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Built more than 200 years ago as a coaching inn, the Gordon Arms near St Mary’s Loch in the Scottish Borders was in its heyday a regular haunt of the local literati, including Sir Walter Scott and James Hogg, the Ettrick Shepherd. Others known to have visited are Robert Burns and even, in 1814, William Wordsworth.
Tommy & Susan came to the Gordon in 2012, after it had lain empty for 2 years. Since then they have worked hard to build the business up despite the massive setback of the fire which ripped through the upper floor and attic in May 2015. Thankfully nobody was injured. However, they had to rebuild and in the process brought the hotel into modern standards with all bedrooms now having double glazing, central heating and ensuite bathrooms. The bar lounge was also more than doubled in size, and visitors who remember the old layout are often astounded by the spacious and light filled room when they first return.
Tommy is an accomplished musician who plays keyboards with top Borders folk band Real Time, who regularly tour throughout Europe. He has also relocated his recording studio to The Gordon where he has specialised over the years in recording traditional music acts. Many local musicians have since made use of the facilities.
There is a real renaissance in traditional music, reflected by television shows like the Transatlantic Sessions, fuelled locally by successful festivals and a wealth of talented singer/songwriters like Kieran Halpin and Ian Bruce, and typified in the Borders by several initiatives, such as the Merlin Music Tranditional Music Academy and the Riddell Fiddles, which are aimed at nurturing young talent.
Tommy and Susan believe the Gordon Arms can tap into that movement and become a centre for live music sessions. Their enthusiasm to improve the building following the fire, coupled with their genuine friendly attitude to all customers, locals and visitors, will undoubtedly secure the future of The Gordon Arms at a time when the pub trade generally is struggling.