Lunch at the Scottish Pantry, Castle Douglas

Our visit to the Scottish Pantry is a rather rushed one. We’re in the middle of a whistle-stop tour of Dumfries and Galloway as guests of Visit Scotland, and our itinerary is jam-packed. Nevertheless, we’re seated with efficiency by the team at this Castle Douglas tearoom, and our food doesn’t take long to arrive. Plates piled high with filled sandwiches are placed on the table; we’re treated to tomato, potato and chickpea soup; and the staff even make a massive prawn roll for me (the awkward gluten free customer).

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Caroline Robertson — the Visit Scotland rep for this area — introduces us to Keith Kirk and Cowan Scott, who are masterminding a new venture in this neck of the woods (quite literally). Keith, who’s been a ranger and nature photographer for years, will be leading nocturnal wildlife tours. These guided safaris transform participants into a James Bond / David Attenborough hybrid, as they’re kitted up with night vision equipment, cameras and heat-detecting hardware. This sounds like an ideal present for my dad, but would also make a change from those awkward ice-breaker events in the office.

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We continue to chat as the cakes arrive. This is home baking at its most comforting: lemon drizzle cake, mint slice, cherry and raisin tiffin, Mars Bar crispy cake, white chocolate tray bake… We can’t eat it all, but it makes an excellent midnight snack after a tense game of Jenga at our accommodation, the 3 Glens. Safe to say, if I’m ever back in Castle Douglas I know where I’m going for tea and cake…

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The Scottish Pantry also offer catering for weddings, parties etc. Head to their website for more information.

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