Ma­rina plans

The Oban Times - - Front Page - SANDY NEIL sneil@oban­times.co.uk

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.

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