Day trip to Attadale Gardens

As I mentioned in an earlier blog [18th June 2011 – Day trip to Applecross] we were keen to visit the Attadale Gardens at Strathcarron, and as the weather today was so warm and sunny and we took the opportunity to see these gardens at their best.

Attadale House and Gardens from the cliff-top viewpoint

On arrival we were greeted by one of the gardeners who explained a bit about the various themed gardens and the different sculptures to look out for. The gardener was busy cleaning the huge pond that is sited at the entrance of the gardens, and as I was admiring the beautiful plants and shrubs he pointed out the hundreds of tadpoles congregated at the pond’s edge that were jostling for prime position in the sunniest spot: apparently they like the heat. It was also amazing to see loads of minute sized frogs leaping in and out of the water.

Standing within the gardens is Attadale House, which was built in 1755 by Donald Matheson. Throughout the years the house and gardens have changed ownership a number of times and today they belong to Ewen and Nicky Macpherson. They have restored the gardens following the devastation that was caused by the exceptional gales of the 1980s.

The house has a “fairytale castle” appearance about it and I can imagine that the views from the rooms must be breathtaking. The gardens surrounding the house have been designed and laid out into different themes that effectively complement one another. There were also some stunning sculptures tucked away in various sites around the gardens – the best of which, in our opinion at least, was a bronze cheetah in full flow. Another one that did resonate with us was an inscription carved into a slab of hillside rock, which read simply: “Life is not a rehearsal”. We certainly ascribe to that sentiment.

The flowers throughout each section were truly beautiful with many producing delightful aromas, and the ferns, in the fernery, were phenomenal both in size and appearance. Unfortunately, we may have been just a little too late in the season to see the rhododendrons in full bloom but with the huge variety of types we could imagine that they would have looked spectacular. I was very envious of The Kitchen Garden, which had a magnificent array of fruits and vegetables that looked in perfect condition. As we walked through The Japanese Garden there was a feeling of serenity arising from the simple yet inspiring layout. The Viewpoint, as the name suggests, sat above a rocky crag and provided a platform to overlook much of the grounds and also gave us some fantastic views beyond to Loch Carron and its surrounding hills.

To end this most splendid day we had a cup of tea at the DIY tearoom – serve yourself and leave the required money in a dish!

Needless to say we had taken quite a few photographs, 81 to be exact, but we have picked out a selection, in the slideshow below, to give you a flavour of this marvellous place.

[The gardens, which are not part of the National Trust for Scotland, costs £4.50 for adults – and in our opinion is worth every penny of this entry fee.]

About Elaine Speirs

Elaine comes from Hamilton near Glasgow and her interests in the outdoor scene began at University. She is a keen mountaineer, climber, cyclist and skier. Her first mountaineering exploit was going up the North Face of Ben Nevis after which she was “hooked” on the mountains. She has also climbed outside of the UK, particularly in the Dolomites, Chamonix and Majorca.
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