The sale of the Crask Inn presents a substantial and unique business opportunity. The present owners utilise the available land to farm livestock and grow items of produce. The Inn has three operating elements (wet sales, food and accommodation) which complement each other making it an exceptional lifestyle opportunity. The subjects have two separate accommodation units on opposite sides of the road. Within the main Inn are 4 letting bedrooms (3 en-suite) plus a bunkhouse facility which can accommodate up to 10 persons. This accommodation is coupled with the operation of a Highland Inn which offers a restaurant facility plus the provision of bar services meeting the requirements of the many and varied tourists that pass by on this remote route.
The food provision utilises locally sourced meat with home-grown vegetables where possible, specialising in local lamb, beef and venison, with fresh fish from Ullapool harbour. Located within some of the most stunning scenery in the North of Scotland, the business is renowned for its warm and friendly Highland welcome. The present owners have developed the business and have gained an enviable reputation whilst offering a good standard of catering supported with a characterful bar. The property is in need of decorative upgrades and is presented as a budget accommodation which is entirely adequate for the many walkers, cyclists and game sportsmen who frequent the property. The business is presently operated on a seasonal basis and in 2016 is restricting trade to a 3 day a week service with the bunk-house being let as required on a self-catering basis.
Reason for Sale:
The present owners bought the complex in 1997 and it has offered them an enjoyable, rewarding and successful lifestyle to date. Imprinting their personalities on the business has resulted in a high degree of repeat trade and the forging of many friendships with regular guests. Approaching retirement and suffering from ill health, the vendors have reluctantly decided to sell their business. New owners could continue the existing trading model or alternatively aim to further develop the business exploiting the latent potential through developing services and provision, including the use of online advertising and booking agencies.
The Crask Inn:
The main building originates from 1815 and is stone built over two floors under a pitched slate roof with some modern flat-roof extensions. Through a vestibule, the front entrance leads into a traditional ‘L’ shaped reception area with a small reception office. To the left of the main hallway is the charming and cosy dining room with seating for 20; the service of meals is a strong income driver of the business due to its remoteness. The bar is also situated off the main hallway and with its wood-burning stove and beamed ceiling has a wonderful character. The bar is popular for lunches and evening meals and sells Black Isle Brewery beers, both keg and bottled. WCs for both gents and ladies are situated off the bar. The public areas are serviced from a compact kitchen with an extraction system. With built-in storage facilities, the kitchen is capable of a good level of food production. A spacious cellar and liquor store is situated behind the bar. The Inn has 4 letting bedrooms to sleep 7 guests (1 double, 2 twins and 1 single) plus some rooms can accommodate a temporary bed. The double and twin bedrooms benefit from basic en-suite facilities. The single room utilises a bathroom across the hall way.
The business has a separate cottage which is currently traded as a bunkhouse. This excellent facility is very popular with cyclists and walkers. The entrance is via a new vestibule which leads into a spacious lounge with a solid fuel fire. To the left of the entrance is a bedroom set to 2 bunk beds. On the first floor are a further two bedrooms that can sleep 4 guests each. To the rear of the property is a spacious kitchen with shower rooms and WCs.
The Farming Aspects:
The present owners operate a small holding with sheep and cattle over 2500 acres of servitude land. They also undertake some agricultural work. New owners may choose not to operate the farm aspects of this property depending on the sort of business model they would want to adopt.
The title grounds extend to 11 acres. The immediate garden to the rear of the Inn is laid to lawns and vegetables patches. There are other areas of cultivated ground providing vegetables. A large out-building adjacent to the main Inn is where the laundry and generator is housed. There is also a greenhouse, kennels and summerhouse to the rear of the Inn. The cottage also has an outbuilding presently used as a storage facility. There is parking within the grounds of the Inn and also roadside parking.
The business is in need of decorative upgrades and new owners may wish to improve the level of guest facilities. There is sufficient land to build a new home should new owners wish to do so.
The property utilises a generator to provide electricity, water is provided from private facilities. Drainage is to septic tanks. The Inn has LPG gas for cooking. Both properties have oil-fired hot water and heating.
The present trading pattern (2015) produces a turnover of circa £100,000 with an adjusted net profit of circa £18,000. The farming aspects of the business provide a further modest profit of circa £6,000. Where new owners were to focus on the hospitality business aspect, utilising accommodation based websites and developing a business website, profitability levels would surely increase. Full figures will be made available to interested parties subsequent to viewing.
Number of bedrooms: 1
Within the Inn the owners’ utilise a double bedroom on the first floor and retain the lounge on the ground floor for their personal use.
The Crask Inn is situated between Altnahara and Lairg on the A836 situated on one of the most popular routes for those wanting to undertake the John O’Groats to Lands End journey be they cyclists, walkers etc. Lairg is the main centre of population convenient for a range of shops and services. The area has long been a mecca for the field sports enthusiast and with an abundance of lochs and rivers providing excellent salmon and trout fishing. There are also many opportunities for shooting enthusiasts bringing in trade during the quieter trading months. Sutherland is an area rich in wildlife, home to herds of wild red deer, the otter and the Atlantic salmon amongst other species. Ornithologists are frequent visitors to the county, attracted by the golden eagle, hen harrier, peregrine falcon, short eared owl, numerous other birds of prey and both black and red grouse. Such are wildlife numbers that a sustainable cull of deer and sporting birds brings stalkers and shooters to the area, generally in the winter months. As for the tourist, there are lots of options; a day trip to Orkney is within easy reach, as are numerous sites of archaeological interest, the Castle of Mey and John O’ Groats.
Is this business home based: Yes
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