The excitement is building at the Feughside Inn, as preparations for the re-opening of the historic venue tomorrow ( Friday) are in full swing.
Owners Donald and Catherine Callander, originally from Kyle of Lochalsh, are living through what they described as ‘organised chaos’ as electricians, plumbers and decorators work round-the-clock on refurbishing every room of the hotel.
Before the hotel is ready, there is the not insignificant matter of the re-opening of the bar and restaurant, fully booked by expectant locals.
Despite these stresses, however, Catherine told us: “It will definitely be all right on the night!”
The 17th-century inn, first opened in 1644, took the couple almost two years to finally acquire.
Catherine explained: “As my husband will tell you, I’m like a dog with a bone when I set my mind on something!”
Catherine and Donald originally ran a west coast bed and breakfast, the Seadrift, before deciding on a move to the North-east to be closer to their daughter, who lives in Alford.
After visiting several prospective properties and small hotels in Aberdeenshire, the couple fell for the Feughside Inn and set about the long process of turning their dream into reality and making it their own.
After such a long and hectic spell, and with the restaurant fully booked for both the opening Friday and Saturday, the warmth of the welcome they have received has truly amazed Catherine.
She explained: “We can’t believe how welcome we’ve been made - it really has been unbelievable. We’ve been overwhelmed by the level of local support for what we are doing and how friendly everyone has been to us.
“For instance, we were invited to the Burns Supper at Finzean Hall, which was a great night, and we were given a wonderful reception.
“It was also great to be able to put faces to some of the names of people who have been in touch and sent messages.
‘‘Our daughter set up the Feughside Inn Facebook page and within 48 hours we had 1000 likes! And now, a couple of weeks later, we’re sitting at nearly 2000 likes.”
The centuries-old watering hole, at Strachan, is a real local institution and will open its doors for the first time since 2013.
Such has been the level of support, and realising the popular status of ‘Whitey’s,’ Catherine joked: “If we ever decide to close this bar down we’d have to leave in the middle of the night!”
To find out more visit www.feughsideinn.co.uk or call 01330 850225 or 07876493999.