New chapter for UK’s remotest bookshop

A HIGHLAND bookshop believed to be the most remote in the UK mainland has come on the market as its owners of more than 30 years prepare to retire.

The shop is being billed as an escape from the rat race

Achins Bookshop is situated down a three-and-half-mile 
single track, near the village 
of Lochinver, more than a 
hundred miles from Inverness.

Alex Dickson, 66, who bought the shop and cafe with wife Agnes in 1983, said he and his family had been very happy during their three decades running the shop. It is on sale for offers over £325,000.

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He said: “I was working as an engineer in Glasgow and my wife was a nurse, and we had three young children, when we heard about the opportunity to buy the bookshop, which was already 20 years old by that point.

“We thought it would be a wonderful place to bring up the children and change our pace of life, so we went for it, and haven’t looked back.”

The shop is at the bottom of a popular walkers’ route leading to the Falls of Kirkaig and boasts a 28-seat tearoom, as well as a range of gifts and other items.

Despite the shop’s setting, it would appear there is no shortage of prospective buyers with a number of notes of interest being received within days of it being put up for sale – the majority of whom, like Mr Dickson 30 years ago – are looking to escape the rat race.

Mr Dickson said: “At least two of the couples who have lodged an interest are living in cities and looking to flee to the countryside. It’s a wonderful place to bring up children and, though a little off the beaten track, we do a steady trade here all year.”

And there is no shortage of writers keen to head along and do some publicity – Mairi Hedderwick, who pens the popular Katie Morag children’s books, historical author Nigel Tranter and the late broadcaster Magnus Magnusson are just some of the celebrities who have popped in.

“The actors Sir Ian McKellen and Richard Wilson were also visiting the Falls a few years back and they stopped by for a chat and cup of tea,” said Mr Dickson.

The books offered for sale are equally as diverse, with fiction divided into Scottish and others, and a wide range of non-fiction with a particular focus on local history, nature and geography.

The bookseller said he would love to see the store remain as a bookshop. He said: “It’s a part of the local community – you know everyone and there’s always plenty of opportunities to be involved with local events.”

Paul Hart, of Inverness-based estate agents ASG, said: “It’s a remote property but that hasn’t dissuaded people from it. In fact, we’ve been pleasantly surprised by the number of calls we have already taken.”