In search of biscuits …

The view from Castle Law

I went to Abernethy which lies a few miles up the road from Newburgh on the road to Perth in search of biscuits only to discover that Abernethy biscuits are made by Simmers who are, and always have been, based in Edinburgh. The biscuits get their name from Dr Abernethy who apparently created them to aid digestion and thereby cure many ills. They’re a cross between a butter biscuit and shortbread; the caraway seeds are the bit that aids digestion. They are also vegetarian friendly and very tasty.

You could buy some or make some:

The recipe
8 oz plain flour
3 oz caster sugar
3 oz butter
Half a level teaspoon baking powder
Half a level teaspoon of caraway seeds
One tablespoon milk
One medium egg

Sift the flour and baking powder then rub in the butter until thoroughly mixed. Mix in the sugar and caraway seeds and then add the egg and milk to make a stiff dough. Roll the mixture on a floured surface and cut out rounds with a three-inch cutter. Prick the top of the biscuits with a fork and place on greased baking tray. Bake in a pre-heated oven at 375F/190C/Gas Mark 5 for ten minutes until golden brown.

The walk

Anyway, undeterred, I decided to explore Abernethy which has been nominated a conservation village. It’s centred around an old round tower and was once the Southern Pictish capital of Scotland. Abernethy actually means ‘mouth of the Nethy’, the local burn (river). I followed a route that took me along Abernethy Glen. It was overcast but boilingly hot and nice to be in the shade of the trees – except for the millions of flies, no, not midges, little greenfly. ugh. It was an easy track but rough underfoot and I was astonished when a man on a unicycle whizzed pass me followed by his dog. An interesting and unique way to walk a dog!

Some signs were easier to see and follow than others.

When I got to the top of the glen – that sounds like a long way but the whole circular walk I did was only about 3 miles – I had a choice: follow the other side of the glen back down to the village, or detour up the road a bit and climb to the top of Castle Law en route passing pictish fort remains and enjoying a spectacular view from the top. Obviously I chose the latter.

Looking up to Castle Law

I asked a chap sitting in his garden if I was heading the right way. “Well”, he advised me “You can head up here the other side of my field and straight up – that’s the quickest but steepest route to the top. My wife does it in about 9 mins. Or you can follow the road down and take the clear, easy path up but it’s a lot longer.”

Mmmm, which to choose? long or short? easy route with seats and signs? or steep?

Foolishly I plumped for the quick but steep and found myself in my open-toed sandals walking in nettles and fighting through the rather lovely coconut-smelling prickly yellow gorse.

Even the cows thought I was crazy.

I’m not sure I actually ever found the man’s wife’s route and given that he was probably in his 70s, he either had a very fit young or old wife, or it was a few years ago, or he was just fibbing/exaggerating. Anyway, I can assure you, being the unfit person I am, it took me way longer than 9 mins to reach the top. But it was worth it and I sat in the sun and had my lunch with a great view across Perthshire. Not only that but there was a cooling breeze blowing.

It is so green here but the rape fields have totally changed the colour of the landscape. The sweet heavy scent as you drive past is quite overwhelming. The oilseed rape causes allergies in a lot of people but despite the debate and controversy surrounding its growth, it continues to be planted in huge quantities around here.

By the time I got back to the village, the tea shop had closed which was a shame in itself but also meant that I couldn’t get the key to go up the round tower. Still it’s only a 10mins drive from Newburgh so I will return another day.

Bit too much sun today


~ by marysia on 23 May 2010.

One Response to “In search of biscuits …”

  1. Wow, you are making me very envious! (Apart from the sunburn of course!!)

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