LOCALS have voiced hopes that a landmark hotel can be revived, highlighting the crucial role it plays in the community and Mid Argyll economy.

The Herald revealed on Saturday that the canal-side Cairnbaan Hotel is back on the market, with offers around £425,000 sought, after a deal to buy it fell through.

Property agent Graham + Sibbald had announced at the start of the year that the Cairnbaan Hotel, owned by Christine Dobson, was up for sale.

Emily Hewitson, a hotel and leisure agent with Graham + Sibbald, said on Friday that an offer had been put in about two months ago but that the deal had fallen through so the hotel had been brought back to the market. The offer came from a private investor.

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Commenting on the story on heraldscotland.com, reader Robert Wakeham said: “Mid Argyll cannot afford to lose this hostelry, which as well as acting as the local inn provides much needed facilities for functions and has the character and location to be a very important asset for visitors - tourism being a vital part of the local economy.

“So what's needed is someone who can build on the good work of Mrs Dobson and make the hotel the success that it thoroughly deserves to be, now that Covid seems to have retreated, and last October's landslide on the main Lochgilphead [to] Oban road has been dealt with.”

Fellow reader Monica Stewart, replying to Mr Wakeham, said: “Here's hoping - it would be great to revive a friendly, welcoming inn here - for us locals, visitors and yachtsmen. Only a couple of miles from Lochgilphead, on the towpath used by hundreds of walkers and cyclists ¬- surely there is great potential here.”

The 11-bedroom Cairnbaan Hotel, before the property’s original launch on the market was announced by Graham + Sibbald in early January, noted on its website that it had "ceased trading".

It said: "Due to unavoidable and unforeseen circumstances, the hotel will be closed indefinitely. Apologies for any inconvenience. We'd like to thank our patrons, both locally and those further afield."

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Ms Hewitson, who noted the hotel is being sold because Christine Dobson wants to retire, said on Friday of the hotel’s return to the market: “It is a perfect opportunity for somebody to have a lifestyle business in such an iconic location with established footfall. There is an opportunity to make it a boutique destination hotel.”

The Cairnbaan Hotel, on the Crinan Canal three miles north of Lochgilphead and 35 miles south of Oban, includes owner’s accommodation.

Graham + Sibbald said: “The Cairnbaan is a quaint, traditional hotel, offering an impressive canal-side location and outstanding views in a popular tourist area in picturesque Argyll. Its attractive location makes it a popular drive-out destination for residents and tourists alike.”

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The property agent added: “Proud of its traditional origins, the Cairnbaan Hotel has kept its charm, by sympathetically expanding over the years to provide 11 spacious ensuite bedrooms, a quaint lounge bar, a main restaurant, a conservatory, and a function room. The property also benefits from a south-facing outdoor terrace for alfresco activities overlooking the canal.”

Graham + Sibbald said it is inviting “offers in the region of £425,000” for the freehold interest.