Calling time on pub plan for The Crook Inn, Scotland’s oldest coaching inn

VERY little time, gentlemen, please. A rural community needs to raise £160,000 by the end of the year to save the oldest coaching inn in Scotland.

Former customers of the Crook Inn, in Tweedsmuir, where Sir Walter Scott and Robert Burns once drank, have already collected £100,000 but are struggling to find the rest before the deadline of 31 ­December.

The historic inn, which inspired Burns in 1792 to write Willie Wastle’s Wife after his amorous advances to the wife of the local weaver were ­rebuffed, has been closed for the past six years but villagers have ambitious plans to re-open it as a bar/restaurant and community centre.

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Duncan Davidson, chairman of the Tweedsmuir Community Company, the organisation behind the bid, said: “We are running out of time and if we don’t reach £160,000 by the end of the year the opportunity will be lost. What we are looking for is anyone who wishes to make a sizeable donation to help us reach our target.”

The last time a pint was pulled in the Crook Inn was in November, 2006, when the bar was purchased by a new owner, Jim Doonan, a businessman who closed it down and then applied for planning permission to convert it into a luxury housing development. However, the local community were determined to save their historic public house and strongly opposed the application, which was eventually rejected by the local council.

Residents then set up the Tweedsmuir Community Company with a view to purchasing the inn under the Scottish Government’s Right to Buy scheme and reopening it.

Over the past few years the community has raised more than £100,000 through a series of events, as well as a successful application to the Scottish Hydro Clyde wind farm community fund. If the community complete the purchase they would then be required to raise a further £1 million through a combination of grants and donations to complete the re-development of the property, which is currently in a bad state of disrepair.