First depicted on Bleau’s Map of 1654, Whisgills sits on the southern bank of the Tinnis Burn, in the shadow of Tinnis Hill. Just like the horses and some of the people who are helped by the Tinnis Trust, Whisgills House has its own story of recovery. Back in the times of the Border Reivers, it was home to a lawless clan who were allies of Robert the Bruce and led daring raids across the border to England. Over the years, it has had various incarnations as farm, a livery yard and a riding centre where many people have happy memories of riding holidays. However, in more recent years, it had fallen on some hard times, becoming increasingly dilapidated after being rented out to tenants including puppy farmers and less than scrupulous horse dealers. In 2014, an illegal Cannabis farm on the site was raided and in 2019 a number of dogs were removed by the SSPCA as part of a cruelty case. By 2020, the once grand house was empty and in a state of disrepair.
At this time, our founder, Lindsey Crosbie and her husband, Iain, were looking to buy a farm where they could share the benefits of horses and the outdoors with people who might not otherwise have the opportunity. They had run a successful charity in North Wales for ten years but felt God leading them to leave their beautiful little smallholding by the sea, hand the running over to a group a former volunteers and start a new venture at a larger centre where they could offer residential services to people from all over the UK, and even the world. The search was long and extensive. The Crosbies weren't sure exactly where God wanted them to go, only that they would know it when they saw it. In a time of absolute despair during the winter of 2019, when Lindsey was praying for guidance, a Painted Lady butterfly appeared in the room. And suddenly she knew that wherever they were going, there would be butterflies.
In March of 2020, just before the country was plunged into lockdown by Covid-19, Lindsey and Iain came to see Whisgills House, a property that ticked all their boxes on paper except that it would mean moving their family, including Lindsey's parents, 14 horses, three dogs, four cats, three Kune Kune pigs, two geese and numerous ducks and chickens 300 miles to a different country.
When Lindsey saw the farm for the first time, she was not convinced. It needed so much repair work that it was difficult to imagine this tired and unloved place would ever be a safe and welcoming home for horses or people. She was preparing to tell the estate agent that this would be another house to add to their long list of unsuitable properties, when he walked them into the last room on the tour. And there, in a dilapidated bedroom with a cigarette burned sink and 70s pine furniture, she saw it: a wall papered with painted lady butterflies. In the outbuildings and stables there were more surprises; above their heads, hundreds of real butterflies hibernated in the rafters.
The refurbishment of Whisgills Farm has reminded us all that recovery takes time. Just like the process of healing from trauma, sometimes it can feel like a long road but, ultimately, with God anything is possible. Just as this house has been repaired and rebuilt, so too can anyone who feels broken by the actions of others or by circumstance. No-one is too far gone for recovery. It our hope that the story of Whisgills House and its continued growth and repair will be a symbol of hope for anyone who needs it.
Surrounded by moorland and forest, Whisgills Farm stands in the shadow of Tinnis Hill in the beautiful Scottish borders. We have an arena, large yard area, loose boxes and open barn stabling. Our fields have both man-made and natural shelter. The horses live out as much as possible in stable herds and have an Equi-central living system that allows them to choose where they would like to spend their time. There are smaller paddocks where horses with more complex health or behaviour needs can stay. If you come to stay at Whisgills House for a residential retreat, you will have your own beautifully decorated room with in a Georgian farmhouse. There are seven bedrooms in total, three of which have ensuite bathrooms. Our accommodation choices include single self-contained rooms for people who want peace and quiet, interconnecting twin rooms for family and friends, a two-bedroom suite with shared bathroom ideal for families with young children and an accessible ground floor bedroom and bathroom. Downstairs, there are two communal rooms: a sitting room and a library/games room as well as a kitchen. We provide nutritious local food which includes, vegetables grown on site and free range eggs from our own ducks and ex-battery chickens.
Travel and Transport
By prior arrangement, we can provide a shuttle service from Glasgow, Edinburgh and Carlisle where the nearest airports and major train stations are situated. For details of how to reach us by public transport, please click here https://moovitapp.com/index/en-gb/public_transportation-Whisgills_Riding_Centre-Scotland-site_66583622-402
If coming to us by car, you can plan your route here https://wego.here.com/directions/mix//Newcastleton-Riding-Centre,-South-Hermitage-Street,-Newcastleton,-TD9-0QE:e-eyJuYW1lIjoiTmV3Y2FzdGxldG9uIFJpZGluZyBDZW50cmUiLCJhZGRyZXNzIjoid2hpc2dpbGxzLHNjb3R0aXNoIGJvcmRlcnMsIE5ld2Nhc3RsZXRvbiIsImxhdGl0dWRlIjo1NS4xNzgzOTA1LCJsb25naXR1ZGUiOi0yLjgxNDAyOTksInByb3ZpZGVyTmFtZSI6ImZhY2Vib29rIiwicHJvdmlkZXJJZCI6MTYxMDU0Mjg4MjU2MTkzOX0=?map=55.17854,-2.81412,15,normal&fb_locale=en_GB