A trans­for­ma­tion of an ex­tra­or­di­nary kind has hap­pened on the banks of Loch Awe.

The Oban Times - - Feature -

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.

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