Doune

There is a small town in Scotland called Doune (pronounced ‘doon’, as in Lorna Doone).

My delightful assistant and I tootled down to Doune recently, to do a bit of tearoom research, and noticed some mugs in a shop bearing the legend ‘Doune, Perthshire’.

This surprised me because I had no idea Doune was in Perthshire. It’s only a few miles from Stirling and I had always assumed it was in Stirlingshire. When I got home I checked up on this and discovered that although Doune does indeed (geographically speaking) reside in Stirlingshire and is administered by Stirling District Council, its postal address puts it in Perthshire. Curious.

My reason for mentioning all this is that I deliberately left Doune out of my tearoom guidebook to Perthshire, but that is not because it doesn’t have an excellent tearoom, because it does.

I didn’t take many photos inside the tearoom because it was rather busy, but I did snap a delicious home-made quiche. There were two different quiches on offer and we both plumped for the roasted vegetable option, which came with a side salad, potato salad and French bread:

It was extremely good, the quiche just melting in the mouth (I suspect it had been made with cream), and it provided sufficient energy for a mosey around the town afterwards.

Doune is an attractive little place with some lovely buildings. These houses can be found on one of the side streets off the main street:

The town has a number of shops, including some surprises, such as this one (you don’t often see independent mapmakers’ shops in Scotland these days):

We enjoyed ambling through the backstreets, looking at burgeoning gardens and interesting features:

We were particularly interested in a wooden gate at the top of some well-worn stone steps. The wall only came part of the way up the gate on either side, and was the entrance to somebody’s garden, as my delightful assistant discovered after climbing the steps and peeping over the wall:

Some of the houses appeared to be getting swallowed by their gardens:

One particularly splendid, previously ecclesiastical, building had been split down the middle and made into two houses (the split occurs between the two arches at the bottom). I would be very interested to take a look inside:

Some decades ago there was a railway line running through Doune, but the only vestige now remaining is the well kept Station House:

I don’t know if they’re discernible from this picture or not (you might need to click on the photo and then click again to enlarge), but on this gate there were various creatures and plants, including a tortoise at the right hand side of the middle crosspiece and several little mushrooms and insects along the crosspiece:

Just beyond Station House there is a new housing development, and we were surprised to find a nature reserve, complete with swans, tucked away amongst the buildings:

Prior to the 1970s this area housed a sand and gravel quarry, but has now been made into a wildlife reserve containing several ponds and bird hides:

When we ventured down to the water’s edge, the swans and their cygnets came over to say hello:

As we walked alongside the main pond we noticed that quite a few of the trees had keeled over and were now growing out into the pond more horizontally than one might expect. It made me think of Amazonian swamps:

When the sun shone, the reserve looked beautiful in its lushness:

I had been under the impression that bracket fungi only grew on dead trees, but there were several live trees covered in fungi in the reserve:

After our walk round Doune Ponds, we headed back to the car, sadly too late to partake of tea at the tearoom we’d lunched in, as it had closed by that time. However, I knew of another place nearby that stayed open a bit later, and so we headed off there for a little refreshment.

The first tearoom had been offering Lady Grey tea, and I had been thinking about this during our walk and getting myself very much in the mood for some. I had virtually no hopes for the second place having Lady Grey because it is quite an unusual tea to find in tearooms and I had no memory of having seen it there before. Imagine my utter delight when I discovered that they did indeed have Lady Grey!

My delightful assistant had ordinary black tea, and we shared a rather solid, but agreeably lemony, lemon drizzle cake:

I can imagine this being a bit of a nightmare to dust, but the tearoom’s lampstand made from stacked teacups and saucers added a nice touch to the surroundings:

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Categories: Architecture, Baking, Cake, Doune, Egg, Photography, Scotland, Tea, Teacup, Tearooms | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 36 Comments

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36 thoughts on “Doune

  1. What a delightful day of discoveries in Doune! (Some look delicious, too. :-) )

  2. What a lovely uplifting post. Delightful indeed – both the edibles and the scenery!

  3. I have been in Doune on 2 occasions; the first to visit the Castle there which puts me in mind of Monty Python and also driving through it on my way to Oban this year. Thanks for the walk through Doune that I’ve never seen. Next time I will have to get into the town proper and have a visit at the tearooms. :)

    • Thank you ajb, you remind me that I haven’t yet visited the castle, which is very remiss of me. I think I may have been taken there as a youngster but it’s high time I saw it as an adult. It’s interesting to walk round places you feel you know a bit but haven’t explored. There are always surprises to be had, it happens to me all the time, and it leaves you with a slightly different impression of the place, I find.

  4. I want to come to Scotland – it is the birth place of some of my ancestors (I am a bit of a mongrel). Love the buildings and particularly the archway with the gate.

    • Thank you LouAnn, I’m glad you liked the archway, I thought it was a beautiful little piece of construction. I’m sure it would be most interesting for you to visit Scotland and perhaps some of the exact places your ancestors came from, if you know the details. You might find you feel quite at home here with that link to the past.

  5. Aha! This should be within driving distance of our planned holiday house near Cumbernauld!

    • Great! I hope you have the chance to visit it, it’s a charming little place and if you’re at all interested in antiques there is a superb antiques centre just outside it.

  6. Hi Lorna, truly delightful! I loved those little cottages grown over with the evergreen. Also the town itself is quite quant with the little doorways and arch details too. The beautiful tree with the fungus growing over reminded me of something from Enid Byton and the far away tree, one of my all time favourite’s that I truly enjoyed as a child! :)

    • Thank you Alice, I was a bit besotted with the greenery over the cottages, I took lots of photos of this particular house and hoped the owners weren’t inside looking out and wondering what on earth I was doing standing there snapping away so much. I’m delighted that the fungus brought back happy childhood memories for you!

  7. What a lovely place!

  8. Doune looks a lovely little place – we drive through it often on the way up to Oban, but have never stopped there. I love your description of the ponds and the nature reserve. Doune also has a Castle – what better reason do I need?

    • Doune has it all! That nature reserve is lovely, the only thing spoiling it is the noise from the main road, which you can unfortunately hear quite audibly, or at least we could that day (perhaps it depends on wind direction). Doune is an interesting little place if you have a little time for a wander though.

  9. Eleenie

    Your photos have persuaded me to take a trip there one day. Lovely :-)

  10. What a peaceful place Doune is! I would love to visit some day. Your photos are lovely.

  11. Lorna, the compelling thing about your blog isn’t only the many delightful tearooms you visit, but also the vicarious tours we take of the towns and cities in which they reside. It’s quite the travel guide of Scotland, and a persuasive one at that. I can’t see how anyone reading your blog could resist visiting as soon as their piggy banks allow! Doune, with its secret garden gates and houses bursting with greenery, looks like a slice of heaven. –Lucinda

    • What a very kind comment, thank you Lucinda! I do feel fortunate to live in a country with so many quaint little towns and villages, and it’s lovely to have the chance to explore them more. It’s easy to take your home turf for granted but if you look a little deeper it can have some wonderful surprises.

  12. I am a photographer as opposed to a writer – which is quiet obvious from my limited comments and prose. What I would like to say however is the one thing that stands out about your blog is how comprehensively you cover a venue, especially the variety of images you use to capture the full essence of each location – I wonder how much the shops appreciate what amazing advertising they are getting.

    • Thank you Scott, it’s very kind of you to say so. I suppose most of them have no idea that this blog exists. It would be nice to be endorsed by VisitScotland, that might bring a few punters my way! I think that, like you, I feel fortunate to be abe to promote Scotland in some way, and if it encourages one or two people to consider visiting the country then I’d be very pleased about that.

  13. What beautiful photos! I especially like the tea cups lamp – that could have been a great front cover for your book :-) Maybe future editions!!

  14. What a beautiful place! Love you photos and the narration. Thought I was following your blog, apparently not! look forward to reading more.

    • Thank you Madhu, and thank you for follwing too. According to my list I’m following lots of people I don’t get updates from, I don’t know why that is.

  15. I’d like to visit the map shop, and the pictures of the doors and gates are exquisite! Wonderful post :)

    • Thank you very much, I can see that we share a love of doors, gates and entrances. I would be very interested to visit the map shop too, it was closed when I was there but if I go again and it’s open I must pop in.

  16. Looks like a great outing!

  17. Silvia

    Hmm, I feel like having some quiche with salad now.
    That’s a great idea to make for dinner this week.

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