Following a lengthy stint working in corporate jobs down south, Guy and Lesley Wotherspoon returned to Scotland last year to take over the running of Glede Knowe Guest House in beautiful Innerleithen. We caught up with them to find out just why living and working here has proved such a breath of fresh air
You’ve now spent a couple of seasons running Glede Knowe – how has it gone so far?
Our first two seasons have been great fun, and flown by. In the first year, we didn’t really know what to expect in terms of booking patterns, but we were pleased with what we achieved. In November last year, we redesigned the website to better showcase the house and the beauty of the Borders countryside and have seen an increase in bookings as a result.
What do you offer guests to make the Glede Knowe ‘experience’ really stand out?
There are two aspects to this. One is the house itself – Glede Knowe is a large, comfortable house set in a beautiful location, offering fantastic views over the town and the hills beyond. The second is that we go out of our way to make our guests feel relaxed and at home; it’s about little touches like drying wet clothing and shoes overnight, suggesting local walks based on first-hand experience, and making dinner reservations at local restaurants.
Tell us more about your typical guest
We welcome guests from all over the world who come for a wide variety of reasons. They include cyclists, mountain bikers, fishermen, walkers and general tourists. Many of our guests come from the north of England, either mountain biking or doing the Coast and Castles cycle route.
Any particularly memorable guests to date?
The Frimout family from Holland who play in the Blue Planet Harp Ensemble treated us to an unforgettable musical evening during their visit. Another guest, from Norway, celebrated his 80th birthday here while cycling the Coast & Castles route with his son.
What do you think first-time visitors to the Tweed Valley like so much about it?
They are amazed by the tranquility and beauty of an area which is so close to Edinburgh. Many have been to Scotland before but never thought to explore the Borders. They enjoy the rolling hills, forests and the wildlife such as ospreys, and comment on how friendly everyone is and how much there is to do. We tell them: ‘Welcome to secret Scotland!’
This is your first time running a guest house … what have you most enjoyed about it?
Meeting so many interesting people from around the world.
And the most challenging aspect?
Adjusting to not having weekends!
You are both originally from Glasgow. What have you learnt about the Tweed Valley that you didn’t know before you came?
We have truly had our eyes opened to the beauty of the landscape and how rich this area is in history and tradition – not least the St Ronan’s Border Games in Innerleithen, which is such a fun community celebration.
Finally, what’s your favourite thing to do (or place to visit) on a day off?
Getting our walking boots on and exploring the local area, or going for a paddle on the Tweed in our Canadian canoe.
Open from March to November, Glede Knowe Guest House offers flexible accommodation in the relaxed surroundings of a large, modern house overlooking the gorgeous Tweed Valley. For more, visit www.gledeknowe.co.uk