Cairn O’ Mount bar at the Forbes of Kengennie Country Resort just outside of Dundee, has just had a complete refurbishment and officially re-launched in mid February. The bar, which also includes a large outside veranda, is the hub of the resort. Also features the Waterside restaurant, an Events Hall, fishery, 14 lodges and a 9-hole golf course.
Before we move on to the look of the new bar it is worth giving you a bit of background on Kengennie itself, which is owned by the Forbes family. Last year they celebrated 20 years in business, and it truly is a family business with husband and wife team Michael and Gail, and daughter Libby driving the development of the resort.
Libby explains, “ My grandfather originally bought the farm in 1966, but it was my father Mike who created Kingennie. His passion was fishing, and he was a top class Fly Fishing champion. He decided to convert an overgrown corner of the farm into a fishery and three self-catering lodges, which opened in 1995 originally as Kingennie Fishings with the old boathouse, which had been there since 1855, renovated into a fishing shop.
Today the fishery creates a fabulous backdrop for the resort, the original boathouse called The Leannan Boathouse (Gaelic for Sweetheart) is a sumptuous honeymoon lodge, a further 10 lodges have been built, and a 9 hole golf course, as well as offering conference and wedding facilities.
However says Libby, “My dad is still a farmer and we get much of our produce from our family farm, Omachie. This includes pork, fruit, vegetables and free-range eggs from my brother Cammie, with other butchery sourced from family member Bel Forbes’ Butchers in Edzell.”
Libby continues, “There are two key advantages of being a family business, one is that my dad listens to my ideas and lets me act on them, and two I get to see and work with my family, and we do all work very well together.”
It’s Libby’s vision that has formed the basis for the new bar. She says, “I wanted to create a contemporary bar which had the feel of a country pub. Initially the bar here was small and it wasn’t a practical size, it also had small windows which didn’t make the best of the view.”
The old wooden semi-circular bar has been converted into a square stone bar, with the stone from Denfind Stone in Monikie. It also boasts a sleek black top. A half wall has been removed completely to create an open and airy space, complimented by feature windows and a concertina door from Esk Glazing. The wine rack is also made out of silver birch logs by Lamin8, also in Monikie.
It also boasts an impressive free standing wood burning stove, four comfy, rich red chesterfield leather booths, the largest seats (10/12 people), bespoke lampshades that feature maps of the local area made by Love Lampshades in Stirling, and curtains and chairs featuring Harris tweed made by Donald John MacKay, who also supplies Nike, Ralph Lauren and Chanel – all from a modest tin shed behind his house on the Isle of Harris. Says Libby, “Originally my dad actually went to Harris and brought back a roll of Donald’s tweed, now I call up to re-order.”
The tables have a rustic look, and the slates on the floor are another feature, alongside exposed stone walls. The high domed wooden ceiling was an original feature, but it comes into its own now that the space is all one.
The new windows allowing an unfettered view of the fishery and surround countryside and golf course. A stylish outside lounge area is also being developed and is due for completion shortly. It will also boast some contemporary outdoor furniture, a new canopy and a large bespoke fire. Says Libby, “We are just waiting for it to arrive.”
The new bar has opened in plenty of time for the wedding season – more than 100 weddings a year take place at Kingennie, with its function suite benefitting from a new bar last year, and prior to that it was extended out over the water. It really is a spectacular location. Brides can also have their wedding ceremony in the Buddon Burn ceremony building, which opened in April 2014.
So what next for the family business? Says Libby, “Amongst other plans, we are currently looking at re-vamping our Woodland Lodges”.
Libby concludes, “When people come, they can expect a warm Scottish welcome from our blazing fire in the wonderful and rustic countryside setting, where the inside of the bar compliments the outside Scottish rural location. I think it is quirky and modern yet comforting and homely.”