History of the Holly Tree Hotel
The Holly Tree Hotel, previously known as the Old Station, has an interesting history tied to the railway line and the decisions made by Dr Beeching in the mid-1960s. Originally, The Holly Tree was Kentallen railway station, situated on the Oban to Ballachulish railway line, which opened in 1903. During the early 20th century, a steamer service operated between Oban and Fort William, with Kentallen being one of the stops depending on tides and demand. However, in the 1960s, Dr Beeching, the first chairman of the British Railways Board, conducted a review of the country's rail networks. In his report, he recommended the closure of around two thousand rural stations, including Kentallen and several others along the Oban - Ballachulish line.
As a result of Dr Beeching's recommendations, the entire railway line between Ballachulish and Oban, including all the stations, was closed in 1965. Following the closure, the station and its railway equipment were sold off. In the 1970s, the station was transformed into a tearoom and later expanded into a small hotel. Over time, additional features such as more bedrooms, self-catering waterfront lodges, a swimming pool, hot tub, and a sea-view drinks terrace were added to the hotel. There is now even a beer garden and a pontoon added to the pier! Despite the changes, remnants of the station's railway history can still be seen, including the original railway pier. It is worth noting that if Dr Beeching had not made his proposals to close down the railway line and stations, The Holly Tree Hotel might not exist today! For more information click here.