PRESS RELEASE: GLM breaks the mould at John O’ Groats

Posted by on Aug 25, 2012 in Press

PRESS RELEASE:  GLM breaks the mould at John O’ Groats



Issued: 25 August 2012

For Immediate Release



Breaking the mould at John O’ Groats and transforming a rundown tourist destination by using flexible procurement strategies, GLM has handed over the first phase of the ambitious redevelopment of John O’ Groats to client Natural Retreats.  With Phase I of the development comprising of 23 luxury holiday residences, a completely remodelled co-operative cafe and shop as well as a high end outdoor lifestyle shop and activities hub, GLM successfully delivered a brilliant mixture of innovative design, traditional procurement and resourceful construction management with a concentration on the use of local labour.

With the aim of bringing the world-renowned site of John O’ Groats back to its former glory, the development will be underpinned by strong sustainable principles including the use of locally sourced materials and trades, green build techniques and local contractors, in a highly efficient development programme.

“Working within the client’s timescale, which required the first phase to be completed in 9 months, was only possible because we were able to control every detail of every aspect of the design and supply chain,” says Project Manager Ian McKee of GLM. “I was delighted by the capability of the local labour force and their willingness to take maximum advantage of the mild weather and long summer days typical of Caithness.”

Design work commenced in May 2011 with a focus on the use of locally sourced materials and trades, green build techniques and local contractors.  Manchester based interior design firm NoChintz provided design direction and full FF&E provision for the luxury self-catering residences, Storehouse and Outfitters.

Phase II, the complete refurbishment and major extension of the previously-disused Scottish baronial John O’Groats Hotel, will bring an additional 16 seaside holiday apartments to the mix in spring 2013.


23 Self Catering Holiday Units: Highly sustainable in nature, the holiday residences, which feature sedum roofs and wood burning stoves, have been designed to fit into the local ecology and energising landscape.  From the highly insulated and stylish interiors that require little energy to heat, the visitor looks out through huge glass doors onto big skies above distant horizons.

The Storehouse: In a remarkable transformation, the utilitarian Journey’s End Café at John O’ Groats, is now completely unrecognisable following GLM’s design metamorphosis. Never losing sight of the commercial imperatives, GLM transformed the existing building into what at first sight might appear to be an entirely new building. Working hard to promote and support sustainability in the local economy, the Storehouse is a combination of a fully licenced café and a co-operative based shop selling produce and goods from local businesses including Old Pulteney Single Malt Scotch Whisky, freshly baked bread and speciality cheese. This new establishment adds a completely new dimension to the John O’Groats experience.

The OutfittersNestled at the scenic, most northerly tip of Scotland sat the former, Last House.  GLM converted this former museum and shop into an upmarket retail space, reception area and activities booking hub. The Outfitters provides everything needed for a range of outdoor activities, providing guests with equipment, clothing and supplies for the wide range of activities available at John O’Groats, as well a retail offering, selling technical garments, outdoor equipment and other associated activity products to the guests of John O’Groats.


Notes to editors

  1. For more information contact:  Kara Brotherton ( or by phone at +44 0 131 225 4235).
  2. GLM is a leading boutique design, building surveying and project management consultancy who believe in delivering bespoke solutions to all clients.  With offices in Edinburgh and Manchester, and possessing over three decades worth of experience in Building Surveying, Architecture and Project Management, GLM’s key competitive advantage lies in the fact that they can deliver from start to finish, consolidating specialist skills into a single manageable service.  Experts in the sustainable and commercial reuse of remarkable buildings, GLM specialises in historic building conservation and low carbon building design.
  3. GLM – 58 Castle Street, Edinburgh EH8 9SQ, +44 0 131 225 4235,
  4. Natural Retreats is a UK based company providing luxury self-catering holidays, idyllic short breaks and family holidays to 13 worldwide locations of stunning natural beauty.  For information on Natural Retreats or holiday bookings, visit
  5. Additional photos available upon request.