BIG­GAR THE BET­TER

Scone Spy takes a de­tour to Big­gar for some tasty treats.

The Sunday Post (Newcastle) - - MATCH -

If you go down to the woods to­day, you’re sure of a big sur­prise.

You’ll find a rav­en­ous Scone Spy, with a rum­bling belly and muddy shoes com­muning with na­ture… if you’re any­where near The Big Red Barn, any­way.

I’m at South Mel­bourne Farm, El­srickle, just north of Big­gar, hav­ing taken a wee de­tour while trav­el­ling be­tween Ed­in­burgh and Glas­gow, and needed some­where to re­fuel with a good old cuppa and a tasty scone.

The Big Red Barn might seem like it’s out in the mid­dle of nowhere but it’s a pop­u­lar stop-off point for folk trav­el­ling across the cen­tral belt and is busy when we ar­rive.

As well as the cafe, there are nu­mer­ous other rea­sons to stop by.

It’s got a shop, a pie stall called the Lit­tle Red Pie Shed and, with 80 acres of wood­land, a num­ber of sign­posted walks to ex­plore, hence the tagline “food, goods and woods”.

In­side, it’s nice and bright with a huge, round cake dis­play that you sim­ply can’t miss.

And there’s shelves team­ing with jars of jam, chut­neys and so on, many of which seem to be made in-house, plus var­i­ous fancy nick­nacks which are sure to please tourists.

But I’m more in­ter­ested in the menu.

De­cid­ing I’ll grab a pie for the road, I go for smoked salmon and poached egg on wheaten toast which turns out to be a thick slice of North­ern Ir­ish soda bread, and rather nice, too.

The staff are lovely and our drinks and food come out very quickly, even though they are rushed off their feet.

Now I’m not usu­ally one to go on about a salad – I’m more of the carb-lov­ing kind – but the but­ter­nut squash and bean salad that comes with my dish is de­li­cious!

It’s not the best smoked salmon I’ve tasted, to be hon­est, but it’s a nice dish all the same.

And since I’ve done some walk­ing, a wee cake in­dul­gence can’t hurt.

I try a slice of car­rot cake, which is sadly a bit more style over sub­stance.

The spices make it taste more like Christ­mas cake (it’s still far too early for fes­tive treats!) and the cream cheese frost­ing is more like sweet royal ic­ing.

The fruit scone is very nice, though, but what re­ally makes it is the home­made straw­berry jam.

It’s so good I’m tempted to buy some on my way out, be­fore I re­mem­ber I al­ready have a dozen jars of jam and mar­malade in the cup­board back home.

It comes with the scone-scoff­ing ter­ri­tory.

It’s only when we’re back on the mo­tor­way I re­alise I’ve for­got­ten to grab a pie for later.

Ah well, I know where to stop for lunch on the way back then.

Red means stop for scones, pies or what­ever good­ies take your fancy at Big Red Barn.

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