With no roads in or out, it's an 18-mile hike over munros through one of Britain's last true wildernesses or a seven-mile sea crossing to get to The Old Forge.

Listed in the Guinness World Records as mainland Britain's most remote pub, it has long been the holy grail of the British outdoors community and a feature of many a ‘best pubs’ list over the years.

After decades of private ownership, locals on the Knoydart Peninsula succeeded in their bid to buy the pub in a landmark deal in March 2022 following a 14-month fundraising effort that raised over £320,000.

It came after the future of the pub was at risk after the former owner put it on the market in February 2021.

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In the wake of the community buy-out, the pub operated on a drinks-only basis for the first summer season last year and a reduced basis from November before closing for extensive renovations in January.

Now The Old Forge is gearing up to welcome punters through the doors once again and form the heart of local life for the 110-strong Knoydart community.

As well as a complete redesign at the back to create new toilets, entrances, kitchen, storage and cellar, the refurbishment project - undertaken by local tradespeople - has also seen the creation of a second, smaller public bar. 

The Herald: Renovation works are ongoingRenovation works are ongoing (Image: The Old Forge CBS)

The pub will also have new bar tops - made from Knoydart timber and milled and dried by Knoydart Forest Trust -  engraved with the names of those who have supported the pub’s community ownership journey.

Speaking about the “essential” refurbishment project, Stephanie Harris, Business Development Manager of The Old Forge Community Benefit Society, told The Herald: “We started the refurb at the end of January and it had been the plan from the very beginning, even before we’d bought it, that a big refurb was on the cards.

"We knew that the building had been deteriorating. The original building was built in the 1770s. As soon as we got in there were holes in the roof and leaks everywhere and everything just was not up to standard basically. 

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“We’ve essentially had to start from scratch. We’ve taken it back to the bare walls. And as well as getting everything fit for purpose we are putting a few extra things in that will make it a bit better - a better cellar and better working areas. We are putting in a new wee bar area as well. That will give us a lot more flexibility.

"We can have more room for restaurant service but it also means we can have a cosier area in the winter and we won’t have to open up the whole pub. Also it might give us the opportunity for local groups to use it to do some community hub type of things.

“It’s primarily been all local labour as well which is great. We are using as much local materials as we can. All the cladding on the extension is milled timber from here.”

The Herald: The original building dates back to the 1770sThe original building dates back to the 1770s (Image: The Old Forge CBS)

And while Ms Harris isn’t keen to put an exact date on when The Old Forge will reopen, she has assured The Herald that it will be “in the coming weeks”.

She added: “I think everyone is so looking forward to it. We’ve obviously been closed a wee bit longer than we had hoped. It’s just going to make such a difference. 

“Not only will it be a more comfortable place but once the restaurant is up and running, having it at full operation is going to make a huge difference, not only to the locals but for the visitors as well. It’s another place to go and eat and drink and all that.

“We’ve been keeping the community updated and sending them wee monthly updates and folk have been able to come in and have a wee look. As disappointing as it is not to be open yet they know its going to be worth it. We all know that. And we are looking forward to getting back in.

“Even though folk are turning up saying it’s a shame we are not open they are so supportive of what we are doing and they understand what is happening. And it’s a good excuse for them to come back!”