Set in a tranquil location between Strathcarron and S. Strome are the beautiful Attadale Gardens. Established during the late 19th Century by Baron Schroder the well tended gardens feature a variety of flora and fauna from around the world as well as seventeen contemporary sculptures.
It was these works of art that had my son meandering the paths that wound up and across the gardens. After we paid our money the man behind the counter set my son a challenge; if he found all the sculptures he won a prize!
Attadale Gardens are a wonderful place to get lost and immerse yourself in nature and art. We crossed water gardens via Monet style bridges, took a walk in the old rhododendron dell and sneaked past many trees imported from across the world, hunting for these elusive sculptures.
Each time we came across one my son crossed it from his list. It was an adventure.
The gardens were transformed after the 1980 storms by owner Nicky Macpherson. It is now a painters’ garden, designed to frame the magnificent views of Skye and the surrounding hills. We found plenty to photograph as we ambled around, each area given over to a different theme. One area is given over to a Japanese garden containing raked gravel, pruned hedges and azaleas. It is designed for quiet reflection, although we didn’t have time to stop and contemplate my son was too busy locating the next sculpture on the list!
Another area features an old sunken garden with a variety of ferns. This leads onto an unusual geodesic dome containing a fern collection inside.
One of our favourite parts of the garden was the least formal part of all. At the back, close to the Old Rhododendron Dell, is a wooded area. This area hasn’t been revamped after the storms and visitors are invited in to build their own cairn. Now we spotted lots of cairns dotted about the Scottish Highlands as we travelled about. A cairn is a man made pile of stones and they are used as trail markers in many parts of the world. They can be seen on mountain tops, sea cliffs, in deserts, near waterways and on moorland. Being city dwellers we had never come across them before, so took great delight in building our own.
When we visited the gardens were incredibly peaceful, just a handful of visitors were taking a gentle stroll around. There was plenty of space to get lost and make up stories about fairies and trolls in the woods. We stopped from time to time on one of the many benches, just to rest and relax or take in the marvellous views all around us.
Our last treat in the gardens was coming across a large herd of Highland Cattle, or Heilan’ Coos, grazing in a field set within the gardens.
My son found all but one of the sculptures and happily claimed his prize, an Attadale Gardens pen. We had spent all morning lazily walking about the gardens, such a wonderful, inspiring and relaxing place.
Attadale Gardens, Strathcarron, Wester Ross, IV54 8YX Adult £6, 65+ £4, Child £1