Phil McCreadie is the Tourism Business Adviser for the Scottish Borders. He works in the Business Gateway for Scottish Borders Council on a European funded project to assist tourism businesses in the Scottish Borders. He has been in the role since January 2012. Phil lives in Hawick with his wife and three children and has been in Hawick for more than 20 years now. For the past 10 years, before I started in this role, I was self-employed and set up my own businesses and have, in the main, been very happy with what I have achieved in these businesses.
Briefly outline what your business/organisation is: Business Gateway exists to help businesses to grow and achieve their full potential. Working with Tourism and food and Drink businesses in the main I am able to help and advise on a wide range of business processes. The aim of my project is to bring more tourists to the Scottish Borders to experience our fantastic region. This is done by working with a number of different projects and businesses to make sure we can continue to provide an excellent tourist experience.
How long have you lived/worked/visited in Northumberland or The Scottish Borders?: I was moved to Hawick in 1992 by The Royal Bank of Scotland who I worked for at the time. I have lived and worked here ever since.
What is it about the county that appeals to you?: I love the countryside. The Scottish Borders has everything you need if you love the outdoors. We have an excellent coastline with great sandy beaches and cliff walks as well as the many hills and long distance paths through the region. There are a large number of golf courses throughout the region which I try and play when I have the time. The world class mountain biking area over towards Innerleithen and Peebles gives you a reason to enjoy the forests which have just been added to by the new Go Ape adventure park.
What’s your favourite Scottish Borders beauty spot?: I really would struggle to just name one. There is a single track road that goes up from Talla Reservoir right in the west of the region it continues up a hill and if you stop at the top you can see right across the reservoir to the dam at the end, you could spend hours just sitting looking at the view. The view that you get from the top of the Eildon Hills in the centre of the region lets you see for miles and is a great reward for the climb to the top. I am also lucky enough to travel south down the A7 back to Hawick most days and always enjoy the view from “The Heights” before going down in to Hawick, you really do get a panoramic view that stretches for miles – even after 20 years I still enjoy it. That is three from the top of my head but I know that later when I am driving home I will come across somewhere else and wish I had mentioned it as well.
Tell us about your favourite view/walk/cycle route/town/nightspot?: I enjoy long distance walking and we are lucky enough to have many such walks through the Scottish Borders. I really enjoyed St Cuthbert’s Way when I did this and have done parts of it since. It has a great combination of hills and coast taking in some breath taking scenery along the way.
The list of places to visit is endless. But some are more special than others. A trip to Northumberland/the Borders wouldn’t be complete without….: Without singling one out we have a vast range of houses and gardens in the Scottish Borders. Some of the theses houses and castles are truly stunning and filled with history. Pick one, go and visit and then do another – you won’t be disappointed.
Why is locally produced Northumbrian/Borders food the best?: The quality and diversity. We have literally dozens of small scale food and drink producers in the Scottish Borders. Making everything from preserves, ice cream, wine, beer, cheese, berries, bread and meringues before you even think about fish and meat. We are really lucky!
Do you have a preferred place to eat out in the county and why?: I honestly don’t. There are a lot of places that I love to go and eat in and I wouldn’t want to upset any by forgetting to mention them. I look for places that can provide me with the quality and range mentioned above and complemented by great service.
Northumbrians and people from The Scottish Borders are renowned for the warm welcome they offer holidaymakers and day trippers alike. What do you think is the secret ingredient for this friendliness?: A genuine interest in people and glad that they have come to experience what we can offer in our region.
Coast or country, and specifically which part?: If pushed I would need to say country. Preferably at the top of a hill with views of many more hills and lochs.
Your favourite market town and why?: I have to say Hawick. I have lived in Hawick for over 20 years and although it has been through some bad times the town is thriving again with a wide range of shops, coffee shops and entertainment from the Heart of Hawick.
Your favourite historical site?: As I mentioned above we have a large number of historic houses to choose from I really could name any of them. With a huge investment being made on Abbotsford, the home of Sir Walter Scott, I would recommend a visit.
And the best road along which to take a leisurely and scenic drive: The A708 road from Selkirk down to St Mary’s loch gives you some great views, stop for an ice cream at the café and then go on to the Grey Mare’s Tail waterfall – before turning back (the edge of the region is not far away at that point!).
What would be your perfect day out in Northumberland and The Scottish Borders?: I would start the day with a walk up the Eildon Hills making sure I was back in time for lunch in Melrose. Then an afternoon playing golf at The Woll in Ashkirk followed by a meal in their restaurant. Excellent!
Category: Northumberland Best Kept Secrets