A WOMAN who worked at Eddleston’s Scots Pine tearoom two decades ago has seen her dream come true – returning to run the café.

It was 20 years ago when Linda Fraser arrived in Peebles to set up home.

Eager to find employment she was offered the position of cook in the Scots Pine.

In later years, she expanded her hospitality and catering craft, managing a hotel in Carlops and then helping to run the Neidpath Inn.

Her first solo business venture came in 2008, when she took on the café and village store at Cardrona, which she successfully ran for six years before moving to Kailzie to run the Bunkhouse accommodation in 2014.

A few years later, Lady Angela Hepburn had Linda running the Kailzie Gardens Café.

During her time there, Linda’s legendary afternoon teas were in high demand for those looking to treat someone during the COVID lockdown.

“It really took off,” says Linda, “And it was so nice to witness how much it cheered people up at such a difficult time.”

Recognising all the people in the community who had worked hard throughout the pandemic, Linda wanted to do something to show them that their efforts were appreciated.

Local volunteers and charity workers received a complimentary afternoon tea delivered to their homes by the big-hearted café owner.

She also sent one to the police station, and made supper for the staff at Haylodge Hospital.

And when the annual Easter egg hunt had to be cancelled due to COVID, it was Linda to the rescue, who donned a chicken suit and delivered chocolate to children in the town.

However, when Kailzie was sold, Linda had to find a new venture – and her destiny was just a few miles away.

She explained: “I was just going to continue doing my afternoon teas, but as I was driving past the Scots Pine, which has been empty for almost two years, I thought, this will be just perfect.

“I contacted the owner of Portmore Estate and within a couple of days I became the new leaseholder.

“The funny thing is, about 20 years ago my first job when I came to Peebles. I was the cook for Arlene Haydock,” she said.

The Scots Pine has been fully renovated with outdoor seating and a play area for children.

Since opening at the beginning of June, Linda says the footfall has been incredible.

“So many of my previous customers from when I was at Kailzie have come to the Scots Pine – a couple of them simply for my famous mac and cheese,” she added.

Eddleston prides itself on being a very close-knit community, and Linda says she’s been welcomed with open arms, adding: “The locals in the village have been phenomenal; they’re here all the time. The kids come down at night with their parents and sit outside, even when I’m closed.”

Asked if she considered changing the name, Linda replied: “No I’d never change it. It has, and always will be the Scots Pine.”

The café is hosting an open day on the weekend that she turns 59 – so it’s a double celebration. The date for this is Saturday, August 14 from 4pm until 8pm, where all are welcome to bring their own refreshments and enjoy a taste of Taco Street Food and music.