Peebles-based outdoor events company Hillside Outside Ltd has cancelled its entire programme of events for 2020, effectively moving the award-winning company’s complete events programme to 2021 instead.
Cancelled events include all TweedLove bike events, Tour O The Borders powered by Pirelli road cycling sportive and The Tweed Valley Tunnel Trail Trail Run, with new dates in 2021 announced for all.
Despite recent reductions in lockdown measures, the business has been unable to salvage anything from this year. “Covid’s having a devastating but simple impact on us – we’ve lost an entire year’s trading income,” says company founder Neil Dalgleish. “It’s even harder to make the decision to cancel when many aspects of life are perhaps returning to normal, but we’ve held out in hope for as long as we can. There’s far too much uncertainty and so many reasons why we can’t go ahead this year.”
Neil goes on to explain, “We’re waiting for guidance on participant number restrictions, social distancing, regulation of toilets and catering, local authority permissions and rules, Forestry permissions and rules, travel advice, accommodation-provider availability and so much more. We’ve not been able to properly advertise anything and of course, even people still in a financially stable position are very reluctant to commit to plans now, so it’s unlikely attendance numbers would cover our increased costs.”
Even if the events could take place, bringing thousands of people to the Tweed Valley over the next few months would bring other issues too. “Our events attract thousands of people here every year, mostly from all over the UK and quite a few from abroad. There would undoubtedly be commercial benefit for a lot of businesses in going ahead, but we believe it’s still way too soon. Our infection numbers in the Borders and in Scotland are going down, so we need to consolidate that shift – not risk reversing it. But telling people not to come here is the exact opposite of what we’ve been doing for the last ten years, so it’s disheartening to say the least.”
Many in the community had been looking forward to 2020 as a special year for TweedLove with a programme of 10 year anniversary events planned, but with the entire events calendar now moving to 2021, the party is now very much on hold. “We’ll just have to turn it all up to 11 next year instead,” says Neil. “The next eight or nine months will be challenging, but we’ll pick ourselves up for 2021, when I hope we can attract more cycling and outdoor adventure fans than ever to join us here. We can’t wait to celebrate some brighter days ahead.”
Hillside Outside are asking current event customers to hold onto their places to attend next year’s events, but vouchers or refunds will also be possible.
Full details of new dates and refunds are available on the event specifc websites;
TweedLove | www.tweedlove.com
Tour O The Borders, powered by Pirelli | www.tourotheborders.com
Tweed Valley Tunnel Trail Run | www.tunneltrailrun.com
All 2021 events will be onsale Friday 24 July 2020.