There’s nothing like a good walk for working up an appetite.
In fairness, it doesn’t take much of a walk to get your Spy’s tummy rumbling.
A wander into the kitchen to make a cuppa can be all it takes to feel like a nibble.
So, you can imagine that a bracing walk in the countryside is going to result in a hearty desire to tuck in. And, boy, is there a lot of tramping available at Hirsel County Park in Coldstream.
It’s a massive expanse of the finest of Scotland’s outdoors in the grounds of Hirsel House, which is pretty big itself.
After a hike round and a gander at the lake, with ducks paddling along by the side, there was time for a look around the craft shops in the courtyard.
But after a good old browse, stomach-stuffing rather than retail therapy moved to the top of the agenda. And the tearoom was right to hand. It’s – well, the name is a clue even Inspector Clouseau couldn’t miss – in one of the substantial courtyard cottages.
Tucked away in the countryside though it may be, it’s definitely no secret.
Word is obviously out that Hirsel’s a hot choice.
Even mid-morning on a Saturday in the middle of winter, there were a fair few customers.
The café is low-roofed, but with big windows and a skylight allowing the watery sunshine to stream in, it felt bright and airy.
That sense was added to by the light yellow walls, covered in bright prints and with a big old Welsh dresser against one wall filled with jam, honey and other tasty goodies.
The menu had plenty of tempting choices including filled rolls, hot dogs, burgers and sweet selections like apple pie and meringues.
And as it was that perfect sweet spot between brekkie and lunch, brunch beckoned. My companion and I both chose the toasted paninis, one ham and cheese and the other a tuna and cheese melt.
The lady apologised, explaining that we’d caught her on the hop a bit with her preparation and it’d take about 15 minutes.
It was said with a cheery smile and it was certainly no issue – we weren’t in a fast food mood.
The time was nicely filled by trying one of the homemade scones. Cheese or fruit were the choices sitting on a tray straight out of the oven. The fruit one wasn’t the biggest in the world, but it was lovely, firm and with loads of fruit.
The paninis, when they duly arrived, were yummy. And as we munched, with the low hubbub of chat from the other customers in the background, there was that warm glow that comes from finding a homely little eatery.
Coldstream and Hirsel may be a new discovery for Scone Spy, but it was definitely one worth making.
LOCATION LOCATION 7/10
WARM WELCOME 8/10
SCONE SCORE 8/10