On my last visit to Scotland the country estate near my parents house was holding a Garden Open Day. Twice a year the grounds of Aigas are opened to the public in partnership with Scotland’s Garden Scheme to raise money for the Highland Hospice.
Aigas is a family home owned by Sir John Lister-Kaye, a naturalist and writer on conservation and Lady Lucy Lister-Kay who’s passion is the garden which is she has developed over the last 25 years.
The estate also operates the Aigas Field Centre which has been offering wildlife holidays for over 35 years. From bird watching and photography to learning holidays and courses the centre has a global reputation for it’s conservation work and is highly regarded for it’s guided wildlife trips.
The wider grounds boast a wide variety of habitats for local wildlife such as pine martens, beaver, red squirrels and deer. Programme Manager Duncan McNeill took us on a guided walk around the area which was used by the BBC in their Autumnwatch and Winterwatch series. He was an excellent guide pointing out places of interest and telling us about the trees, plants and animals that make Aigas their home.
After returning from our hour long tour we had a wander around the garden before heading into the house for tea, sandwiches and home made cakes. The tables had been pushed together in the grand hallway and a ceilidh band sat on the stairs playing traditional Scottish music while we ate.
The whole experience was lovely and it was a treat to have a peak into the lives of a family so important to the local area, especially as the funds raised went to such a good cause.
The next Garden Open Day is on the 27th July from 2-5pm. Entry is £3 per person and children under 16 are free, teas are an additional £3 per head.