The landlady of a popular village pub says she is sad to be walking away from her passion project, but admits she is excited for new challenges.

Pauline O’Donnell took over at the Auldhouse Arms in September 2014, quickly turning the quiet country pub into a bustling bistro.

That saw the former West End restaurateur create The Lost Lamb at the Auldhouse Arms, securing a number of accolades for the transformation.

But the 47-year-old is walking away from the project, clearing the way for a new partnership to make their stamp.

Pauline told the East Kilbride News: “The venue was always one that was on my radar.

“My children went to school nearby and it was somewhere we used to go as a family for dinner and drinks. I knew it had potential and always dreamed of being able to run it.

“When the opportunity came up, I snatched at it.”

Mother to Lewis, 18, and Mirrin, 16, Pauline was known for the successful Sisters restaurant in Glasgow’s West End.

Well-thought of, the restaurant franchised out to Jordanhill with a second venue, but when they chose to close that and focus on the one venue, Pauline decided to leave.

Pauline said that the Auldhouse Arms and Lost Lamb restaurant has been a dream project for her
 

This allowed her to pursue her project in Auldhouse.

“I gave it everything I had,” she said as she stepped away almost five years to the day of taking it over.

“I had some amazing adventures here. When we took over, it hadn’t been looked after for a long time. There was a wee bit of TLC needed and we were delighted to open the restaurant back up again.

“We turned it into a restaurant-come-pub and garnered a strong following of support quickly. People backed it and we appreciated that so much.

“It’s a traditional Scottish pub, doing Scottish fayre, which is a dying concept in the industry these days. But the Auldhouse Arms has had that regardless of what’s going on elsewhere and it’s been there for decades.”

Pauline renamed the restaurant the Lost Lamb to put her own stamp on the venue and admits the project “has been a great challenge”.

Pauline has loved her time at Auldhouse

She added: “I had the honour to drive the pub, business and building into a new era and I’m happy with how I’ve left things there.

“There have been some real legends associated with this place, and I’m not saying I’m of the same calibre as some, but hopefully I’ll be remembered fondly for what I’ve done here and achieved.”

Pauline has now handed over the mantle to Gary Smith and Marco Sarao who run the Swan Inn in Eaglesham.

They have turned the Iona Pub venue into a successful gastro pub, and with full ownership of the Auldhouse Arms, it is hoped they will be able to replicate and exceed that.

The task of taking the Auldhouse Arms, pictured, forward has been handed to Gary Smith and Marco Sarao who run the Swan Inn in Eaglesham.
 

Pauline added: “I’m disappointed to step away from this place, it’s meant so much to me, but I am glad it’s someone coming into it that has good intentions for the venue and who has links to the area too.

“Hopefully they can make it into what it can be as a venue.”

The new owners have already closed the restaurant part of the venue to carry out refurbishment works, however, the public bar remains open.

It is expected the restaurant will be renamed the Allus Restaurant in a nod to how the Auldhouse Arms is known locally.

Pauline will now turn her attention to her next project.