THE new owners of Oban Marina at Kerrera have outlined their ambitions for the business over the next two to three years.
OBAN Marina’s new owners, Gary Adams and Catherine Peat, have revealed big plans for their new £ 800,000 purchase of the Kerrera site, which is now open for business.
The sailing couple moved up from Surrey to a little cottage on Kerrera in just one day, after suddenly sealing the deal in February, and they are now settling in to island life and the long task of improving the marina’s facilities.
‘We have spent the past two years on a yacht sailing the Adriatic,’ Gary told The Oban
Times. ‘Catherine and I both took part in a clipper race. The clipper gave us more of a sense of adventure. We were looking around Scotland, and then the marina came up.’
Peter Weir, managing director of The North Ledaig Company Ltd, which bought the marina opposite Oban on Kerrera’s north tip in 2012, announced in January 2016 it was going back on the market for offers over £975,000, ‘as a result of many issues of which we were unable to control’, he wrote on its website, listing problems with the spring water and diesel supply, ferries and wifi speed.
‘It was a protracted negoti- ation, but we eventually got it over the line,’ Gary said. ‘ We would have liked to have taken it over in November, but we got it in February. Within a day the deal was done. We moved from Weybridge in one day. It was an interesting few days.’
Gary and Catherine are joined by six full-time employees, including a chef who started on Monday at the Waypoint Bar and Grill, with hopes to open the bar by the end of this week, and fully open the restaurant by June 1. Director of operations Oliver Cotterell, assistant director Amy Dickinson and a yard manager and two workers also join the team.
‘The marina has been neglected in the past,’ Gary added. ‘Before it may have been concentrating on the bar and grill at the expense of the berth holders. We want to bring it back to a sailing marina. The uniqueness is that it is an island, but with that comes issues. We are trying to address the concerns, [which] were always water, fuel and broadband.’
They have already fitted extra water storage and a new supply of broadband, with a new fuel pump to be installed this week. ‘ We have cleaned the site up,’ he added. ‘We have refurbished the toilet facilities. Next year we will put new shower facilities in. We are going to invest in the sheds.
‘Everything we intend to refurbish and rebuild. There are many changes that need to be done, but you have to take it slowly. How do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time. It will take us two to three years to get it where we want it to be.
‘There are also challenges being so close to your office. We did not want to be absentee owners. I like to understand a business from the roots up. We love it [on Kerrera] ... the tranquillity at night and it is very beautiful.
‘It was a lifestyle choice, and a legacy which we would like to pass on to our children.’
Gary Adams and Catherine Peat love the tranquillity of Kerrera.