There are two ways to reach Inverie, a small village on the northwestern reaches of Scotland’s Knoydart peninsula. Most arrive by ferry, a six-mile trip from the port-town of Mallaig. The rest arrive by foot, on a fabled, three-day “walk-in” through the Rough Bounds, the last reach of the Scottish Highlands before they collide with the sea. For decades, visitors have braved the harsh elements in search of good craic and better beer in little Inverie — and especially at The Old Forge, which has long held the title of Europe’s least accessible tavern.
However, as Oliver Smith, a freelance travel writer for Outside recently reported, The Old Forge is at an institutional crossroads, and increasingly at odds with locals. It was purchased by a Belgian landlord named Jean-Pierre Robinet in 2012. In the years since, Robinet has emphasized cuisine, tried to move the establishment away from its swashbuckling reputation, and closed down The Old Forge each winter (to care for his dad in Belgium). The changes haven’t sat well with the 100-some-odd locals, or travelers who complete the trek out.
Thankfully, there are more places to grab a post-walk-in pint these days. Knoydart Brewery recently opened in a 136-year-old, deconsecrated chapel, and uses the area’s pristine water supply to make lagers, blondes and pales ales. Meanwhile, in the center of town, locals have built a makeshift protest shack of sorts, called The Table; it’s just three walls, a fire pit, a disco ball, and a speaker. It’s BYOB, and everyone, especially travelers, are welcome. Until The Old Forge rediscovers its wayward ways, this is the place to relax your bones in Inverie.
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