2018 has been a whirlwind year for the Highland Haven, with construction of the beautiful Scandinavian-inspired, bunkhouse style lodging complete, the first set of visitors greeted, and a rebrand and relaunch of their website and social media presence.
Bronagh Braidwood, the visionary behind the Haven, moved up to the North Highlands just three years ago with her partner and children, and was immediately struck by the possibilities of the area for a different kind of tourism.
Heavily inspired by the Scandinavian model of inexpensive, family-friendly, high quality accommodation, Bronagh soon set about bringing her vision to life. With renovations on her own house nearing completion, she turned her sights to a disused agricultural building on the premises which she felt had strong potential for the experience she had in mind.
Bronagh soon realised she would need some support to help make her dream a reality, and approached the North Highland Regeneration Fund (NHRF) for assistance. Working closely with Bronagh over the course of a year, the NHRF team helped her put together a business plan and secure the finance she required.
Thanks to support from Dounreay Site Restoration Ltd and the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority, Bronagh was also able to get advice and guidance from the Caithness Chamber of Commerce team as part of their business support programme.
With the support of the team, Bronagh was able to put together a concrete plan of action and secure the £50,000 funding she required to finish renovations and outfit the interior of the Haven. She was also able to successfully apply to the Caithness Business Fund for support to construct bespoke bunk pods, an integral part of her vision for the Haven.
With the end of the 2018 tourist season now in sight, The Haven’s unique take on accommodation has already proven to be a great hit with tourists. Offering a cosy, welcoming space for individuals, groups and business travellers, along with a bespoke and friendly offering, The Haven has received rave reviews from guests.
Visitors have welcomed the opportunity to disconnect from the hustle and bustle of modern life, explore the beautiful surroundings and stunning coastal walks, and enjoy home-cooked, locally-sourced vegetarian meals.
Not content to rest on her laurels, Bronagh already has ambitious plans for 2019. The mentoring support she has received from one of NHRF’s directors, Dr. Keith Nicholson, along with the valuable feedback from her first visitors, has given her plenty to work with to improve The Highland Haven’s already superlative offering.
This article is from the November copy of the Executive Magazine, you can read it in full here.