Ardmore Shepherd’s Hut

Success Story 27 February 2024

A Gen Z 23-year-old hotel worker is embarking on her own hospitality venture, after securing funding to purchase and restore a rustic shepherd’s hut on the North Coast 500.

Region/Nation Scotland
Sector Hospitality, Accommodation and Food Service Activities
Programme Start Up Loans

Set within the fishing village of Lochinver, Ardmore Shepherd’s Hut will be open to holidaymakers in the Spring. The self-catering accommodation sleeps two guests and is a modern take on the traditional horse-drawn caravans that date back to the 16th century.

Isobel Wright received a £20,000 loan from the British Business Bank’s Start Up Loans programme and Transmit Startups to acquire the unit in March 2023. She also used part of the funding to install electricity and plumbing and restore the garden with fruit trees and a vegetable patch.

Ardmore Shepherd’s Hut

Isobel discovered her passion for hospitality through working part-time in hotels while studying sociology at the University of Liverpool’s School of Law. She was also inspired by her parents who started their own bed-and-breakfast in the area, after the family relocated from Yorkshire in 2018.

Lochinver and the wider Sutherland area has been described as one of the last truly wild destinations in Europe, offering impressive mountain views, white sandy beaches, and unique wildlife. The nearby Achmelvich beach was recently shortlisted among the 50 best beaches in the world, with features likened to a Caribbean tropical paradise.

Ardmore Shepherd’s Hut has a lot to offer in terms of charm and character. After moving to Lochinver five years ago, I became very fond of the area and wanted to use my hospitality experience to create a highland escape for guests looking to stay somewhere that is a bit quirky.

The property needed a lot of love and attention, so I had to start from scratch and learn some DIY skills. I wanted to preserve its traditional features like the wood cladding and tin roof, but also incorporate modern luxuries that appeal to tourists like a double bed and ensuite shower room. My other passion in life is baking, having helped in my parents’ organic artisan bakeries in the past, so I’m eager to incorporate this into my new venture by providing a home-baking hamper to guests on arrival.

The support I received through the Start Up Loans programme and from their partner Transmit Startups was pivotal, and I would encourage other young entrepreneurs to take advantage of the various funding and mentoring opportunities that are available to kickstart their business.”

Isobel Wright Founder, Ardmore Shepherd’s Hut