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Re: Glen Isla, it's happened again

Hi Louise. I wasn't suggesting that Challengers (in a backpacking event!) should shoulder the heavy burden of the scottish hotelier. Just that these remoter places are pretty much doomed by the changing nature of the modern tourist - motorhomes, self catering, glamping etc. So we shouldn't be surprised when "it's happened again".

Some, like the Clova, have adapted by providing self catering lodges and an upmarket bunkhouse. Others are stuck with 70s decor & facilities, the cost of upgrading far exceeding any possible return from a diminishing clientele.

They'll need to sell a lot of beer & fish suppers to keep going!

Re: Glen Isla, it's happened again

I don't think the problems at the Glen Isla were due to lack of patronage, it has the advantage of being quite close to a large urban population and benefits from things like being close to Glen Shee ski resort, the pony trekking and the Cateran Trail. A far better position than a lot of the old hotels & lodges at the end of some glen somewhere. The first closure was by all accounts caused by a bust-up between the couple managing it. The owner obviously thought that there was enough potential to justify the investment. It would seem that again there has been some kind of failure in the absent owner and investor/ local management setup. It would appear that he has come to the conclusion that it is a model that doesn't work.

I can't disagree with Phil's sentiments in general but places like Glen Isla, Glen Clova & Braemar all show that there are people who believe that there is a future in highland hotels & catering, but only in places that have easy access and attraction to the mass market.

A year ago my wife and I stayed in a cluster of cabins near Ullapool. They were being renovated one by one by a couple who had bought them in a derilict condition. They told me that because of the success of the NC500, they were always at 100% capacity with people always turning up on spec. That is, to me, obviously the key to success for a lot of these places, they need to intigrate with activities that bring the punters in, there has always been hiking, birdwatching, fishing etc but these days there are other activities that could bring folks in from cross country skiing courses, MTB, triathlons etc. Even the bloody windfarms have fans (no pun intended). You only have to look at the success of the West Highland Way and the hotels who do baggage transfer services etc.

There will always be a customer base of folks who just want to go somewhere quiet, have a nice meal and a dram before retiring to bed, looking forward a a good hike around the local area the next day, I must admit to often being in that demographic myself, but it isn't where the biggest potential customer base is these days.

It is a real balancing act, I would hate thate the highlands all ended up looking like Fort Bill or Aviemore, but the peaceful quiet places are always going to struggle, simply because they are peaceful & quiet.

Just my two cents worth....

Re: Glen Isla, it's happened again

Phil, I didn't mean it that way, my point was really that a solo traveller at any time could be put off by the price of single occupation of a room. I certainly am.

Re: Glen Isla, it's happened again

Now on my fourth crossing we have learned to resupply and take every advantage of local resources. I would say we are almost equal in our wild camp nights to hotels or B&B's so I have spent lots of time researching rural accommodations. It certainly adds to the adventure and makes the experience more "real" immersing yourself in the culture of the place you visit. However I will say that while we have never found anything but delightful people when we arrive, once you get outside the city centers of Scotland communication can be lacking. Whether it is answering the phone or especially returning emails. If you have a social media presence you should be responding to social media requests, and if you have an email address for your business you should be monitoring it and returning messages. It has been a struggle sometimes to get rooms booked and questions answered from a distance. This has been true more so for resources like restaurants/pubs and food stores. I am sure this has not helped in some cases business' growing, staying booked, or even staying in business. Nothing that will keep us from coming back! :heart_eyes: