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Scone Spy: Our cafe critic checks out Blackbird Tearoom in Carradale, Kintyre

The Blackbird Tearoom
The Blackbird Tearoom

Scone Spy is on a family holiday and, as is often the case when the destination of choice is the Scottish coast, it is raining.

But there is one place that will provide great shelter… the local tearoom!

Our location is Carradale, a small village halfway down the Kintyre peninsula which boasts stunning views across to Arran, some fine local eateries and a golf course.

We take a short bike ride to The Blackbird Tearoom, which operates out of a cosy cabin at the foot of a forest trail leading high up into the hills.

A cafe has been here for many years, but this latest incarnation under new owners has only been running since February.

A popular spot with locals, it’s also bustling with visitors who, like us, have taken the trip up the track from the nearby campsite.

The scone

Before tucking in, a little bit of history to whet the appetite. Next door is a fascinating little heritage centre that details the story of the village, from the early communities of crofters and fishermen to becoming a holiday hotspot in the heyday of Clyde steamers.

Novelist and poet Naomi Mitchison lived in nearby Carradale House until her death in 1999, welcoming notable visitors including James Callaghan, Roger Bannister and J.R.R. Tolkien, who is thought to have carried out the final corrections on The Two Towers while staying there.

There’s plenty of pen-to-paper action here this Monday lunchtime as the cafe – which is closed Tuesday / Wednesday – is particularly busy with the young couple running the place doing a stellar job.

Their brunch menu is excellent, featuring soups, sandwiches and hot and cold filled rolls that come in extra large portions.

There’s just enough room though for a little tasty treat. I chose the scone, of course, with the rest of the family picking a turbo Tiffin and the raspberry-infused Cranachan cake.

The warm scone is a real treat and comes with butter, raspberry jam and a healthy dollop of cream. The texture is spot on and it’s a decent size. All three cakes are delicious and the perfect feast after a trek – or before another one to burn them off.

Scone Score

In Tolkein territory, Bilbo Baggins would approve of the scones! Very tasty. 9/10​