Spying scones for a living and hanging out in cosy cafes is all well and good, but sometimes it’s nice to take a break and enjoy a breath of fresh air.
And last week, I decided that’s exactly what I was in the mood for doing.
So, keen for a scone holiday, I pulled on my wellies, drafted in a couple of companions and headed for the hills and the National Museum Of Rural Life, one of Lanarkshire’s hidden gems. Packed with tractors of all sizes as well as a couple of combine harvesters, it charts Scotland’s farming and agricultural heritage.
For adults, it offers a lesson in history. But there’s lots for little ones too, from the garden detectives’ room to the hive, where they can dress up as bees and beekeepers and learn about pollination.
However, when you head up the hill, the real fun begins. After negotiating the winding path, we arrive at the farm, which has fields full of pigs, sheep, chickens, horses and Highland cows.
Sheltering from the cold, there are a few calves in the barn, one of which was just born a few hours ago. It’s still a little wobbly on its feet.
As we wander back to the museum, I’m starting to feel a little peckish and, to my surprise, I discover the museum has its own cafe, The Shielings.
This is a lovely, bright and airy space with ceiling-to-floor windows, offering stunning views of the countryside.
Big vases of flowers on the tables and flecks of green in the décor bring the outside in, as do the walls, which sport photos of farmers and cows.
I was supposed to be taking a day off from scones, but, before I know it, I’m peering into the display cabinet filled with sweet treats.
Among the empire biscuits the size of saucers, wedges of mint chocolate slice and everything in between, I spy a couple of scones and decide it would be rude not to try one.
We plonk ourselves on one of the sofas, which has a cosy throw draped over it. Sadly, the coffee machine is on the blink, so we choose hot chocolate with skooshy cream and marshmallows.
After spending all afternoon in the fresh air we’re famished. A big bowl of wedges to share will do nicely so we order one, followed by a selection of cakes and, of course, a scone.
Fresh out of the oven every morning, they’re few and far between by the end of the day, but we are in luck.
A cheery waitress brings the wedges to the table. They’re piping hot and delicious with a splodge of ketchup and mayo on the side. Then its time for the pièce de résistance. Slicing into the scone, it’s clear to see why these are bestsellers.
For starters, they’re huge and, with a beautiful golden crust and fluffy inside, they’re the perfect consistency.
However, one scone is just too much for me, so I gift the other half to my other half. It’s too nice to waste.
With full bellies, we head off back into the cold for a play in the park and a seat on the old TE Ferguson tractor out front. I realise it’s true what they say… you can never really take a wee-calf work, but that’s not always a bad thing!
Shielings Cafe, National Museum Of Rural Life, East Kilbride
Certainly the cream of the crop when it comes to hospitality. 9/10
A cosy cafe offering a real breath of fresh air. 9/10
Big, and bursting with flavour. 9/10