Banks of Orkney is a unique business opportunity within a stunning coastal setting giving rise to dramatic scenery over the Pentland Firth. Situated on South Ronaldsay within the Orkney Isles, this is a popular destination especially within the tourist season which runs from Easter to October annually. This vast property is set upon around 3 acres of land and has an eclectic mix of property marrying together traditional buildings with the modern glass façade (known as curtain walling) restaurant offering full length views to 180o across the Pentland Firth. Within the site is also a 5000 year old Neolithic burial mound (Tomb of the Otters) which adds a further element of historical charm to the sale.
This unique business has undoubted appeal and attracts a consistently steady throughput of visitors. Its distinctive appeal is generated by a number of the exclusive features which include a stunning restaurant (Skerries Bistro) and the Tomb of the Otters. Coupled to this are the 3 self-catering units and together they form a most desirable business opportunity. The business generates income from multiple sources; the rental of the holiday cottages, food and drink sales through the restaurant provision and from conducting paid tours to the chambers within the tomb.
The trading elements benefit from a fine reputation. The Skerries Bistro provides an outstanding selection of menu items focussing heavily on the freshly prepared items utilising local produce where possible. With on-site smoked locally sourced fish plus the addition of freshly acquired shell fish the quality of cuisine provides a true flavour of the Island making it a true destination dining option. The restaurant is popular with both visitors and locals opening from Monday to Friday; 12 Midday to 4 p.m. providing a lunch and snack menu, and from 6 pm – 8 pm providing dinners. Many who visit the Islands come to The Tomb of the Otters which has only been discovered since 2010. This ancient burial site has produced a wealth of information and is still being reviewed scientifically to assess what further light can be thrown on the cultures that occupied Orkney in 3000bc. The three holiday letting units provide comfortable accommodation and comprise of two 1-bedroom units and one 2-bedroom unit.
The present owners operate with the support of a full team of staff who in the main assist with the restaurant operation. The vendors assist with the broader management aspects of the business and undertake the tours of the Tomb of the Otters. There is undoubted opportunity to drive the business to the next level should owners wish to do so. There is the capacity to develop the site further subject to planning consents. In addition to the excellent trading facilities, the sale comes complete with a three bedroom house which has plenty of scope to offer further income generating potential as it has three en-suite rooms.
REASON FOR SELLING
Owned and operated by our clients since 2005 Banks of Orkney has provided a quality of life that many can only dream of. The business presents a profitable and sustainable trading proposition plus a comfortable home. It is the vendors desire to retire that they now reluctantly bring the property onto the market.
Banks of Orkney is found in the south of the beautiful Orkney Islands which is home to around 19,000 people. It is situated about 8 miles from St Margret’s Hope which is the landing point for the short car ferry crossing from the mainland. Kirkwall is the Islands main town and is some 22 miles to the north. The welcoming community of the Orkneys is supported by well-established infrastructure and social facilities locally. There are excellent sports facilities and leisure facilities. The standard of education in Orkney is also extremely high with Kirkwall Grammar being recognized as one of the best in the Country. Kirkwall is a major administrative and communications centre with Ferry Services to Aberdeen and Lerwick. Orkney has a strong history encompassing pre-history, Pictish and Viking heritage which is reflected in the many places of interest to visit. The Islanders enjoy an enviable quality of life, amidst stunning and varied scenery, all bounded by the ever-changing sea. Besides abundant wildlife, Orkney holds possibly the greatest concentration of archaeology in NW Europe, including the unique Neolithic village of Scara Brae, and the group of sites clustered around the Ring of Brodgar, and known as Orkney’s Neolithic Heartland, which was granted World Heritage status by UNESCO in 1999. Visitors can also enjoy the vibrant contemporary culture and a wide range of activities including excellent fishing, bird watching, golf, climbing, walking and sailing, though many enjoy the peaceful ambience of the islands.
The original aspects of Banks of Orkney (not including the Neolithic tomb) dates from the early 1900s and extends to around 3 acres. The house and cottages are of stone construction under a slate roof; the house and the 2 bedroom cottage are set over two floors; the two 1-bedroom cottages are single storey. All areas are well presented projecting an all-round excellent proposition in a tremendous location. This is truly a one-off business opportunity which will generate a high level of interest.
The Skerries Bistro is a unique property which is of modern modular construction by portakabin. Access is via a decking ramp from the car park which has 4 tables to seat 16 customers providing alfresco dining in the warmer weather. This most impressive glass curtain walled facility enables guests to take full advantage of the expansive vistas offering full length views from three aspects towards the cliffs and sea. The property extends to around 165m2 and is fitted out to a high specification. The building is configured to a customer area set to the seaward elevation which forms an ‘L’ shape accommodating up to 40 guests. The quality of the free-standing furnishings is of a very high standard. In addition, there is a distinctive dining pod to the front of the building which can comfortably seat 8 guests. The restaurant has a most attractive bar servery which is well-appointed with fridges and other general modern equipment. There are excellent ladies, gents and disabled washrooms which also have baby changing facilities. Within the building is a large room which is used as the tour centre for visitors to the Tomb of the Otters. Within the tour centre is a CCTV link to the Tomb plus a range of information sheets.
The restaurant has excellent service facilities with a well-equipped commercial kitchen with additional preparation and pot-wash areas. There are spacious storage facilities including fridge and freezer storage area plus a staff W.C. The property has a mix of electric heaters and an air-to-air heating system.
TOMB OF THE OTTERS
This 5,000-year-old burial site was uncovered in 2010, quite by accident and became significant as an archaeological site. Partial excavation of the site, called Banks Tomb, has confirmed it as the first undisturbed Neolithic burial to be unearthed in Scotland in some 30 years, and is very well preserved.
The underground grave consists of a 4- by 0.75-meter (13- by 2.5-foot) central chamber surrounded by four smaller cells hewn from sandstone bedrock. Capping the central chamber are large water-worn slabs supported by stone walls and pillars. Layers of silt divide the remains, suggesting the tomb was in use for many generations, the site has also been dubbed the Tomb of the Otters, because initial excavations revealed prehistoric otter bones etc. Tours are run daily in the main season from 10:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. Further details of the site can be found on the websites below.
The letting accommodation within the sale comprises of 3 units as detailed below. All three are well-presented with a good range of facilities. The décor throughout is of a good standard. The former steading buildings are configured in an ‘L’ shape around an area of garden which offers external seating in a pleasant area.
Banks Barn - This 4-Star (STB) 2 bedroom accommodation units is a charming stone built property. One of the bedrooms is located on the ground floor, being suitable for less abled guests. This bedroom has views to the rolling Meadows and has a walk-in shower room adjacent to it. The second bedroom is on the first floor and offers excellent seaward views. This room is configured to a double (zip and link) and single bed and has an en-suite shower room. Banks Barn can comfortably sleep 5 guests. The communal area is a lounge dining room which is well-furnished and pleasantly decorated. A separate kitchen has all the facilities that a holiday maker would reasonably require. The building has under floor heating which is supplemented by electric heaters.
Seaview and Seal Cottages - These two cottages have been awarded a 3-Star (STB) accreditation. This semi-detached cottage is configured to a double bedroom, shower room and open plan kitchen/dining /lounge area. Seal Cottage has views over the farm land and Seaview overlooks the Pentland Firth. Both units can accommodate 2 people.
An attractive aspect of this sale is the spacious owner’s accommodation. The house has a spacious kitchen / dining room, a charming lounge with stone feature fire place plus 3 double bedrooms which are all en-suite. The family kitchen is fitted with modern floor and wall-mounted units. To the rear aspects of the property is a further commercial kitchen; this is used to support food preparation for Skerries Bistro. However it also used to provide the food for the previous restaurant which was located in the conservatory at the rear of the house, now only used as a store at this time. This under-utilised area could be used either for personal benefit or for a business development aspect. As a restaurant this area could seat up to 20 and has a small yet attractive bar. It would make an ideal art studio / shop or a small historic centre showing the history of the Tomb of the Otters. Off the conservator are ladies and gents washrooms. There is also a private W.C. in the main house off the hallway. The house has ample storage with a pantry to the rear of the kitchen and other store cupboards.
Banks of Orkney is set with ample car parking and has an attractive pond. The site extends to about 3 acres with much of the ground possessing some development potential subject to planning. There is external storage plus there is a small smoke house for smoking fish etc.
The business benefits from mains electricity and water with private drainage. LPG gas for cooking. The house benefits from oil-fired central heating for the first floor and underfloor heating in parts of the ground floor.
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