Hawick could be added to tour route

A bus tour operator says it hopes to expand into Hawick, in the wake of concerns over the town’s exclusion from the firm’s itinerary.

Edinburgh-based Rabbie’s Trail Burners is piloting three Borders tours from Galashiels, and the company claims passengers will travel “off the beaten track and into the heart of the Scottish Borders, where hidden gems and best-kept secrets abound”.

Although the “beaten track” does not extend to Hawick at the moment, Rabbie’s chief executive officer Robin Worsnop says he hopes the tours will be refined and developed to include the town.

He added: “When we reach the end of this trial, and look to widening the geographical spread of tours in the Scottish Borders, we look forward to working with the community and local businesses to create destinations, attractions and experiences which motivate visitors to book and travel.

“We are already working with organisations such as Johnstons of Elgin and just recently attended the Scottish Borders Tourism Conference in Hawick’s Tower Mill to encourage business collaboration.”

Future Hawick’s Andrew Farquhar, who was instrumental in the town regeneration body’s scheme to bring Borders Railway passengers to Hawick in the run-up to last Christmas, said: “We hope to negotiate with Rabbie’s, but there are other operators interested in Hawick, specifically for textiles and cashmere.”

Provost Stuart Marshall told us it was important to persuade Rabbie’s to include Hawick in its intinerary and pointed to the success that Mr Farquhar and Future Hawick made of bringing bus tours to the town. “That is absolute proof that we have such a lot to offer in Hawick,” he said.

Speaking at last week’s community council meeting, Malcolm McGregor, of Whitropefoot Farm, said Hawick’s exclusion from the bus tours meant that visitors were missing out on the region’s “centre for cashmere and quality knitwear”.