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My Journey to Scotland's Most Remote Pub

my-journey-to-scotlands-most-remote-pub20/01 02:30 - My Journey to Scotland's Most Remote Pub
The Old Forge in Inverie, Scotland holds the Guinness World Record title of “the most remote pub on mainland Britain.” Inverie is a village of around 100 people on the Knoydart peninsula, accessible by ferry and by hiking through hills and bogs where there are no roads. It has long been the Holy Grail of British hikers. But things are changing in Inverie. A new owner took possession of the Old Forge in 2012, and the changes he is making to turn it into a more upscale destination have the locals rebelling. They've built a second, unofficial pub called The Table, which is little more than a shack with a disco ball.    I talked to locals as the disco ball swung in the breeze. We discussed Brexit, wild-boar populations, that you can pee anywhere in Scotland (unlike England), and the bittersweet work of foresters on the peninsula, planting oaks that will only reach maturity once those same foresters are long dead. It seems that no one who lives on Knoydart today was born here: the majority came as visitors and were caught up in its wild embrace. That night at the Table, it was easy to understand, in the lick of flame, the lap of waves, the drumming of rain on the roof. Lastly, the subject turned to the dispute with the Old Forge. “What was created before [at the Old Forge] was legendary,” says Patrick. “To shut it down [for the winter], to me, is a two fingers up to the community.”The Table “is in protest to what we’ve lost,” said one local who asked not to be named. “A lot of folks who walked in every two years stopped coming, because they remember the pub how it was. If the pub was the beating heart of the community, this is the new left ventricle. We’re trying to fill the gap. It keeps us sane.”It is easy to see how tempers flare when pubs are concerned. The pub is part of the soul of Scotland and the United Kingdom as a whole. Its meaning transcends a tavern or bar. Pub is an abbreviation of public house—a meeting place for all comers (children and dogs are admitted, too). In the Scottish climate, pubs were a place of shelter for wayfarers on the open road. For some hikers, the walk-in to Knoydart is a reenactment of this memory: of people coming in from the cold in an age before mechanized transport, when walking was a necessity. Or even an echo of an old story from a faraway land—of some people tired and lost in the wilderness, looking for a room at the inn.Oliver Smith traveled to Inverie to check out the pub situation, which will soon include a third pub, as an actual brewery has opened on the peninsula. Read his fascinating travelogue at Outside Online. -via Metafilter (Image credit: Ivan Hall / The Old Forge, Inverie, Knoydart / CC BY-SA 2.0)...


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