A community-led effort to buy the much-loved Old Forge in Knoydart has got off to a flying start, raising more than £200,000 in just seven days.
Header image: Locals gather outside the Old Forge. Photo: Mark Harris
Situated in the village of Inverie on the Knoydart peninsula, the Old Forge holds a Guinness World Record for the ‘remotest pub in mainland Britain’ and went up for sale in January.
The Old Forge Community Benefit Society Ltd was formed to take forward a community ownership bid of the pub, and after launching its fundraising bid a week ago it has raised £204,500 and counting through selling community share offers.
The fundraising effort forms part of a larger fundraising plan to secure enough capital to put an offer on the pub.
The community shares appeal offers residents, and supporters who live beyond the peninsula, the opportunity to invest in shares in the society. Shares start at £25 for local residents, with non-resident applications having a higher minimum investment amount of £10,000.
Stephanie Harris, secretary of the Society says “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 their maximum target of £240,000.
Stephanie continues: “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 £240k. 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.”
Crowdfunding coming soon
The society has also submitted an application to the Scottish Land Fund, with a decision expected in the next week, and if successful the share funds will be combined with the land fund grant for acquisition. They also plan to launch a crowdfund campaign in the near future which will be an opportunity for many more people to get involved in the project.
Despite being part of the British mainland, Inverie is not connected to the main road network and can only be reached by a 17 mile (27 kilometre) hike through the ‘rough bounds’ of Knoydart, or a seven-mile ferry from Mallaig.
Knoydart’s reputation for isolation and challenging terrain is legendary among many hillwalkers and the Old Forge has traditionally been seen as a popular watering hole – but under the current ownership it has received mixed reviews.
The share offer will run until October 8. The the documents associated with the offer are available to view on the society’s website.