Britain’s most remote pub which takes an 18-mile hike to find reopens

The Old Forge, the most remote pub on mainland Britain, has once again opened its doors to patrons, thanks to the incredible efforts of the local community who raised £1 million to purchase and renovate the establishment. Nestled on the picturesque Knoydart Peninsula in Inverie, Scotland, The Old Forge poses a unique challenge for visitors.

To enjoy a pint at this iconic pub, you must embark on an 18-mile hike through the breathtaking Highlands or opt for a seven-mile sea crossing. Situated in the UK’s most isolated mainland community with a population of just 111, this pub holds a special place in the hearts of both locals and travellers.

Last year, in March, the residents of Knoydart took matters into their own hands and bought The Old Forge after its previous owner decided to sell.

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Following the purchase, the pub closed its doors in January for an extensive refurbishment. While the renovation took longer than anticipated, the community remained determined to reopen this beloved establishment.

Stephanie Harris, the business development manager of The Old Forge Community Benefit Society, said: “Reopening was all a bit of a blur. Our goal was always to open last weekend but we weren’t sure it was going to happen.

“It came down to the wire. One 3pm on Friday we finally had everything in place. We posted on social media that we would be opening tonight and within an hour people were waiting outside.

“Within half-an-hour of opening the place was absolutely packed. A lot of people hadn’t seen it at all for months so it was a huge change and a great night.”

The pub, which boasts a rich history dating back to the 1700s, was acquired under community ownership through the efforts of The Old Forge Community Benefit Society. Through crowdfunding and grants, they successfully raised more than £1 million to purchase and renovate the building. During the first summer season, the pub remained open, serving drinks only. However, in January of this year, the refurbishment process began in earnest.

A team of dedicated locals took on the task of refurbishing the pub, which involved insulating the property, installing new windows, electrical systems, and heating.

Stephanie said: “The refurbishment ended up taking a lot longer than we thought it would.

“We closed down in January and essentially stripped it back to four walls. It was a complete overhaul of everything.

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“The original stone cottage building has stayed but we had to knock down the extension that runs along the back and start again.

“The building wasn’t energy efficient at all so that was our main focus. We upgraded the heating, got new windows and insulated the loft space.

“We rejigged the design inside and got new everything to make it comfortable.”

Stephanie is hopeful the pub’s new refurbishment will secure its future and contribute to the overall well-being of their community. While initially serving drinks only for the first few weeks of reopening, they have plans to introduce food service by the end of the month.

She said: “We’re such a small community and the pub plays so many different roles. It’s not just a place to come and have a drink – it’s a neutral hub.

“It’s success or failure has a huge impact on everyone in the community – economically and emotionally.”

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