One of Scotland’s oldest inns, which has played host to General Wade who masterminded the building of barracks, bridges and roads across the Highlands following the 1715 Jacobite Rebellion, is threatened with closure.
The co-owner of The Weem Inn, near Aberfeldy in Perthshire, famed for its gigs attracting high-profile jazz, folk and blues musicians, fears he will have to close its doors after his business partner John Hickman said he wanted to retire in the autumn.
Peter Butterworth is now looking for a new business partner or business partners willing to put in bids starting at £100,000 to keep the much loved 18th-century pub afloat.
Known locally as ‘The Weem’, the 14-bedroom pub attracts high-ranking folk, jazz and blues musicians such as Irish singer-songwriter Foy Vance, who wrote Make It Rain for Ed Sheeran and has toured with Elton John, Snow Patrol and Bonnie Raitt, Paisley-born Celtic star guitarist Tony McManus and ‘new wave’ Scottish fiddler Ryan Young.
The Weem has also hosted Sir Robert Menzies, a former Prime Minister of Australia.
The inn runs workshops, masterclasses and retreats for musicians and artists.
Spoken word sessions have involved writers such as Liz Lochhead – former Makar and national poet for Scotland.
Neighbours include writer JK Rowling, who has a holiday home nearby and is also a stone’s throw from Castle Menzies.
Mr Butterworth said: “I first spotted The Weem over 20 years ago and was immediately drawn to it.
“I found the building intriguingly beautiful and interesting. I was very, very curious to see what it was like inside.
“I thought ‘wow, what a place’.
“It was a fascinating building. When it came on the market five years ago, we bought it.
“Initially I thought it would make a fantastic hotel for cyclists or outdoors enthusiasts, but then my concert promoter background kicked in and I realised it had great acoustics and space as a music venue. It is a place of mirth, music and merriment.”
Mr Butterworth said that country inns and pubs were facing difficulties, with around 18 closing every week across Britain.
“All of us are diversifying so that we can change how we operate and offer a wide range of attractions while still being places of hospitality,” he said.