ONE Of the region's most popular visitor attractions made losses of more than £60,000 last year.

But bosses at Abbotsford are confident an increase in numbers arriving at the former home of Sir Walter Scott during this summer will make for better reading when the next set of accounts are published.

The 200-year-old estate on the banks of the Tweed has undergone a major transformation over the past decade.

As well as the creation of a dedicated visitor centre and upgrading of the grounds, the 19th century house also underwent a major refurbishment.

Members of the Abbotsford Trust believe the prolonged cold weather during the spring of 2018 was responsible for the recorded losses.

And they are confident the £62,566 deficit recorded last year won't be repeated.

A spokeswoman for the Trust said: "The extreme cold snap at the start of 2018 led to an increased spend in repairs and maintenance, with items such as burst pipes and snow plough charges adding to the usual costs of maintaining Scott’s historic home."

Although Abbotsford did receive just under £220,000 of donations and grants during 2018, almost all of the money went on restoration work to the woodlands and riverside walks, as well as the iconic Portcullis Gate.

During this summer visitor numbers arriving at Abbotsford were up by 15 percent on the previous year.

And income at its shops and restaurant, once published, is also expected have increased.

Giles Ingram, chief executive of The Abbotsford Trust, said: “We are delighted to have welcomed 15 percent more visitors to Abbotsford so far this year.

"Many more people from across the Borders and into Edinburgh have been regular visitors, bringing friends and family, as word of our ‘Pay once visit free all year’ tickets, and of our new riverside paths has spread.

"We see ourselves very much as a place for our community to enjoy and share.

"To see people proudly introducing Walter Scott’s intriguing story to their own visitors is so rewarding.”

Abbotsford has also accepted an increase in donations during 2019 from the previous year.

Mr Ingram added: “It is entirely thanks to our donors that we have been able to make improvements everybody in the Borders can enjoy, and to run community programmes for people of all ages and abilities.

"The response we have had to our improved paths from those using wheelchairs has been especially pleasing.

“Our challenge now is to build on a successful year in 2019, to engage people with Scott’s fantastic legacy, both within the local community and further afield, especially as we look forward to celebrating his 250th anniversary in 2021.”