A transformation of an extraordinary kind has happened on the banks of Loch Awe.
Out of the former Tight Line pub at Lochawe village, an unrecognisable venture has grown.
The Ben Cruachan Inn has opened up to a whole new audience in the former stables of the Loch Awe Hotel and has completed an incredible job of bringing fine ales and spirits together with a modern family atmosphere while offering incredible views of the loch.
And for those who don’t want to drive home, or are taking a holiday in the area, there is the added benefit of five spectacular bedrooms.
The Oban Times sat down with managers David Wilson and Lewis Ross to discuss their aspirations for the newlyopened inn.
David and Lewis between them have 24 years’ experience in the trade and have built up a reputation as strong performers in the food, drink and hotel industry.
David, from Port Sonanchan, said: ‘This is an amazing opportunity to bring on both a village restaurant and bar that works for the area along with the chance to attract a whole new generation of customers and visitors from all over the world.
‘The company that owns the inn is incredible to work for. We have an incredible team here.’
David manages the food and drinks in the inn and, as he says himself, it is all about Scottish provenance and low food miles.
‘We try to keep our food and drink as local as possible.
‘At the moment we have 14 Scottish gins and counting. We have 84 whiskies on offer. We want people to come here and enjoy a drink with a member of staff who is knowledgeable about the product. We also sell Scottish teas and coffee that have been roasted in Dundee.
‘If people are looking for a particular thing, then we hope to be able to get it for them.’
Lewis, from Oban, is the general manager at the hotel, and already has a number of parties and events under his belt at the inn.
‘I am hoping to have at least one live event at least once a month. Our first one was superb and we had such good fun dancing the night away.
‘I am always on the look out for other bands to come and play in the inn.
‘Part of the rebuild has been the introduction of five bedrooms – three double and two twin rooms. Some of the rooms have a view over Loch Awe while one room is wheelchair accessible and another has a small kitchen included in the room.
‘The inn is fitted with a lift and is fully accessible for someone who has problems with mobility or uses a wheelchair.
‘We hope to have something to offer for everyone. We have various board games for families and, of course, we have a pool table.
‘If it is raining, there are plenty things to do inside.
‘We also have seats on our amazing deck area which has spectacular views down the loch. It’s the perfect place to enjoy a drink on a sunny day.’
Anyone who visited the old Tight Line pub will remember that it was dark inside – the owners have opened it up and brought as much light as possible into one big room. When the owners took the building over they knew the local community wanted to have a pub on the site, so they set about making that happen.
The interior has some beautiful and quirky pieces of furniture and has created a modern dining area with a beautiful wood bar that was hand-crafted from an elm tree felled in Edinburgh.
Some of the paintings on the walls come with a story. Two paintings were bought in an auction and, in the first week of opening, the artist came in as he happened to stop by for tea and saw his pictures.
So we met the man behind the art, a very talented Mr David Robertson. His pictures were serendipity at its finest.