Top restaurant for sale, love of wilderness essential
Monday 16 September 2002
A restaurant so remote it can only be reached by boat or a two-day hike through wild countryside is being put up for sale. The Doune Dining Room, on the Knoydart peninsula on the west coast of Scotland, was converted from a derelict crofting cottage 20 years ago by Alan and Mary Robinson.
Having established it as one of Scotland's leading seafood restaurants, the couple, now in their 60s, are planning to retire. The restaurant, which comes with three bedrooms, two adjacent plots of land, a powerboat and stunning views of the Isle of Skye, has been put on the market for £300,000.
The Robinsons, who previously owned a shipbuilding business, moved to Scotland from Cornwall in 1982 after spotting the cottage from their yacht. Their two children, Toby and Jamie, who were 11 and 12 at the time, have since settled on the peninsula and started families of their own.
Mrs Robinson said: "It's the remote situation which is the make or the break of it. Whoever came in would have to love the place and want to live here.
"We are only accessible by sea, you can't drive here at all. There is a public road from Mallaig to Inverie, but that doesn't come down here. If you just wanted to run an extremely profitable and effective restaurant, you'd be better off in the centre of Edinburgh."
Mrs Robinson said the most memorable times were just after they arrived at the abandoned croft. "When we came here the place was just a ruined crofter's cottage with no roof and four walls that came up to about head height," she said.
"Alan and I were camping here and we would sit on the beach, covered in concrete because we'd been working, and go out and pull up a crab or a lobster pot and have it fresh for lunch. It was really very enjoyable and satisfying, putting a roof over our own heads."
The Robinsons have also said they would be prepared to hold on to one of the two plots of land if the buyer wanted to concentrate on the restaurant.
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