In Scotland, controversy over the remotest pub in the United Kingdom

In Scotland, controversy over the remotest pub in the United Kingdom
The storefront of The Old Forge Scottish Pub, May 21, 2021 (Andy Buchanan / AFP)

A small fishing village in the Scottish Highlands on the west coast is home to the UK’s most remote pub. According to the Guinness Book of Records, the pub can be reached after two days on foot or 45 minutes by boat. For years, the establishment, acquired by Belgium’s Jean-Pierre Robinet ten years ago, has been the subject of a feud between the owner and residents of this small town of 110 people.

Some of them criticize it for charging high prices and harming tourists. Whereas before, The Old Forge, the only pub in the village, was a meeting place, sociable, family and festive. Jean-Pierre Robinet, who fell in love with the place where he regularly hunted deer, does not hide the fact that he wanted to make the pub a tourist showcase for Scotland.

My sweet dream was to tell myself that there were young people in this village who were interested in learning a good job, might have taken over.

Jean-Pierre Robinet

franceinfo

“Unfortunately, today, the observation is that this is not the case at all. These are the people who have made a habit of asking for subsidies rather than undertaking. Fortunately, there are many residents who also support us, they are our customers, but as That luck will be with them, they are all craftsmen, entrepreneurs, they have their own business., tells him who comes from a family of hoteliers for six generations.

The controversy has been going on for years, but it may end with the ad going for sale. The sale was decided by Jean-Pierre Robinet at first for personal reasons, but also because of the constraints associated with Brexit. The import of European products, such as wine and cheese, and its reliance on European labor, complicate matters.

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“In the future, the government will ask me to fulfill the conditions, in order to be able to import this quality workforce. And when I have completed these long and painful administrative processes, they will say to me ‘No, we Not going. Doesn’t give you a work permit, because there are 300 job seekers in your area who can match this job.’ And I, unfortunately, will not be able to tell them the truth, that is, one, these people are not qualified ‘Two, they don’t have our productivity, or our desire, or our culture’, Belgium says.

This is a great question! Village residents have formed a committee and are trying with crowdfunding and public money to buy it. Their goal is to reintroduce the pub’s revenue into local life. But for Jean-Pierre Robinet, the game is not won: “I think it’s a great idea that the community is interested in buying the pub and wants to manage it, but for that you have to have an entrepreneurial philosophy, a real philosophy that has both feet on the ground, a business philosophy. Because it’s a great activity, but he has to pay the bills at the end of the month.”

“You’ll never get rich with a pub in the middle, it’s never been a financial goal for me here. And I’d even go so far as to say that it’s not even the financial proposition that goes to us. Driven To, it is rather the buyer’s quality and his vision of the future.” His vision is not fully shared by the villagers, and the future will tell who wins.

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