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Published on : Friday, July 15, 2016
“From adventure seekers to literary lovers, food fanatics to history buffs, the Scottish Borders has something for everyone,” says the new man in charge of tourism in the region. Doug Wilson, from Stow, took up the post of Regional Director for VisitScotland in April and is looking forward to the rest of the season and experiencing some of the diverse and entertaining events on offer.
“I am looking forward to getting out and about and seeing first-hand what the region has to offer. I joined VisitScotland in April, in the middle of the Kings of the 7s rugby season and it was clear to see that the launch of the railway was already having a positive impact on local businesses and events. The number of people travelling on the Borders Railway has surpassed all expectations and as we hit the summer months we hope to see the numbers rising again.
“I have lived in the Borders for almost 20 years and have had the privilege of bringing up my two daughters in the region. There are very few family attractions in the region that I have not visited with my family over the years and I have been enjoying getting to know many more of the nooks and crannies of the Scottish Borders in the last two months since I took up the post.
“The last year has been incredible for the region with the launch of the Borders Railway which has opened up the region to the global market. I would encourage anyone who hasn’t already travelled by train from the Scottish Borders to do so and what better opportunity than the return of the steam train to the line in August and September. There surely cannot be a better way to appreciate the region and all it has to offer than experiencing a piece of history for yourself on the steam train.
Doug added: “Another successful Borders Book Festival recently came to an end. This event has continued to grow year on year and is now a firm fixture on the national and international literary arts festival calendar. And for those not willing to wait until next year for their next literary fix, Abbotsford House, the home of Sir Walter Scott, is well worth a visit and has a range of events taking place this summer.
“The region is famous for its picturesque and historic abbeys, which are a huge draw for the region. The region also boasts some of the best buildings in Scotland since 1916, shortlisted as part of the Festival of Architecture 2016 and Scotland’s 2016 Year of Innovation, Architecture and Design.
“The Scottish Borders’ reputation as a destination for outdoor pursuits is strong and it is exciting to see that investment into this industry is continuing, with the recent opening of a new bike skills track at Newcastleton and the opening of a new walking route in Teviotdale. The Scottish Borders Walking Festival – now in its 22nd year – will this year take place in Coldstream in September.
“From the rolling hills, the region also stretches to the coast and I would encourage everyone to explore the coastline this summer. The Berwickshire Coastal Path is a 28-mile walking route from Cockburnspath in the Scottish Borders to Berwick upon Tweed. The Herring Queen Festival in Eyemouth this July is another local traditional festival that is well worth experiencing.
Doug said: “VisitScotland’s Year of Food and Drink in 2015 also had a massive impact on promoting the region’s outstanding natural larder – in Scotland last year visitor spend on food and drink reached almost £1billion. There are so many different ways to experience what is on offer in the region, from berry picking to fine dining. Born in the Borders recently celebrated its second birthday and is a good example of a local business capitalising on the strength of local produce, creating a visitor experience celebrating the best of local fayre from its handcrafted local ales to seafood, beef and bread.
“Of course there are too many events and places to see in the Scottish Borders to mention. Living in Stow, my family and I always enjoy the Stowed Out two-day music and arts festival at the end of August. We all have our favourite place, somewhere that we hold particularly dear for a memory it invokes or for a person or a particular time that it brings to life. For me, it is Cringletie House Hotel in Peebles where I married my wife, Penelope , almost 20 years ago. With the launch of VisitScotland’s Online Community earlier this month we are asking everyone to get involved and share their special place, the place where their #ScotSpirit comes alive. The Scottish Borders is full of hidden gems but let’s not keep them hidden anymore, let’s share them with the rest of the world and show others what a truly remarkable place it is.