Home for us is Fife however in my line of work exploring Scotland is both a joy and a privilege. I am fortunate to be able to combine my love of geography, food and culture to explore our country’s nooks and crannies. And so it was we headed for Islay, known across the world for a whisky or eight (!!), too long since I had last visited and for Bosse it was the first time. Islay is blessed with the most outstanding place to stay, Glenegedale House and this is where we headed to be welcomed by our hosts Emma and Graeme. https://glenegedalehouse.co.uk
Glenegedale is midway between Port Ellen and Bowmore, by the airport, and when I say ‘airport’ it is a dainty runway cutting a swathe through turf, where propeller planes not much bigger than model aircraft touch down infrequently! The views from Glenegedale are glorious, your eyes drawn to the glittering shore close by and the occasional activity of island life. Emma and Graeme took on Glenegedale and transformed it into a food destination, beautifully restored with incredible attention to detail. Not only are the furnishings, artwork and table appointments delightful, Emma and Graeme are incredibly service minded, assisting guests with their plans for the day, arranging chauffeurs (well you can hardly drive between multiple whisky tours!) and generally a goldmine of local information.
As the adjacent wing is their family home, Emma created a great strategy to offer a wonderful dinner to guests whilst juggling demands of family life: Dinner is served on dramatic curves of wood made from whisky barrels – what could be more appropriate here? There is a range of produce artistically adorning each whisky stave: from local seafood delicacies to aromatic charcuterie, artisan cheeses and fabulous pies, complete with chutneys and pickles, or whatever’s appropriate for the superb spread that evening. All are served with home baked breads and the meal is rounded off with one of Emma’s fine desserts, accompanied by their gifted son playing his fiddle. This is a refreshing and enticing alternative way to dine, a wonderful island experience and, after coffee, we retired to one of the beautiful drawing rooms, full to the brim and wondering how we would ever manage breakfast…. we did of course!
‘Breakfast like a King’ is certainly the mantra at Glenegedale: from Ramsay’s bacon to their own eggs, porridge with a wee dram – Bosse got a wee tutorial on that one – and fresh baked warm marmalade muffins. I have long said breakfast is so important as it is oft-times the last meal our tourists taste on Scottish soil…. well Glenegedale certainly sets the bar high!
Elsewhere on Islay I must mention the fabulous Woollen Mill with its lovely woven plaids and celebrity wall of well-known faces wearing said cloth, and the idyllic Claggain Bay where, legend has it, if you take a pebble from the beach you are sure to return, so we did, and we shall. Such a beautiful spot to tarry awhile (main photo on news).
Whilst I grant you many rightly come for the whisky and distillery tours, Islay is an enchanting island in many ways, easy to navigate with white sands, friendly folk and stunning skylines. For us the high points were visiting Finlaggan, The Centre of the Lordship of the Isles and a place of great historical importance in Scotland, where the inauguration of the MacDonald Lords of the Isles took place. The ruins, still visible, allow you to appreciate why they chose Finlaggan as their home: a calm place of natural beauty and shelter with a strong defence position. To visit is a truly moving experience.https://www.finlaggan.org
We also loved watching Native Scottish Goats close up, vilified by some as alien species but arguably with more right to Scotland than us having inhabited our isles for eight thousand years! These goats are part of Scotland’s rich biodiversity and as such recognised on Slow Food International’s Ark of Taste…so a little respect please! https://scottishfoodguide.com/places/united-kingdom/highland/acharacle/slowfood/native-scottish-goat/
More Members’ News….
The Easter Bunny is coming to Craigie’s Farm over the Easter Weekend. Easter Egg hunts, Easter afternoon tea and Easter breakfasts are all coming up. If you’ve not booked your tickets yet then all the links are below. There will be chicks and lambs on the farm during the Easter weekend too!https://craigies.co.uk/news-events/
Whighams has Seafood, Music and More! Not just all about the wine – although they have a great Wine Club! They have delicious seafood, weekly offers and live music too. Do you love seafood? Check out Moreish Moules Monday offer and The Famous Whighams Chilled Seafood Platter is back! Sounds great to me https://whighams.com
Whether you just want to say a ‘wee’ thank you or give a more extravagant gift to someone you know, Walkers have just the thing with a range of NEW and EXCLUSIVE hamper varieties to theironline shophttps://www.walkersshortbread.com/uk/
MEET THE MAKER – A MANO at Eusebi Restaurant & Deli http://eusebideli.com
Puglian Wine Dinner Tuesday 14th of May . Meet and enjoy an Evening with Winemaker from The A Mano estate. The 5 course tasting menu with emphasis on Puglian food created by our chefs , will be paired with exceptional wines from the family’s estate .
- Five Course Dinner with Puglian Winemaker £55
- Save The Date : 6th of March 2019
- The evening commences at 7pm for 7.30pm
- Book early to avoid disappointment
- For Reservations , please email firstname.lastname@example.org
Spring events and lots of lambs at Whitmuir so get along Easter Weekend for all the fun activities – Happy Easter!https://www.whitmuir.scot
Have you thought about Dumfries & Galloway for your staycation this summer? Stay at Knockinaam for 2 or more nights until the end of September and enjoy all the wonders of this beautiful region and gracious living at Knockinaam. Easter offers include an Easter themed afternoon tea on arrival and a visit to Logan fish pond. Staying with children? All children under the age of 12 in their parents room go free and they provide high tea at 6pm and breakfast. Prices start from £460 midweek or £520 weekend based on double occupancy. http://www.knockinaamlodge.com
Wonderful Easter ideas from Demijohn – you can always trust them to solve your gift conundrums! https://www.demijohn.co.uk
Sheila Fleet’s stunning jewellery experience is now open in Princes Square Glasgow – it may not have the wonderful Kirk Gallery & Café you will find on Orkney but you will experience a feast of artwork in her inspired creations – an eye candy treat and a wonderful gift to treat yourself or someone dear. https://sheilafleet.com/shops/the-kirk-gallery-cafe-orkney
Deans are launching their New Brunch Menu, available to between 12– 6pm every Sunday, packed full of Brunch style dishes, Sunday cocktails and bubbly! KIDS EAT FREE is also available (terms & conditions apply). They have also launched “£9.50 Lunch Menu.” For Menus and to Book: www.letseatperth.co.uk/menus
New menus at Cannonball House bursting with fantastic spring vegetables from Contini’s own Kitchen Garden. How about Afternoon Tea & High Tea? Easter Sundayhas a traditional Sunday Lunch roast for £17: Scottish roast leg of lamb, Carroll’s Heritage potatoes, rainbow chard, mint sauce and jus.Children’s size portion will be available for £10.00 to include milk, an apple and ice cream with chocolate mini egg topping. Sounds delicious. https://www.contini.com/cannonball