Located in Callanish on the Isle of Lewis you might think it was the world famous Callanish standing stones that guests would be raving about. Yet upon leaving the island, visitors to Gealabhat, 9 Callanish B&B seem to have only one thing on their mind – their genial host, Gregor Macleod and his thriving business.
After just one year of trading Gregor has scooped the top award at the Moffat Travel and Tourism Awards, which were held in Glasgow yesterday (Tuesday)
The prestigious awards are run by the Prince’s Trust Youth Business Scotland in partnership with the Moffat Charitable Trust, which has pledged almost £300,000 to support young people demonstrating outstanding talent in the Scottish travel and tourism industry.
Gregor was overall winner on the day, receiving the Economic and Community Impact Award for outstanding achievement as owner of Gealabhat, 9 Callanish B&B.
He said: “I’m delighted to have received this award although it’s completely unexpected. Setting up and running the business has been tiring but I’ve really enjoyed it, especially meeting all the wonderful guests.”
Gregor purchased the property from his uncle last May before undertaking extensive renovations. The three bedroom croft house formerly belonged to his grandmother who ran it as a B&B for nine years until 1989, the year that Gregor was born.
“I had simply intended to live there however due to the costs of living alone I decided to set up the business, inspired by my granny who ran it as a B&B previously.
“I approached Business Gateway at the beginning of last year and they were brilliant. They assisted with my application for a loan from The Princes National Trust Youth Business Scotland and I received a grant through the Outer Hebrides Business Assistance Scheme. Without the funding I would never have been able to set up, he said.”
“My Business Adviser also recommended the Digital IT Scheme which helped with creating the website, plus I attended a free workshop on website design.”
Along with running his busy B&B, which is open all year round, Gregor, 25, works as a cook at nearby Callanish Visitor Centre:
“This year I had planned to take a little more time for myself, although the B&B is nearly fully booked for the year already. Luckily my mum is on hand to help out where necessary,” he said.
With consistently excellent reviews on travel website Tripadviser.com it’s no surprise that the bedrooms are filling up quickly. Guests have recommended everything from the spectacular power showers and Harris Tweed furnishings to Gregor’s homemade scones, impromptu sightseeing tours and natural warmth.
“I really enjoy treating my guests with homemade fare and I think that the close interaction makes them feel comfortable and gives that home from home feeling. I absolutely love meeting so many people from all over the world and consider it a real privilege,” said Gregor.
Donna MacLeod, PTYBS Regional Manager, Business Gateway Outer Hebrides said: “We supported Gregor with setting up Gealabhat, 9 Callanish B&B and are delighted that all of his hard work has been recognised. Gregor has built a thriving business that will continue to bring many benefits to the local community and we look forward to supporting Gregor as he develops his venture even further.”
For more information on Gealabhat, 9 Callanish B&B please visit www.9callanish.co.uk
Find out how Business Gateway Western Isles can help your business by visiting www.bgateway.com/local-offices/stornoway or calling 01851 808 240.
Alternatively visit www.bgateway.com or call 0845 609 6611.