Pitlochry is a huge tourist destination and has lots of good hotels but Fonab Castle Hotel is definitely at the boutique end of the market. We have stayed here before and thoroughly enjoyed everything about it .. the service, the decor, the setting, in fact everything you would expect from a 3 rosette AA 5 star hotel. It also has recently added a very fine Spa facility which you might want to try, especially if you have overindulged in the scone department .. believe me, it is very easily done. This time we were here for a champagne dinner (as you do) and if that was not indulgent enough, we managed to squeeze in a cream tea in the afternoon. We have long thought that the Fonab might actually produce the best scones in the world but, of course, these things require constant checking. We were not to be disappointed. Beautifully served and presented with crisp white linen napkins, clotted cream and a variety of jams .. the scones were to die for .. light and fluffy, melt in the mouth .. how do they do it?
Later, at dinner we had an opportunity to ask the head chef Paul Burns what the secret ingredient was .. and he actually told us … ‘happiness in the kitchen’, brilliant, definitely going to try some of that. As you might expect Fonab Castle is not the cheapest place to go for a scone, it is about £11.00 for a cream tea but you do get first class service, beautiful presentation, two fabulous scones, beautiful views of Loch Faskally and as much tea or coffee as you can drink. You should definitely try it.
We were actually heading for the Loch Fyne Oyster Restaurant and Bar at Cairndow only to find out that they don’t do scones .. nor much else to go with a cuppa .. black mark. Undaunted we went next door to the Tree Shop Café where we were told that they did not have any scones either .. aaargghh! Since there is nothing else for miles we ordered some other goodies to go with our cuppa. On finding a seat however we looked over only to see a whole new batch of steaming hot scones being removed from an oven. A’hmm, what are these?
The lovely lady serving us apologised profusely saying that she had completely forgotten that there was a batch baking. No problem whatsoever, our cakes were exchanged immediately for fresh hot scones.
The Tree Shop is what you might call a typical garden centre café .. a bit soleless and nothing to write home about … and as it turned out neither was the scone but we enjoyed it nevertheless
Because it is situated in Tyndrum at a bifurcation in the road, one road takes you north to Fort William and the other west to Oban, this is a an extremely busy stop-off place for cars, motorbikes and tour buses … just as well it has a huge car park to cater for all the traffic. There are several shops as well as the Green Welly café which is correspondingly big and must cater to thousands and thousands of tourists, hence you can get pretty much anything you want on a self service basis. Needless to say it was the scones we were after.
To be fair they were better than expected but struggling to get above average … which is pretty good for someplace so busy. Jam was extra. All in all it was pretty much what you would expect from a place like this .. did the job and that is what the Green Welly is set up to do.
When you visit Oban and have done McCaig’s Folly, the shops, the harbour and the distillery you may feel in need of a cuppa and a scone. The Coffee Corner is not far from the Harbour and opposite one of Oban’s best pubs, Aulay’s Bar. Don’t get your hopes up too far however. Not much in the way of atmosphere and the surroundings, like the scones, were a bit utilitarian. No table service and the scones come pre-buttered .. just why anyone would want to do this is quite beyond me .. do they know how much butter, if any, people want? My scone came with too much butter and the scone itself could probably best be described as ‘firm’. My coffee was fine as was Pat’s tea. We wish The Coffee Corner well but it needs to brighten itself and it’s service up a bit .. just a bit tired and uninspiring. We like to promote the small independent businesses wherever possible but just as well Costa, next door, don’t do scones.
PA34 4LL tel: 01631 562 588 Coffee Corner TA
It is not every day you drive 13 miles down a dead end single track road .. for a scone, especially when neither of us were feeling great with flu still hanging on both of us. Was it worth all the effort .. you bet! Greeted by Catherine and some very welcoming staff we were soon seated in front of a blazing fire in the bar and before long our scones were brought to us, toasted (wonderful touch) and with little jars of cream and jam, fantastic, what more could you ask for .. especially when you are not feeling one hundred percent.
And all excellent value considering the fabulous surroundings and the stupendous location.
Scones by the fire and fabulous view towards Ben Lui with a crannog in the foreground this scone experience could easily make it into our ‘top scones’ category.
Ardanaiseig (pronounced (ar-den-ass-ay) was built in 1834 by Colonel James Archibald Campbell when the journey was not a 13 mile drive on a single track road but one on horseback. They obviously thought it was worth it, and we agree. If you do make it you should also have a look at the huge oil painting in the dining room which the current owner (Bennie Gray, antique dealer) had modified because he did not know anyone in the original. There are other similarly adapted paintings dotted around the corridors.
If you find yourself in Dunkeld on a wet March day and a bit tired of walking round the town you could do a lot worse than pop into Palmerston’s Coffee Shop on the main street. It is small and welcoming with a wonderful display of home made jams which have been super successful in the World Jampionships over recent years. We had the raspberry and nectarine and it was not difficult to see why it had been such a hit. Also, each table had a note with the wifi password .. great, wish everywhere did this rather than tediously having to ask. Scones are a little bit different in that they are obviously baked in the round and then quartered to give a sort of triangular end result. They were light and airy with generous amounts of fruit and we could have had plain or even a rock bun. Served with a little bowl of clotted cream we thought it was great value for money. Come to think of it, it does not have to be a wet March day, anytime would be good for Palmerston’s.