Located in the untamed wilderness of the Scottish Highlands there lays Oykel Bridge Hotel, a former fishing lodge it is every bit the rugged, handsome hotel a visitor to the Highlands would want.
As part of a larger divestment which included fishing rights, netting rights and stalking, the hotel was sold last year by the Estate.
With the complex inter-related transaction now complete the future of the hotel and the management of the nearby river have been secured.
Anta Architecture were selected to take the project forward and Stuart MacKellar, Project Architect for the development, said:
“For us the development is important as it is about trying to breathe life into another Highland hotel, there’s only so many left which makes preserving what we have all the more important.”
In terms of the works required, Stuart added:
“The hotel is made up from four sections, the original lodge, a 50-year-old extension which houses most of the bedrooms, a small cottage and staff accommodation. They’re all quite tired and so we looked at several options ranging from complete redevelopment, which is still the overall ambition, to what we have now achieved, which is a restoration to get the facilities up to modern standards.
“Being a seasonal fishing hotel that is closed between October and March, there is only a small window of opportunity to make any changes.
“Since starting in November we have refurbished all 16 bedrooms, the cottage which is now the manager’s accommodation and the staff bedrooms. The majority of budget has however been spent on installing a biomass boiler and re-doing all the existing heating to make it much more energy efficient.
“We’ve been lucky enough not to stumble across any major problems, with it being of an age there are some inevitable issues like leaky windows, plaster repairs, ceiling repairs and floor repairs.
“Once this phase has been completed in the next few weeks, there are plans to do more works in the next close season. We plan to extend and develop the hotel by using natural and local materials and local craftsmen. It will have a real Highland lodge kind of feel about it.”
In keeping with the age of the building a lot of traditional materials have been used, some homely touches have also been added with thick carpet cladding all the floors-perfect for that warm night-in in the wilderness.
In addition to being a great location for fishing the Oykel Bridge Hotel is also within reach of many picturesque sites.
Views to the west towards Ullapool and The Summer Isles have got to be seen to be believed and to the North there is Durness, Wick, Tongue, John ‘O’Groats – all boasting Pure white sands of deserted beaches. To gain the true spectacle of the area a leisurely drive round is a true delight on the quiet roads of Sutherland.
For more information please visit: www.oykelbridgehotel.com.
Richard Mackenzie ltd
Family-run-business Richard Mackenzie ltd has gone from strength to strength since its foundation some 28 years ago.
Running three to four contacts at a time, the company now employs 12 people and also consistently offers apprenticeships to young people in the Ross-shire area.
Most recently the firm carried out joinery works on the refurbishment of Oykel Bridge Hotel. Speaking about the development, Director, Richard Mackenzie said:
“Considering the location and nature of the works I believe the development ran smoothly and went well. I would like to thank the owners of the Oykel Bridge Hotel for the business and wish them well with their new adventure.”
When asked what the company prides itself on, Richard added:
“We welcome the opportunity to work alongside new clients and we are committed to developing their requirements, producing quality work at a competitive price.”