Ben Cruachan Inn's Story

Taste of Place Trails Stories

Tracey Peedle isn’t native to Argyll but it’s easy to see why she and husband Iain were drawn to Loch Awe, and the little village which sits beneath Ben Cruachan, the namesake of their inn, and looks out across the stunning views of Loch Awe, Scotland’s longest freshwater loch. Originally from nearby Glasgow, Tracey fell in love with Argyll, and Loch Awe in particular, on camping trips – enjoying the seclusion and scenery of the area which felt, in comparison to other parts of Scotland, like an undiscovered land of adventure, filled with hidden gems and history. It is this sense of wonder and adventure that Tracey hopes to share with visitors to Ben Cruachan Inn, whether they be passing through from further south on their way to Oban or the Isles, or visiting Loch Awe as a destination in itself.

The start of the success

Creating the much loved, award-winning Ben Cruachan Inn was not an easy task. Formerly the Tight Line Pub, the building had been boarded up for about five years and had become derelict. It was a complete regeneration project, with the building needing a lot of attention, and Tracey and Ian with their business partner Steve saw it not only as an opportunity to rejuvenate the Ben Cruachan Inn itself but to bring some life to the local area and promote Loch Awe as a visitor destination in its own right. The Ben Cruachan Inn has now been open for  five years In April and has earned a string of awards and accolades, with its restaurant being named Gastropub of the Year at last year’s Food Awards Scotland, as well as awards for green tourism and best dog-friendly hotel.

Why it’s the perfect spot

When describing where her passion for the local area comes from, Tracey says “what I liked about it was, it was a little bit undiscovered. It’s a real hidden gem but actually really close to Glasgow.” The car journey from Glasgow to Lochawe takes less than two hours, making it a perfect destination for a few nights away, or as a stop off on the way to catch a ferry over to the islands. It is also accessible by public transport, with a spectacular train journey from Glasgow Queen Street dropping you off just a hop, skip and jump from the Ben Cruachan’s bar in under two and a half hours. Then it’s up to you whether you use the inn as a base for climbing Ben Cruachan (The Ben Cruachan Inn sponsors and hosts the annual Ben Cruachan Hill Climb as part of the Oban Sportive) or one of the many other neighbouring hills, explore and take in some Argyll history or sit back, enjoy the views and sip on a local whisky, gin or beer. The train line doesn’t end at Lochawe though, making the Ben Cruachan Inn the perfect base for exploring more of Argyll by train. Why not continue the journey west to visit Oban or one of the many other picturesque stops?

Conscious choices

Tracey, Ian and Steve were keen to bring green credentials from their past careers into the development and running of the Ben Cruachan Inn. They won their Green Tourism Award from the Green Tourism Business Scheme in 2018, which certifies their work to make sustainable, ethical contributions to their community. Charging points for electric vehicles help them do this, as well as a bike repair service for visiting cyclists, and a pair of eco-pods which have been installed on the hillside above the inn.

Proud to serve up local produce

Tracey is clearly passionate about local food and drink, and talks enthusiastically about the collaborative spirit of local producers, from Fyne Ales just up the road (which they serve behind the bar at the Ben Cruachan Inn) to local meat producers. She tells me “everyone’s really passionate about it, it’s infectious. It doesn’t matter on what scale people are doing things, some are small, some are bigger, but there’s such a passion and such a will for collaboration.” On the topic of collaboration, she mentions plans they currently have to offer wildlife photography trips with a local photographer, as well as partnerships with other businesses up and down the loch. She is keen to continue to grow and develop the inn, having recently become an official venue for weddings, with events in the pipeline for the summer months and a hint at something exciting for Oktoberfest.

It becomes clear very quickly when speaking with Tracey that she has a real, deep-rooted love for Argyll and for Loch Awe, on whose banks she has chosen to build her home. Her passion isn’t just for her own business, though that is evident, but also for Argyll as a place and the other people who call it home.

Discover more about Ben Cruachan Inn and other producers as part of the Taste of Place Trails >