Vicky and I woke to a lovely, crisp and sunny morning and following a hearty breakfast (joint effort!) we drove inland for about 30 minutes, through some lovely country roads, heading towards a small village called Dalry that was to be our first port of call.  Also a castle and reputed to be the oldest continually inhabited mansion house in Scotland, this property (ref 802) was going to be the first of the fully catered (or serviced) properties we were due to visit.

As we drove up the long and beautiful driveway, we were greatly impressed by the beauty of the stunning mansion house as it swung into view.   The owner and manager greeted us out front and took us for a tour of the expansive and stunning gardens to the rear of the property.

On arrival inside, we were again, in awe of our surroundings – this is quite clearly a well loved, immaculately kept and stunning residence of huge proportions which maintains a warm and homely feel.  The reception rooms are elegant, the bedrooms beautifully furnished and the bathrooms luxurious – one thing that immediately struck us was how immaculately clean every room was; a huge undertaking considering the size of the house.

The other thing that was incredibly apparent is the quality of the service that is provided – we have received excellent feedback from previous clients who have stayed at the house, but it is difficult to imagine unless you have met the owners yourself. It comes as no surprise that this fabulous place, the owners and staff have been awarded the coveted 5 stars from Visit Scotland for a serviced (or fully catered) venue.

After being kindly provided a delicious home cooked lunch of mushroom soup (courtesy of the owner – what a great cook and host!) we started our 3 hour journey across country to Hawick where the owners of a large self catering holiday house (ref 003a) were very kindly putting us up in one of their estate cottages for the night.

We took the M8 across to Edinburgh and then joined the A7; a great road which takes you right down to Carlisle with smaller roads branching off in all directions – if you are flying to Edinburgh this is easily the best road to take through the borders.

At this point, I would like to say that Vicky and I were amazed at the beautiful countryside surrounding us; so many people have the wrong impression of the Borders, which is a great shame as they are missing out on one of the most beautiful places we have both seen in a long time.

We arrived at out next destination in the dark, so didn’t fully appreciate our surroundings until the following morning – but yet again were warmly greeted by the owners who supplied us with a fabulous dinner for which we were both so grateful.  Three properties in a day plus all the travel inbetween, took the wind out of our sails so we hightailed it to bed as soon as was courteous to do so!

Day Two – Melrose, St Boswells, Hawick & Peebles to be continued /…

(Written by Cheryl H)