Highlands & Islands

Building work begins on the first distillery on Raasay

Site of the new distillery Image copyright R&B Distillers
Image caption A Victorian hotel is being converted into a distillery and visitor centre

Construction of the first whisky distillery on the tiny Isle of Raasay has started.

R&B Distillers is turning Borodale House, a derelict Victorian hotel, into a distillery and visitor centre.

The production of the first whisky at the site could begin in April next year.

The distillery would be one of the largest employers on an island with a population of about 120 people. Raasay lies off the Isle of Skye.

R&B stands for Raasay and Borders. Co-founder Alasdair Day's great grandfather, Allan MacDonald, was from the Hebrides while his other great grandfather, Richard Day, was a master-blender in the Borders in the early 19th Century.

The company secured planning permission for the project from Highland Council in February this year.

'Bat hotel'

Borodale House has been empty since 2006 and once the work converting it is completed it will be the first legal distilling operation on an island where illicit making of whisky was once rife.

The site will have a bat boxes and a "bat hotel", providing a nesting space for the mammals in the roof of the distillery.

These are required to accommodate the UK's most north-westerly population of brown long eared bats, which were found in the vacant hotel during an environmental impact study.

Image copyright R&B Distillers
Image caption A visualisation of the new distillery

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