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Future bright for Saxa Vord

THE FUTURE looks bright for Britain’s most northerly tourist resort after its owner announced plans to inject more money into the former RAF base at Saxa Vord, on the Shetland island of Unst.

Concern was raised when Military Asset Management (MAM) announced they were putting their other site at Buchan Braes, near Peterhead, into voluntary liquidation.

Last week MAM managing director Frank Strang allayed any fears that Saxa Vord was also under threat.

Mr Strang said advance bookings for Saxa Vord were already up by around 270 per cent on last year, largely thanks to the publicity from the recent Simon King’s Shetland Diaries on BBC2.

His company had been unable to raise cash through the banks due to their current tough lending policies, so they were raising their own funds to pump into other parts of the business, including Unst.

“I am putting Buchan Braes into voluntary liquidation to free up money to reinvest into Saxa Vord and my other businesses and to free up management time,” Mr Strang said.

“You can only take on so much in this economic climate and my wife and I looked at each other and asked which one we wanted to put most of our energy into and we said Saxa Vord.”

MAM purchased the former RAF early warning station on Unst after it was closed by the Ministry of Defence in 2006. They run 20 self catering holiday houses and have a 16 bed bunkhouse, along with a restaurant and bar.

Business has steadily grown with the resort proving particularly popular with local people taking short breaks on Shetland’s northernmost isle.

With business looking extremely healthy for 2010, MAM is now looking at creating a public bar and a big indoor play area for children to enjoy when it rains outside. They also hope to install a wind powered heating system to reduce their power bills.

Local brewery Valhalla has purchased one of the buildings at the base and its owner Sonny Priest hopes to start production later this year.

Saxa Vord Resort is scheduled to open for this year’s on 23 April, while all the businesses operating at Buchan Braes will continue, including the popular four star hotel.