There are many milestones in building a brand new distillery, the first (legal) one a small picturesque inner Hebridean island will see. One of the most significant and, for us, most anticipated has just come our way.
Our Isle of Raasay Distillery planning permission has been approved!
On Tuesday 9th February 2016, the Highlands Council confirmed approval for our conversion of Victorian Borodale House on Raasay into a distillery, visitor centre, and five members’ accommodation rooms.
The process has been a long one, as is the nature of whisky production. Our pre-planning application found us surveying for protected species across the summer, before submitting our final planning application in November.
You may remember Olli the otter, the elusive Raasay vole, and most significantly the hundreds of bats in the roof of Borodale House that attracted frequent visits from our very own Batman.
Just in time for Halloween we were able to confirm that according to Scottish National Heritage this colony in the roof included not only the first recorded Brown Long Eared bats on Raasay, but the furthest North West population in the UK!
Needless to say, we’re delighted to add yet another thing of uncommon nature to our distillery story.
The people of Raasay are integral to our distillery journey. It is of the utmost importance to us that those who will live alongside it are happy with how our plans will progress. In October we held a community meeting along with our architect Olli from ABIR Architects to answer any questions about our plans. We’re happy to say it went well!
Now with our planning approval underway, we can start to think about literally breaking new ground with our distillery build, turning the first soil.
Winter in the Hebridean islands of Scotland is not the best time to begin a build, we admit. The wild, rugged weather has a mind of its own but as the Scottish proverb goes, “Today’s rain is tomorrow’s whisky”, so we don’t mind.
It does mean, however, that construction of The Isle of Raasay Distillery will begin around April 2016 to see us in production early 2017 – only a little while longer to wait!