The Shopkeeper

As the Scottish Borders gears up for the arrival of the Jim Clark Rally, so are many of the competitors who live locally Not least of which the co-drivers. All the drivers have to do is get the car ready and turn up! It’s the co-drivers who have to manage the paperwork including the meticulous Route Notes and strict Time Schedules, not just for themselves as competitors, but also for the service crews. Rallies can be won, or lost, in pre-event preparation and planning.

Claire Mole from Kelso is a former professional rally co-driver, but these days spends more time in her Kelso based business ‘The Mole House’. However, rallying is still very much to the fore in her life as she is Michael Binnie’s regular co-driver.
Over the years, the sport has taken Claire to events as far afield as Sweden and China, Finland and Monte Carlo. Spain and the USA, France and New Zealand and many more, where she has co-driven for some of the biggest names in the sport.

These days she’s more of a ‘home’ person but a visit to her shop just off the Square in Kelso provides a huge contrast to her other ‘interest’. The Mole House is a haven of colour, light and sparkle as Claire sells a huge range of beautiful objects and artefacts for the home, hotel and function. In fact, she makes many of her own quite unique sculptural and ornamental creations from driftwood, which she gathers and treats herself, and then combines with flowers for purely decorative effect.

Her nomadic past is also evident as she has sourced many of her products from suppliers and manufacturers she has met on her travels, particularly some striking Swedish glass and far eastern ornaments and sculptures.

“My Dad dragged me round rallies,” she recalls, “he drove and I navigated. I suppose that’s what started it. My Summer holidays were spent watching the Scottish Rally and we slept in the car as we followed the event round Scotland.”

“The rally has also generated a lot of interest with people in the shop asking questions. There is a lot of local interest, but I also work with ‘Visit Kelso’ and this event helps to attract more visitors and tourists, so it’s good for the area and for business.”