the inn could go either way:

    a) small group of locals with a passion for great food and drink take on the running and the rest of the members of the community take a hands-off approach and let them get on with doing their job well. Financial side is looked after by someone with a good business head who won’t tolerate locals running up tabs.

    b) management by committee with no very clear vision and all decisions bogged down with lack of anyone able to get anything done. No investment in keeping the place well looked after. Locals taking the piss with unpaid tabs and finances descending into a shambles. Any attempt to raise standards of food/drink seen as being an attempt to be “exclusive” and detrimental to the community use of it as a locals’ pub.

    Let’s hope it’s option a.

    Premier Icon footflaps
    Full Member

    Thanks for the only recent first hand account in the thread, Duckman.

    +1

    Premier Icon molgrips
    Full Member

    I had asked that in June, the consensus was not really.

    I love the qualification there.

    Straight yes: ok then
    Straight no: won’t bother trying
    Not really: hmmmm…..

    Premier Icon grum
    Full Member

    Can you walk anywhere for 18 miles in the highlands in Scotland and not encounter hills and bogs?

    Premier Icon poly
    Free Member

    While I’m not convinced that it’s the best way to spend £500k of public money, something does have to be done about supporting rural areas and I wish them all the best.

    Yes it raised my eyebrows too but I suppose the options are:

    1. Nobody buys it. The pub shuts. Its goes into decay a bit and gets sold at a reduced rate and the community have a harder job to get it to be sustainable.

    2. Somebody buys it, wants to run it as a viable pub/business and succeeds. This would in many ways be the win-win for everyone; but eventually they may want to retire/sell themselves.

    3. Somebody buys it, wants to run it as a viable pub/business and screws up – go to option 1. I think this is such a hard place to make a year round living, and few people will be close enough to the reality of this it will be the most likely outcome. Unfortunately I suspect there’s enough “London money” around just now that this could be a real risk. Perhaps even a series of such romantic idealists.

    4. Someone buys it, with the intent to operate as a summer only venue and run on much the same basis as the current owner. It will be viable as a business but of zero real benefit to the local community. That’s exactly the “absentee landlord” type situation the land fund was created for so seems reasonable for them to step in?

    5. Nobody buys it as a pub. Someone buys it to convert to a holiday home. They probably have a planning battle – but eventually, if its been shut for a good few years would likely win). This is a very real prospect, if not now then at any point when a new owner changes their plan.

    As far as I know the grants are a “gift” to the community – i.e. if that becomes a very profitable venture there’s no need to repay any of it? That doesn’t seem a particularly sustainable way to run the fund – but there are many less worthy ways that governments will waste millions so I’m not going to get upset about it!

    Premier Icon outofbreath
    Free Member

    I’d really like to hear from someone in the know if it’s a viable business or not. I’ve been there three times (always in spring) and it was heaving twice and empty the other time (but that was during the day and I’d only gone in for a shower).

    I never got the impression it was anything other than thriving, but the frequent changes of hands perhaps indicate otherwise.

    Of course, I’ve never seen it in winter.

    Another thought, it’s one thing to run a pub in the ownership of (say) a married couple as manager and chef and no significant staff costs for those two roles. Quite another for “the community” to employ a manger and chef and still expect to break even.

    I’m confident it will survive long term because there’s clearly demand for a pub there, but it will be interesting to see how community ownership works out in this case.

    Premier Icon scotroutes
    Full Member

    there are many less worthy ways that governments will waste millions

    This grant is only 1% of the commitment made to Cairngorm Mountain.

    Premier Icon tjagain
    Full Member

    OOB – the grants from the land fund to put ownership of various things all seem to have worked out well so far as far as I am aware

    the fund that these monies come from have some pretty tight rules about viability and so on before they grant the money so I assume due diligence has been done.

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