Louise Lennox and the Glenshieling Girls

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If you've ventured out and about round Blairgowrie recently you may have spotted a particularly unusual sight... chickens wearing hi-vis vests. This glorious spectacle is none other than the famous Glenshieling Girls, much-loved brood of Louise Lennox, the busy owner of Glenshieling House B & B. 

Louise hails from Glasgow - "I’m a weegie!" - and spent the first part of her career - 33 years in fact - working as a nurse in the NHS.

"I was hospital based prior to completing my degree in community public health and for the last 10 years I was working as a health visitor in glasgow which was very challenging, but incredibly rewarding. I still miss the families and my colleagues at times.

The Glenshieling girls became a global phenomenon!"Nowadays, as the owner of a busy guest house, I get up at 6.45 to prep for our guests’ breakfast. We source our food locally as much as we can and I make all our marmalades and jams (using our local berries). It’s just as well I love making pancakes as this is a very popular breakfast request!"

She may be west coast girl originally, but she loves getting out into Perthshire and is particularly fond of the awesome home baking at Palmerstone's in Dunkled followed by a wander through the Hermitage, or a trip to Abernyte Antiques Centre for a browse and a spot of lunch.

All of this of course, when she isn't out walking with her Glenshieiling girls... it's as though our first question has been waiting for her answer! 

Glenshieling - Chicken with Jacket

Tell us the weirdest / funniest thing that has ever happened to you at work? 

I keep a flock of chickens in the grounds of the house to provide the eggs for breakfast. I didn’t realise how attached I would become to them and how much fun they would prove to be. They are known affectionately as the 'Glenshieling girls'.

One or two in particular liked to wander down the driveway and onto the road. So I decided to get them specially designed luminous pink hi-viz vests (for hens) with 'Glenshieling girl' and the house phone number on each vest so the girls could be returned if they ventured too far.

I took some film on my phone and put it on our glenshieling house facebook and twitter pages. Next thing I got a call from an stv news reporter and before we knew it we were on the tea-time news all over Scotland.

Things went a bit crazy after that. The glenshieling girls were in news articles and video on-line all over the world. The video went viral. Then I got a message from a reporter in new york from NBC news. A phone interview followed. It was pretty surreal sitting in my office wathching the girls free-range round the garden while I was being interviewed by an NBC reporter from New York.

So the Glenshieling girls became a global phenomenon! It was great fun and it turned out to be a fantastic marketing opportunity for the guest house too. All in a day’s work!

If I had a pound for every guest that asked the question “!s that you finished after breakfast then?” I would be able to retire!

What signals the start of your days off?

If I had a pound for every guest that asked the question “is that you finished after breakfast then?” I would be able to retire!

We are on the go 7 days a week in high season from 6.45 to often after 10 o’clock at night. From prepping & serving breakfast then clearing up to then checking guests out and often acting as an unofficial tour guide to help them get the most out of their stay in Scotland. Then the rooms need to be turned around for new guests checking later that day.

We need to attend to admin, respond to emails, answer the phone as well as ensuring we are fully stocked with all our supplies. So often we need to go to our local suppliers which we then combine with lunch or coffee as a treat. Then its checking in new guests over the course of the afternoon and evening, making dinner reservations or helping solve guest problems – car rentals and flat tyres are surprisingly common and we can help if there’s a language barrier.

Prep for the next mornings breakfast… then phew! We collapse into bed usually just before midnight to get up and do it all over again the next morning! It’s hard work but we get to meet really interesting people from all over the world and receive lovely compliments about the house and the breakfasts!

Who wouldn’t want to do a job where you get such lovely feed-back on a daily basis?

What might people be surprised to know about you?

I lived on a tiny island off the west coast of Scotland for ten years.

Glenshieling - Louise with Chicken

What is at the top of your bucket list?

I was hugely into horses when I was younger and used to have my own pony called Jet. I just don’t have the time anymore but I would love to go on a working holiday on a dude ranch in the states and herd cattle while on horseback.

What is the worst job you’ve ever had?

Working in an office as an office junior. I didn’t last long before I followed my calling as a nurse.

Who or what inspires you?

It would be someone who has overcome great adversity in life and has used that to become an inspiring individual determined to bring about positive change in those around them.

Tell us about the day you’d love to live again?

That’s a difficult one… it would have to be the births of my four children and the day I got married... awe… although I know that is acutally five days!

What’s the best part about your job?

Meeting lovely guests... and working for yourself!

Complete this sentence; the best things in life are…

Your friends and family… that is what brings you happiness and is something that can’t be bought!

Glenshieling House is based in Blairgowrie, East Perthshire. 

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