A PEEBLES-based events company has burst through the £10 million barrier - in the economic benefits it has brought to the Borders.

Since events management firm Hillside Outside was created a decade ago, it has brought tens of thousands of cyclists, runners and tourists to the area.

The meteoric rise of the TweedLove festival has led to many other events, such as the Tour O The Borders cycle sportive and the Tweed Valley Tunnel Trail being introduced to the busy Hillside Outside calendar.

While the success on the ground is evident by the numbers who arrive on the start line for the sell-out events each year, the economic benefits are now being calculated.

Having used the Scottish Government and EventScotland’s approved methodology, the company this week announced a combined figure of over £1.4 million of additional economic benefit for the Borders during 2019.

During last year TweedLove bike festival generated £909,981 for the Borders economy - up over £150,000 on 2018.

Tour O The Borders, which was established in 2012 with only 300 riders and now attracts up to 2500 participants, brought an economic benefit of £420,310 last year.

And the other more recently established Tweed Valley Tunnel Trail Run, saw a 23 percent increase in entries last year, bringing economic benefit valued at over £93,000.

The calculations show that between 2010 and this year the Hillside Outside events have generated over £10 million for local businesses.

Hillside Outside director Neil Dalgleish said: "It’s obviously a very positive result, and one we’re proud of.

“We’re a very small business so it’s rewarding for us to be able to make this level of impact, but none of it would be possible without the local community’s involvement.

"The whole area is lucky to have such an active and positive population willing to help us welcome visitors to our beautiful homelands.

“You can see how things have changed over the last decade, but the best thing is actually the unrecorded year-round benefit.

"We know from our customer surveys that the majority of people coming to our events come back at other times of the year too as a result.

"We always try to showcase the trails and the valley as best we can – the area has incredible and unique world class assets and huge potential.”

Cycling and outdoor sports tourism is now recognised as a major economic driver for the Tweed Valley and the wider Borders.

Hillside Outside company directors already had a track record working with some of the country’s biggest event successes including Edinburgh’s Hogmanay, T in the Park and the Fort William Downhill World Cup.

But local success has been the most rewarding for Mr Dalgleish and his team.

He added: "I’ve been involved in events and marketing for 30 years and have been lucky enough to work with some of Scotland’s most inspiring events figures, but playing our part in the transformation of this area is the most satisfying thing I’ve done.

“Growing up in the area, there wasn’t much to do and most young people moved out as soon as they could.

"With the decline of the mills it got even worse but the developments at Glentress and Innerleithen 20 years ago now were the start of turning it round.

"The future’s brighter now, with companies like ours creating employment and bringing money in to the valley."

Hillside Outside has its most ambitious events season to date planned for 2020.

As well as an exciting programme of events and races throughout the year, the TweedLove festival weekend will return to Peebles at the end of May.

And the company is also putting its pedal power behind the e-bike revolution which is sweeping most parts of the world.

Hillside Outside event manager Emma Wadee told us: "There will be all kinds of e-bikes to try at TweedLove this year.

“You have to try them to believe them – whether you’re a talented mountain biker or someone who just needs an easier way to get around town, the possibilities these machines offer is amazing. I’ve yet to see someone who doesn’t get an instant smile on their face when they have a go.”

TweedLove Bike Festival weekend in Peebles runs from May 29-31 and Tour O The Borders is planned for September 6.