Luncheon, Lomonds and Lime

I started writing this post weeks ago, got waylaid with other things and forgot to complete it; today I found it again and thought it was high time I finished it off.

I began tapping it out just after I’d lunched with a chum near Kinross, in the delightful Loch Leven’s Larder.

On that occasion I didn’t take photographs of the main course, but I had a large bowl of minestrone soup (spelt ministrone on the menu, although there was nothing miniature about it), which was very tasty, and my chum had a Ploughman’s sandwich.

Loch Leven’s Larder is one of the many eateries in Perthshire that provides truly excellent scones. We each opted for a fruit scone, which was served with butter and raspberry jam.

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They also do very nice Teapigs tea, and we swished our scones down with several cupfuls.

After our repast, when we had gone our separate ways, I scooted off towards the Lomond Hills, with the intention of clocking up a bit of healthy exercise

The Lomond Hills, I can tell you (courtesy of my lunch chum, who’s a geologist by trade), were “formed by a series of igneous sills made of dolerite. Sills are igneous intrusions formed when magma forces its way between layers of sedimentary rock. Dolerite is an intrusive form of basalt and is hard and resistant to erosion, which is why it forms hills”.

Off I trotted up a marked path towards East Lomond.

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All the way up I met not a single soul, but plenty of birds of the lbj (little brown job) variety, as well as a few sheep that were grazing on the hill’s slope.

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I tried to engage the sheep in conversation, but they were having none of it. I could understand their concentration on their task, having not long surfaced from the nosebag myself.

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As is the way of things at the tops of hills, there was a bit of a view from the summit.

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There was also a direction indicator (a concrete block about 4ft high with a circular plate on top indicating the names of the hills in the distance). I approached it at the same time as two other people, who had come up from a path on the other side of the hill.

This was unfortunate timing, as we all wanted to lean on the concrete block after our climb up. I gave way to them as they were somewhat longer in the tooth than me and perhaps more in need of a leaning post. Instead, I walked around admiring the views in all directions, and appreciated the strong cooling gusts of wind that buffeted me.

Getting down was a much quicker affair than climbing up, partly because I ran most of the way, which was a most exhilarating business.

At the bottom of the slope I saw something I’d glanced at on my way up, and decided to take a closer look:

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The limekiln trail occupied a somewhat boggy area with an old limekiln and a pond in it, and a number of information boards dotted about:

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From the boards I learned some interesting things, including the fact that the high content of lime in the soil and water had led to great ecological diversity. Contained in this small area there was a surprising variety of plants and animals, including orchids, butterflies, dragonflies and birds.

One of the boards explained that the ecological value of this place was a product of its industrial history, which pleased me and reminded me of the machair, grassy plains that explode with wildflowers in the summer and support a lot of wildlife. The machair is typical of the Outer Hebrides and its success is apparently due to the way the land is managed by crofters, who farm on a small scale in an environmentally beneficial manner. This is a bit different from the limekilns situation, but another example of how man and nature can work well together.

When I’d been round all the boards, I went back out of the gate and ran along the grassy path towards the car park. ┬áThe hill in the distance is West Lomond, the other prominent peak in the Lomond Hills.

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After all that running around, climbing hills and whatnot, you might imagine I was in need of some refreshment, and you’d be quite right.

I made for a favourite tearoom of mine, Pillars of Hercules, just outside Falkland in Fife and only a few miles from the Lomond Hills.

Although in the hills it had been rather overcast, just a little lower down in Falkland it was gloriously sunny. It was so nice, in fact, that I opted to sit outside the toilet block, which was a much more pleasant arrangement than you might think from that description. The tables (and, rather luxuriously, footstools) were made out of bits of tree trunk:

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Given the surprisingly high temperature of the afternoon, I decided to forego my usual hot beverage and chose a deliciously sweet cloudy apple juice. The juice alone would probably have been quite sufficient, as I was more thirsty than hungry, but I accidentally ordered a seeded sort of granola type flapjack at the same time:

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It proved to be a happy accident, being very tasty and satisfying, and just the thing to sustain me on my drive home.

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Categories: Birds, Fife, Lomond Hills, Perthshire, Photography, Scone, Scotland, Sheep, Soup, Tea, Tearooms | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 44 Comments

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44 thoughts on “Luncheon, Lomonds and Lime

  1. Wouldn’t mind one of your scones with my mug of tea right now

    • I wouldn’t mind one of those either, in fact I stopped writing this reply for a short time there in order to go and make some fruit scones. Sometimes it becomes quite urgent.

  2. What an extraordinary view!! My oh my, you have convinced me to head to Scotland once of these July’s!! And of course, the scone looks beyond heavenly!

    • Oh, that’s great! I hope you do make it to Scotland some time, it’s a lovely place (but then I would say that), and there are always scones to tempt you over with. :-)

  3. What a great description! I’m really curious about that last “flapjack.” Was it crunchy or chewy?

    • Thank you, I had to give that a bit of thought because it was a few weeks ago that I ate it, but I seem to remember it being more of the chewy than crunchy variety. Crispy on the outside, but inside all about the chew, and full of seeds and other interesting ingredients. It was really good, I would definitely have it again.

  4. Beautiful scenery and looks like a tasty snack :)

  5. Well now, to quote my Grampa, you learn something every day. Today, amongst other things, I have learned that the Lomond Hills are not near Loch Lomond! I was trying to work out what your view was, and when I got to the part about Falkland being nearby, I had to resort to an online map. Mrs. Wikipedia tells me that the Lomond Hills are also called the Paps of Fife. Needing a cup of tea myself now – phew!

    I’ve long heard about the Pillars of Hercules and wanted to go there, as well as to spend some time in Falkland. Such an extraordinary name for a tearoom/farm shop!

    You certainly get around Scotland, Lorna. It’s great for those of us who aren’t able to gallivant as much as they would like. Do you have a little van with “Lorna’s Tearoom Delights” painted on it and your url? If not, you should give that some thought!

    • It had never occurred to me that Loch Lomond and the Lomond Hills might be confused, but now that you mention it, it’d be perfectly natural to assume they’d be near each other. Well done with looking it up on Wikipedia!

      Falkland is a really beautiful place, one of the little spots I like to buzz off to every now and then, for the loveliness of the village itself as much as for the tearooms. I keep meaning to do a post about it, I have plenty of pictures I could use. Pillars of Hercules is quite possibly one of my Top Ten Tearooms in Scotland, there’s nowhere else quite like it and the freshness of their own grown salads is a sheer joy.

      I love the idea of a little “Lorna’s Tearoom Delights” van, such a thought had never occurred to me but now I really want one! :-)

  6. Morag

    Great blog today stirring happy memories for me I have climbed both Lomonds many times as I spent my holidays in the East Neuk of Fife with my cousins . Probably why my knees are giving up now.
    Will remember the Falkland place for a future visit. I too am partial to Tea Pigs – Liquorice and Mint my fav.

    • Thank you, it’s wonderful to do a post about somewhere that resonates with people, I’m delighted to have stirred some happy memories. :-) The East Neuk of Fife is, I think, an unexpectedly beautiful area of Scotland, full of surprises, lovely little seaside villages and some excellent tearooms. I keep seeing that Teapigs Liquorice and Mint, it seems to be very popular, but I haven’t tried it yet.

  7. Scone wins every time! Jam and cream, please. :)

  8. Please, Lorna, post some pictures of ugly strip centers, overcrowded freeways, advertising billboards, garbage on the ground, and Big Macs so I won’t be so envious.

  9. Yet another quirky tales of the adventuress Lorna! Did I hear you say a surprisingly warm day in Scotland!?! ;)

    • “Quirky tales of an adventuress” – great title for a book! :-) You read it right, Alice, it was a surprisingly warm day, well into the 20sC, which is hot for us!

  10. Glad you got around to finishing your post. Beautiful and informative!

  11. What a great day… and fabulous looking scones! You live in an incredible area, I can’t imagine walking alone through hills like that, having sheep to converse with…very exciting enjoying the trails through your eyes.

    • It seems so familiar to me, but it’s very nice to get that response, thank you, Linda. I think you get used to what’s around you and sometimes take it for granted, so it’s great to get other people’s reactions.

  12. Oh such memories. My primary school had two sporting houses Eden and Lomond, after the Eden River and the Lomond Hills.
    As a family we often climbed the Lomond Hills and at Easter we would roll our hard boiled Easter egg down the hill.
    You certainly had a day of healthy activity and would have earned enough Brownie points to indulge in several visits to tea shops.

    • I like your thinking, Heather, all that exercise certainly merited a snack or two. How interesting that you used to roll your egg down that very hill! It would be a wonderful area for children to run about in. I wonder if it would feel the same to you now if you went there again, you’d certainly have lots of memories by the sounds of things.

  13. The scenery and descriptions make me feel as if I just had a quick visit to Scotland! I think I’d like some juice and a treat too after all that exercise :)

    • Thanks Meg, I’m very pleased you feel you’ve had a little visit to Scotland. That juice and treat tasted really good. :-)

  14. What a lovely day out! We have never walked in the Lomond Hills, although we’ve seen them often enough from Loch Leven. Your geologist friend sounds a very useful person to have around or perhaps on speed dial! What a great view from the top – I had to laugh about the information pillar, and the idea that you ‘accidentally’ ordered the flapjack. It must have been exhilarating to run down – can’t remember when I last did any running! Since I usually get laughed at for my running style it’s not something I do often! :) The limekiln trail looks interesting too. Just the mention of the machair is enough to make me want to set off westwards. But no – can’t do it just yet! I bet it’s lovely right now!

    • Considering how often I pass them it’s amazing how seldom I’ve walked in those hills. I think the trouble is you see them en route to somewhere else, going up or down the M90, and they seem very familiar but only in passing. On the few occasions I’ve made the deliberate effort to stop there I’ve really enjoyed it. The big plus point for me in running around there was that I was on my own, so there was no-one about to criticise my running style. That chum is an extremely useful person to know; not only is he a mine of information about rocks, but is also an absolute whizz on chemistry and wine. He’s pretty top notch on lots of other subjects, too. If I were entering a quiz I’d want him on my team. I feel your pain on the machair front, I have a strong yearning to hot-foot it over to the outer isles myself.

  15. I’m with Jo on this one – there’s no way you could “accidentally” order anything on the cake or sweet front. You know more about these things than the rest of us put together. And don’t take the reticence of the sheep to converse with you personally – they never say much to me either.

    • I’m sticking with my story, I really didn’t mean to order that cake, it was a sort of automatic reaction to being asked if I wanted anything else. I looked at the order the girl had written down, which just said ‘apple juice’ and thought ‘that can’t be right, where’s the cake?’ I feel reassured by your comment about the sheep, thank you. I do so long for them to speak to me, I never give up trying to address them in the hope that one of these days I’ll get a response.

  16. I don’t know, Lorna. Scotland is making Oklahoma look might shabby! And we don’t have tearooms, blast it all!!

    • I’m constantly endeavouring to lure you over with tearooms, and that Pillars of Hercules does some tasty vegan fare. I’m sure Oklahoma has a lot to offer the discerning guest, and I for one would like to drive along Route 66 singing ‘OK City looks oh so pretty’. Not only that but there’s a whole musical about your state. I can’t claim that for where I live.

  17. I love your gentle and delightful view of life. It’s so refreshing. Wherever you go you take me right along with you.

  18. Do my eyes deceive me, or do those taciturn sheeps have green spots on their backs?

    • Your eyes are sharp, those are indeed green spots on the sheeps. I hadn’t thought to mention it before but a lot of the sheeps you see out and about here have coloured marks on them to identify them with their farm. I suppose it’s because they’re left to roam all over the place, not necessarily in enclosed pasture, so one farm’s sheeps could get mixed up with sheeps from another farm. I have occasionally seen ‘tartan’ sheeps, which are coloured with different dyes in what’s supposed to be a tartan pattern with stripes crossing each other at right angles, and sometimes most of the fleece is another colour (orange and yellow seem to be popular for this). Sometimes they have numbers on them, too. You’re making me think I should do a post about markings on sheeps.

      • Actually, I think a post about sheeps markings would be interesting, especially since it’s a merciful alternative to branding them (ouch!!). They must have quite the life, roaming free, nibbling their way through that idyllic countryside. Of course, if I were there I’d be doing exactly the same thing, only instead of grass I’d be nibbling on one of those giant scones and a nice hot cuppa! Oh, the good life. xo

        • Although I know what happens to them eventually, I do often look at them and think what a nice life they have (when it’s not freezing cold/snowing/raining). I’m thinking that the problem with doing a post about them might be getting the photos. I have terrible trouble photographing sheeps, they tend to run off whenever I get anywhere near them.

  19. Loch Leven’s Larder and Pillars are high up on my list of fav places in and near to Fife! Loch Leven’s Larder shop is lovely….as is their very reasonable afternoon tea!

    I grew up in a house that overlooks the Lomond Hills, beautiful – especially when they’re covered in snow!

    Sarah

    • What a lovely place to grow up, the Lomond Hills are glorious. I agree with you about Loch Leven’s Larder, too, you could easily spend a small fortune in their shop but I usually spend all my pennies in the cafe. :-)

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