For sale: Britain's least local local

IT IS a long way for a quick pint. The remotest pub on the British mainland – accessible only via an 18-mile hike over mountains or a seven-mile sea crossing – has hung a "For Sale" sign from the optics. City slickers need not apply.

• The Old Forge pub at Inverie, on the Knoydart Peninsula in the West Highlands. Picture: Phil Wilkinson

The Old Forge at Inverie, on the Knoydart Peninsula in the West Highlands, has little trouble with drunk drivers, as there is no road access. Tipsy sailors, however, are another matter.

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Yet, despite the difficulties any owner would face getting punters through the doors, the pub has gone on the market for offers over 790,000.

For this sum, the buyer will receive a surprisingly thriving business, including the pub, restaurant, owner's accommodation and ten boat moorings.

The Old Forge has been eulogised by Pete Irvine in Scotland The Best as one of only three "bloody good pubs" in the country. In the guide book, Mr Irvine praised it as "a warm haven" with "real ales and real characters".

After 20 years' building the business into a remarkable tourist attraction, owners Ian and Jackie Robertson have decided to retire to the new home they are building on the lonely peninsula.

Mr Robertson said: "I turn 65 next year and we have decided the time has come to retire. We have thoroughly enjoyed building up the business, but it is a lot of hard work and someone younger should now be given the opportunity to enjoy it."

The distant community has long attracted an eclectic mix of characters, including Australians, Poles, South Africans, French and New Zealanders. Visiting musicians regularly play in exchange for food and drink.

Mr Robertson was Knoydart Estate manager when the pub went on the market about 20 years ago. He said: "It wasn't doing very much back then, but we took on the challenge and expanded the business, extending the kitchen and restaurant and providing moorings. We are now looking to take a step back. It has been flat out from day one. We are currently building a new house – and there are plenty of walks to pick.

"Knoydart is such a beautiful, scenic area and tourists are coming here in droves. Last year was such a success. People were obviously deciding not to go abroad and were holidaying in the UK. A lot of them have been staying longer.

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"Even this weekend, all the accommodation on Knoydart is fully booked. The opportunity for an up-and-coming young chef with ambition to come here with all the local seafood is massive. The sky is the limit."

Knoydart is 45 minutes by ferry from Mallaig or 20 minutes by a daily water taxi. The award-winning pub and restaurant is also on the main sailing route to Skye, the Outer Hebrides and the Small Isles.

The property, originally built in the 17th century, is on the waterfront at Inverie and is being offered for sale with ten private moorings.

Jamie MacNab, a director of Savills, the estate agent, said the weak pound had brought Americans and Canadians back into the British property market. "There is a big value in wilderness and it is sure to sell to someone who will be embracing the lifestyle and wants to escape the rat race," he added.

As well as a waterfront bar and restaurant, the business includes owner's accommodation with the potential to acquire another house with outline planning permission.

David Reid, of selling agents Knight Frank, said: "There is no question that the Old Forge is a rare find and it will appeal to those looking for a new lifestyle in a remote location, but with the added benefit of a superb business showing exceptional turnover, strong performance, yearly growth and good net profits."

Affairs of the heart and hearty affairs at The Old Forge

FANCY buying The Old Forge? This is how the pub is described on its website:

"A cosmopolitan community of Ozzies and Scots, Gaels and Poles, South Africans and Kiwis, East Coasters and French. Unions formed, offspring born, customers became staff and staff became customers.

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"People are important. Very. Food figures up there and music is our glue. Families reunited, divided in tune, best friends, trade secrets, lovers' tiffs, escaping, dalliances, affairs of the heart and hearty affairs, yachties, munro baggers, daydreamers lost in a book, lost on the hill, drunk on love or from the bottle.

"Idle chat, local gossip, furious fiddles, banjos, bongos and bodhrans heckling up each other for a chord change and lifting the pace of a late-night strip the willow down the main street. Just another day at The Old Forge, mainland Britain's remotest pub."

And in Pete Irvine's Scotland the Best guide:

"A warm haven for visitors who have found their way to this peninsula. Suddenly you are part of the community – real ales and real characters; excellent pub grub."