BUILDERS thought entrepreneurs Darren and Nina Remnant were being silly billies when they came up with a novel idea on how to give their rural eaterie a unique selling point.
But they proved they weren’t kidding when they opened their unusual venue near Rothbury, Northumberland – and now people are flocking to see the roof with a hoof.
The aptly named Goats on the Roof cafe, just off the B6342, has little ladders for the herd of Bagot goats to climb up from their pen and clamber on to the top of the eatery 30 feet up.
With a living roof made of moss-like sedum, the cafe provides the ideal grazing ground for the herd of hungry goats.
Darren and Nina got the idea from relatives who had visited Canada and saw a similar project there.
The couple, who have children Kai, two, and Che, six months, looked it up on YouTube and saw that people went along just to see the goats.
Nina, 32, said: “We’re quite remote here and we need a unique selling point to get people here. People get so excited about it, and they say ‘I didn’t realise it was real goats’.
“Bagot goats are a very rare breed. They’re useless for eating or milking so they’re perfect for going on the roof.”
The couple’s builders at first did not believe the details of the project, while it also took some time to work how to get the goats to get on the roof.
Darren, 40, said: “It took a long time to work out how to get goats up there, firstly with the living roof and then the weight. It’s also an experiment to see what they do and don’t eat.”
The couple already run a rare breeds farm after buying 200 acres a couple of years ago. They started building work on the cafe in February after getting funding from the Rural Development Programme for England and One North East.
The whole project has also been a big adventure for the married couple who moved from computer-based jobs in London. Darren worked as a graphic reproducer in a printing firm and Nina was in the HR department.
They then moved to Kent where they kept a couple of pigs before taking the plunge and moving to Northumberland, where Nina’s father Simon Clugston, performance programme director of The Sage Gateshead, and stepmother Sue, a GP in Ponteland, live.