Borders salmon fishing museum nets £10,000 cash boost

A forthcoming tourist attraction is hoping to see visitors streaming in once it opens its doors this spring, having netted another £10,000 in funding.

Wednesday, 12th February 2020, 1:35 pm
Alastair Brooks, Bill Quarry, Morag Hume and Eoin Fairgrieve from the Kelso Salmon Fishing Museum project.

The River Tweed Salmon Fishing Museum, set to open in the old tourist information room in Kelso Town Tall this May, has been given that money from Scottish Borders Council’s community fund.

Volunteers behind the attraction have already landed thousands of pounds of public funding and private donations, but that latest boost is vital to get things moving.

Fishing fan, project volunteer and local author Bill Quarry said: “We have now raised around £75,000, and the fitting-out works are going on in the town hall now.

“The museum should be complete by the end of March.

“We are getting a good response for manning and hope to open to the public in May.”

The museum, to be open free of charge seven days a week for 10 months of the year, is expected to pull in between 10,000 and 15,000 visitors locally, nationally and internationally each year.

Kelso councillor Euan Robson backed its funding plea at this month’s meeting of the council’s Cheviot area partnership meeting.

“It’s something that is going to be very positive for the area,” he said.

“There’s a huge volunteer effort gone into it, and it’s a project the likes of which Kelso hasn’t seen before.

“It’s going to be really worthwhile and certainly worth us providing the amount requested.

“It is all speculative, but if we don’t back it, we may never know.

“The general view of the community is that this will succeed.”

His counterpart Tom Weatherston added: “It’s in a prime location. It would have been absolutely terrible if that building had been left empty.

“I am quite confident that the people running this are quite capable of making it a success. They have so many different exhibits lined up already, it’s going to make an excellent museum.”

Scottish Borders Council approved a planning application for the fishing heritage centre to be created in rooms occupied by a VisitScotland tourist information centre until November 2017.

The permanent museum will celebrate the River Tweed and Kelso’s role in developing the sport of fishing for Atlantic salmon over the years.

It will be decked out like an old fishing bothy, displaying up to 1,500 artefacts and documents.