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Scone Spy: Our cafe critic checks out The Boathouse at Auchinstarry Marina

© SYSTEMThe Boathouse at Auchinstarry Marina, Kilsyth
The Boathouse at Auchinstarry Marina, Kilsyth

Why is there something so quaintly charming about canals? Perhaps it is their still, calming waters, or that they are often lined with nostalgia-tugging Rosie and Jim-style barge boats.

Strolling alongside these ribbons of water as ducks ruffle their feathers and dogs paddle along with you, is one of Scone Spy’s favourite things to do, no matter the season or weather.

The Boathouse, which sits snugly in Auchinstarry Marina, is a hotbed of activity in the summer. Canoers and paddle boarders (and a few brave wild swimmers) often start their journeys from outside the establishment, while its terrace area allows the less sporty to enjoy a tipple in the sun.

On a cold but bright morning in frosty January it is a bit quieter but there are still some hardy canoers taking to the water as we make our way into The Boathouse. It is time to put this scenic hidden gem to the ultimate test and find out how good their scones are.

But first, breakfast. The Boathouse is a little bit more upmarket and thus their dishes are fancier (and more expensive) than most places, but despite the slightly higher than average price tag, their Stornoway Egg Stack was delicious.

Inside, it is spacious and comfortable, and I’m sure if they ever lit a fire in their large fireplaces, it would be reminiscent of a cosy Highland lodge. (Incidentally, it also offers boutique style bedrooms.) Almost every table has a wonderful view of the marina, and guests can take in the array of different boats and barges that are tied up there.

The servers are lovely and polite, and as The Boathouse also allows dogs inside, we were able to enjoy the canine shenanigans of the other guests’ gorgeous pups.

Soon, it is time for the grand finale as the plain scone we ordered arrives at our table. A little on the small side, made even more so by the excessive amount of cream and jam it comes with, it is still a tasty and excellent scone. Light and airy, it is the perfect sign-off to what has been a lovely breakfast, even if it was a smidge brief for Scone Spy’s usual liking.

Scone score

Smaller than we’d have liked but utterly delicious.

★★★★