Our Tweed Valley – Jennifer Allerhand, Cosaig Self-Catering

 

Jennifer Allerhand runs Cosaig – a delightful self-catering cottage overlooking Victoria Park in Innerleithen. We caught up with her to talk local attractions, catering for different needs and her love of greyhounds!

How would you describe Cosaig self-catering cottage in three words?

Ideally-located, cosy and well-equipped (ok, I cheated using hyphens!)

And in a few more words, paint a picture of Innerleithen and the surrounding area

Innerleithen is a small, vibrant and friendly town. There is plenty to keep you busy here without the need for a car. You can head into the surrounding hills for walking and mountain biking, or enjoy a more leisurely trip along the Tweed Valley Railway Path (a level, multi-purpose path suitable for wheelchairs). Elsewhere, there is a beautiful, 9-hole golf course on the edge of town, an alpaca trekking centre, plus some fascinating historical sites and houses. The town itself has a great selection of shops (from the essentials to the distinctly quirky), plus excellent cafes and pubs to suit all tastes. There’s also so much happening here throughout the year: St Ronan’s Border Games is a 10-day festival with events for the whole family, while the Operatic Society, Silver and Pipe Bands provide endless entertainment, and the Innerleithen Music Festival is always a wonderful weekend. Then just a wee bit further away there’s Go-Ape at Glentress, Border Segways, Kailzie Gardens, Dawyck Botanic Garden, Abbotsford, Bowhill … all that and just a bus ride from Edinburgh!

How long have you been running Cosaig?

Cosaig opened for business in 2013, and we’ve had a great few years. We completely renovated the cottage, adding a door opening out on to the park, created an accessible wet room and updated the kitchen. It’s now got all mod cons, but we also wanted to make it homely, so it’s not just a bare holiday house. We have shelves full of books, games in the dresser, binoculars for our guests to watch the birds and more.

Typically, who stays with you and what brings them to the area?

Almost three-quarters of our guests last year had either stayed with us before or have booked to stay again this year. So many people tell us that they are amazed by the stunning scenery in the Tweed Valley … and they can’t believe how few people they meet when walking in the hills. We have couples and groups of friends stay in the cottage all year round, plus families during the holidays. Some of our youngest guests have even learned to ride their bikes in the park opposite the cottage!

The cottage is billed as dog friendly … in what way do you cater for visitors’ four-legged friends?

Yes, we pride ourselves on genuinely welcoming dogs. Apparently, the lady who used to live in the cottage adored animals, and always had a pocketful of dog biscuits. We like to think she would approve! Many guests love having a park on the doorstep where their dogs can run, and we know that they all appreciate the fabulous walks and dog-friendly pubs nearby. Meanwhile, our enclosed garden is important for dogs with less reliable recall (we have one of those!). We also provide throws for the furniture, dog towels, toys and home-made treats. Sometimes, if guests fancy a trip into Edinburgh we can look after their dogs for the day (or, if not, provide the names of local dog walkers).

You’ve got a particular thing for greyhounds … tell us more!

Oh, so you have noticed! We have always loved dogs but had never really considered a greyhound until we found out about how many are abandoned. We always thought that a greyhound would need a huge amount of exercise, but the truth is that they are quite lazy. Our Luke loves a zoom in the local fields but then snoozes for much of the day. Luke came from the Scottish Greyhound Sanctuary and we like to support them by offering a couple of stays at Cosaig each year in their auctions and by donating our dog charges to them when rescue dogs come to stay. In the cottage garden, we have a beautiful carving of Luna Greyhound by local slate artist Hatch, Burn, Carve, and Luke even features in a wonderful series of lino prints by another local artist, Neil Stewart.

And Cosaig is also ideal for visitors with reduced mobility?  

Yes, when we renovated Cosaig we tried to make it as accessible as possible. We’re always happy to give lots of information to guests before they book as it’s important to us that the cottage meets their needs. We’ve had several guests who use wheelchairs indoors and many more who really value the level access wet room. We’re pleased to have received great reviews on Euan’s Guide.

What’s the best thing about living and working in the Tweed Valley?

Can I have two things? I would say the loveliness of the people and the beauty of the area.

Finally, what are your favourite things to do on a day off?

I love to pretend I am on holiday here. Visiting local tourist attractions and heading up the hills with my greyhound Luke can always be called research!

Further info

Built around 1870, Cosaig is a fully modernised cottage sleeping 4-6 people. Located in a quiet spot overlooking Innerleithen’s main park, it is particularly suited to families, small groups, people with reduced mobility and those who love to travel with their dogs. For more details, including booking information, visit http://cosaigselfcatering.co.uk

 

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