“Aww right dude, whit you wanting the day?”

A familiar question in the West of Scotland, but not really what you expect to hear from folks on the front line of hospitality in the tourist village of Balloch on The bonnie, bonnie banks of Loch Lomond.

Visitors to our area are often extremely excited to view Loch Lomond for the first time with a huge expectation of a world-class destination and hospitality - and rightly so.

I’m lucky enough to be a tourist myself sometimes, being a frequent visitor to Cuba and Canada and I’ve witnessed all sorts of folks enthusiastically welcome others from all over the world.

It’s always appreciated by me wherever I am in the world.

I often hear folks say that when you live in an area you don’t really appreciate it, but that’s something that I personally don’t adhere too.

A walk through Balloch Park in the cold of an October morning, admiring the secret walled garden, the Canadian maple in full autumnal bloom, a view over to Stoneymollan glimpsed through the morning mist, the oak trees turning off their summer bloom welcoming the sudden change into autumn - who cannot appreciate that?

Wherever we go it’s worth remembering that everyone expects to be welcomed with a warm and welcoming smile and thoughtful greeting, instead of lowering your eyes to the ground and walking past.

Try to find the confidence to say hello to folks visiting our village and welcome them to our first-class location, as they’ll be more likely to return and highly likely to recommend a visit to their friends and family.

We are all influencers, not just on social media, but whatever we do in life our actions and words are remembered. Just as in a first meeting with someone, we form an immediate opinion of them which often stays forever.

Scottish hospitality is world class, let’s continue to keep that well deserved accolade where it belongs, in Scotland, the best wee country in the world.

And keep Balloch the most welcoming wee village in Scotland.