Collieston - a hidden gem in the North-east

Having written in praise of Methlick last week I am equally happy to make comment on a number of locations around what I call the Gordon area, including another of my favourites, Collieston, where they recently celebrated their gala week.

The very fact such a small population centre can generate such enthusiasm says much about the residents and their energy, not to mention its ongoing commitment to a whole week of activities.

My own small contribution to community life in the beautifully-appointed village was not during the gala, but a number of years ago when I ran a further education class for Aberdeenshire. The location for the learning experience (for me) was in one of the cottages on the hillside that overlooks the harbour and with the moon streaming in the old-fashioned windows, it has to be one of the most romantic locations ever in which to hold a class.

Keep up the good work Collieston, you are a hidden gem in the treasures of the North-east, especially in the ever-changing weather conditions, so affected by the nearby North Sea. If you happen to be a tourist visiting the area, a trip to the coastal community is must. Indeed if you are a native of Aberdeenshire and have never been there, get yourself on your bike or whatever mode of transport and drink in the joys of a very special place.

Another of my stop-off points only last week was Oldmeldrum where I had an hour to kill waiting for my bus to Ellon, having embarked from such a vehicle on my way back from Banff. Initially my reaction was to curse my luck at being stuck in what I had always seen as a pretty featureless location, and one that I had never wished to explore other than to pop into the Red Garth Hotel to sample its excellent range of real ales.

My limited, even ignorant, opinion of the town changed over what became an all too short hour and I shall certainly go back to explore in greater detail when I have more time at my disposal. My first port of call was the Meldrum Community Cafe in the Square, run by friendly, keen to please volunteers who served me home-made scones to die for and at prices so cheap to be unbelievable. Other charity, community cafes in the area please note.

This attractive, tidy establishment deserves and merits your attention, but don’t all go at once, as it is very small which gives it an appeal of its own. If you can’t get a seat you could of course try the other coffee shop, right next to the Tiger Lily a Thai/Chinese restaurant which looks worth a visit, though like the nearby coffee outlet was shut. It was in fairness only 3pm on a Thursday.

So look out Meldrum, I’ll be back soon.