The Old Inn was once a changehouse. Changehouses were situated at places such as bridges and crossroads. Sometimes they acted as tollhouses but probably in Gairloch they were the places where horses were rested and changed. They were also early lodging houses or inns. Most travel was on horseback or by carriage and, therefore, many inns had stables. These buildings were built on the old Gairloch road which can still be followed as a rough track through Kerrysdale and onto the main road further south.

The Old Inn’s original name was the Kentail Change House Tigh Osda Chean An T-Sail and the bay was named Ob Ceann an T’Sàle, with various spellings, and translates as ‘end of the salt water bay’ It was built around 1792. and was constructed by the Gairloch estate when Sir Hector Mackenzie was the 11th laird.


David Mackintosh took over as innkeeper in 1851. He improved the building and on August 8th 1851 sent in an article to the Inverness Advertiser.

‘…..begs to intimate that the House has been newly papered, painted and otherwise genteely and suitably fitted up for the superior accommodation of tourists and the Public, to whose comfort and convenience every attention will be paid.’

When Dixon was writing his book Gairloch and Guide to Loch Maree in the 1880s, the Gairloch Inn was the Post Office and he mentions that the road leading to Flowerdale House and the farm was a private one. He wrote that there was a daily post from Achnasheen to Gairloch with a Mr. M’Iver’s mail-car carrying the post. He also mentioned the telegraph service as a supplemental wire had been set up to Gairloch so that telegrams could be ‘regularly transmitted.’