Andy & Sue Keen have run Torlinnhe Guest House for the last ten seasons. We previously ran an IT company that specialised in front desk systems for hotels as well more general accounting software. In 2002 we decided to de-stress our lives and sold the company. Andy did consultancy work for a while and Sue went back to full time education to study tourism. Over the years we had spent many happy holidays in the west of Scotland and could think of no finer place to live and work. In 2008 we put our combined expertise into an exciting new project! We decided to buy and run a bed and breakfast in Fort William on the beautiful West Coast.
Torlinnhe, Our Home
Torlinnhe was built as a Guest House in the 1970s. With no ensuite facilities, full length mirrored wardrobes in every room and a notable collection of dolls in the massive lounge window it was “of its time”. It was a ‘bit of a project’ when we moved in and for the first three months was reminiscent of a building site. However, we welcomed our first guests in June 2008. We imagined our first guests arriving with ourselves as the very model of hospitable hosts. The reality was a little different. Our very first guests arrived one day early! We were still hard at work painting the guest lounge and the hallway looked like a war zone with packing cases stacked everywhere.
Since then we have welcomed many guests to our home in Fort William. Visitors come to the West Coast of Scotland from all over the world, from China, Australia, New Zealand, to Europe, USA, Brazil, the Caribbean and everyplace in between. It is always fascinating to chat to guests over a cup of tea or coffee and biscuits in the lounge, find out a little about them, to help with any plans they have or simply to advise on suitable local restaurants and facilities.
Over the years we have explored many areas of Scotland on our holidays and we are always delighted to share our enthusiasm and knowledge with our guests. The Things to Do page on our website includes many of our favourite activities in the Fort William and Lochaber area.
Our environmental policy
We recognise that our business can have a direct or indirect effect on the local, regional and global environment. We are committed to working in a practical and sustainable way to reduce any harmful effects our operations may have. In this way we hope to meet the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs. We try to do our bit without it affecting the experience that you have while staying with us.
Since purchasing Torlinnhe in February 2008 we have carried out a number of significant improvements to the building and its facilities to reduce pollution, emissions and waste. Behind the scenes we are continuously striving to reduce our use of energy, water and other resources. Many small things which we hope will have a major effect in the collective impact our very welcome visitors have environmentally, socially and economically.
These are some of the things we have done so far:
- We have significantly increased the insulation of the building underfloor, in the walls and in the roof.
- LED light bulbs and low energy fittings have been installed wherever possible.
- A wood pellet boiler has been fitted in the lounge and plumbed into the central heating system. We use this to reduce oil usage when it is cold outside.
- The heated towel warmer in your shower room is operated from the timer switch next to the shower room light switch. This means the towel rail cannot be left on needlessly or accidentally for long periods of time.
- The extractor fans in our shower rooms are automatically activated via a sensor which detects movement. This way, we minimise power usage if guests accidently leave the room with the light on. To ensure it does not sense movement in the main bedroom you may wish to keep the shower room door closed.
- The organic hand soap, body wash and shampoo we provide are from The Highland Soap Company based in Fort William. HSC have a shop with some lovely products in the High Street and another in Spean Bridge next to the Woollen Mill. Well worth a visit to buy gifts or to treat yourself!
- Our Oak bedroom furniture and dining chairs were all produced from sustainable forests.
- We use Ecover products for cleaning along with E-cloths to reduce our dependency on harmful chemicals.
- Paper, cardboard, glass, cans, juice cartons and where possible plastics are recycled. Please help us to recycle by separating your glass, paper, cardboard, cans and plastics from general rubbish.
- All our kitchen and laundry appliances are A rated or better for minimal energy consumption
- All our toilets are dual flush to save water.
- Our car is a hybrid electric/petrol Mitsubishi Outlander. It is particularly good for lots of short journeys. If you would like a lift into town for dinner (before 7.30pm) please just ask us.
- We have installed a 7kw 32amp type 2 car charger unit which is available for guest use. Just bring your own cable to make sure it is compatible with your car.
There are simple ways you can help too:
- We give our guests the option to dry and re-use their towels. Doing so saves energy, water and washing detergent.
- We ask you, our guests, to help by turning off lights, the TV, DVD player. Please also ensure you switch off any other electrical equipment you may bring with you when you go out for the day.
- We also ask you to ensure you turn off the taps when not in use. Yes, we know we are in just about the wettest place in the UK but all our water is treated to ensure it is safe to drink straight from the tap in your room. If we all reduce the amount of water we use, we also reduce the amount of chemicals used to treat the water and to dispose of it.
Our accessibility policy
Unfortunately, Torlinnhe was built in the 1970s and our six bedrooms are all up one flight of stairs. There is no space to install a lift. Our front door is reached by three external steps from the car park. As a result of the unavoidable steps we are unable to accommodate guests who require wheel chairs or who cannot manage the stairs.
We are very happy to cater for special diets wherever possible. Please contact us in advance of your arrival by email or telephone. We are not always able to source appropriate ingredients within the local area but will try to get the most appropriate options available.
At Torlinnhe we will always do whatever we can to ensure our guests comfort and safety but as a small B&B, we are sorry we are unable to provide special facilities for those with significant disabilities.
Our fire policy and fire risk assessment
Our Fire Risk Assessment is regularly updated. All our guest bedrooms have a notice indicating what you should do in the event of a fire in the building. Please study the notice and always follow these instructions should you find a fire or hear the fire alarm ringing within the premises. We operate a full linked fire sensing and alarm system within Torlinnhe. The system is regularly tested and professionally maintained. It covers all areas of the building both public and private. Fire extinguishers are located appropriately throughout the building and again these are professionally tested and maintained.
We source locally
We always try to purchase locally if we can. Supporting local businesses helps our local economy and maintains our local communities. Torlinnhe is accredited with VisitScotland’s ‘Taste Our Best’ award. This means that wherever possible we source quality ingredients of Scottish provenance. We strive for sustainability, source food locally where possible and we try to keep food miles to a minimum. If you want to know more about what you are eating, including any allergy information, please ask us.
- Pork Sausages – from John MacMillan, our local butcher in Fort William.
- Black Pudding – from Charles McLeod in Stornoway. Won the Great Taste Gold award in 2012
- Free Range Eggs
- Haggis – from Macsween of Edinburgh. Won the Great Taste Gold award in 2013
- Vegetarian Haggis – from Macsween of Edinburgh
- Potato Scones – Mortons, Glasgow
- Scott’s Porage Oats – Cupar in Fife
- Blossom Honey – J. E. Taylor, Inver near Dunkeld. Used in Breakfast Cranachan and homemade granola.
- Smoked Salmon & Oatcakes – always Scottish!
- Raspberries – from Tayside when available