Tourism show shares Borders’ secrets with viewers

Susan Calman with Craig Jackson, Patrick Anderson, George Taylor and Fraser Thomas at the Greenyards.
Susan Calman with Craig Jackson, Patrick Anderson, George Taylor and Fraser Thomas at the Greenyards.

The region hit the small screen last week as Channel 5 show Secret Scotland paid a visit to attractions and busineses across the Borders.

Heriot, Abbotsford, Bemersyde, Melrose and Selkirk all featured in the fourth episode of the new series, aired last Friday evening.

Susan tries her hand at sheep-herding with the help of Julie and her Border Collie Ban.

Susan tries her hand at sheep-herding with the help of Julie and her Border Collie Ban.

Glasgow-born comedian and programme host Susan Calman turned tourist on her first visit to the region for the five-part series.

The former Strictly Come Dancing star opened the show saying: “Like a lot of people, I have travelled through the Borders by train or by car, but I am really excited to stop and finally have a good look around.

“It’s a historic region bursting with all sorts of surprises and hiding mysterious secrets.

“The history of the Borders is littered with bloody battles and conflict, but driving through the rolling hills and listening to the sound of the River Tweed it’s far more calm and tranquil than you might imagine.”

Susan Calman with Iain Farr, Anne Henderson and Anne Woodcock at Bemersyde.

Susan Calman with Iain Farr, Anne Henderson and Anne Woodcock at Bemersyde.

Susan first visits Bemersyde, near Melrose, to try her hand at fly-fishing and have lunch on the River Tweed with ghillie Ian Farr and local anglers.

She then heads to Selkirk for a tour of DC Dalgleish’s tartan mill with weaver Crena Bell and managing director Nick Fiddes.

“It may be a thriving business today, but it’s also a bit like seeing living history,” Susan comments before admiring her own clan tartan.

In Melrose, she visits the abbey and meets rugby players and staunch supporter Jack Dunn at the Greenyards to learn about the game and try her hand at a drop-kick.

At Abbotsford, near Tweedbank, formerly home to Walter Scott, Susan learns about the novelist’s life before making quick stop at Scott’s View near St Boswell’s to admire the “absolutely gorgeous” scenery.

In Heriot, Susan meets Julie Hill, a Border collie breeder and trainer, at her home at Neth Hill Farm to try her hand at sheep-herding.

Exposure on the programme, filmed last year, is expected to have a positive impact on tourism.

Giles Ingram, chief executive of Abbotsford, said: “Our website visits spiked on the evening of the broadcast, and we were delighted that Susan’s visit sparked such an interest in Scott and Abbotsford.

“It was great timing for us because we opened for the new season on the day of broadcast, and we have already seen a positive impact on visitor numbers.

“A number of people came in over the weekend because they had seen the programme.”

The programme can be viewed online here: https://www.channel5.com/show/secret-scotland/