Food diary #29: sunny days in Nairn

I have just returned from visiting my aunt Kate at home in Nairn in the Scottish Highlands. My daughter and I stayed at Brighton House, an excellent family run bed and breakfast on the Links in Fishertown.

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From our bedroom we enjoyed panoramic views of the sea and, because it was the week leading up to today’s Highland Games, the fun fair. Our hosts were somewhat apologetic about ‘the showies’ spoiling their guest’s chances at dolphin spotting, but I enjoyed the lights and sounds, even if my 21-month-old travelling companion didn’t allow me to go on the rides.

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Brighton House is so named because in Victorian times Nairn was dubbed ‘the Brighton of the North’. Its clean air, microclimate and picturesque sandy beaches overlooking the Black Isle is still attractive to tourists, but I can’t see much else linking the two towns, the fun fair is about as much of Brighton as I found.

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With just two full days in Nairn and a lot of catching up to do, I didn’t get a chance to do much sightseeing but with Blue Flag beaches as lovely as these and good weather, that was no hardship. I hope to return soon to enjoy some wild camping, forest walks, historic sights and with luck, a glimpse of the dolphins that live in the Moray Firth.

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Much of our time was spent digging in the sand, but we did walk up the coast and through the posh end of town, past Tilda Swinton’s place to have tea at the Newton Hotel.

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The hotel and conference centre is where Charlie Chaplin used to holiday, it boasts its own Highland Cattle, fantastic views and lovely homemade shortbread that we enjoyed still warm from the oven.

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Brighton House (pictured above) doesn’t have its own cattle but the breakfasts are well worth its four-star rating. I was lucky to get ‘the first double yolker of the year,’ and Kate joined me on Friday morning for scrummy Scots smoked salmon and scrambled egg.

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We did our shopping in Kate’s favourite organic food store Sky Delights, where we stopped for a sweet and spicy fig slice and coffee (pictured). There we bought organic raspberries and fresh chard grown in Tilda’s garden, because only celebrity veg is good enough for us! I was saddened to hear that the langoustine fished off the coast here isn’t easy to buy locally, yet another thing to hunt down on my return.

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Kate cooked delicious meals for us each night including a very special Scots venison fillet sautéed with Portobello mushrooms and finished with red wine and creme fraiche. Her salads are delicious, decorated with red nasturtiums from the garden and dressed in a super garlicky French dressing that I had almost forgotten how much I love.

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I returned home with two jars of Kate’s superb orange and lemon marmalade and the most precious gifts I have been given in recent memory: my late grandmother’s well-thumbed copy of Mrs Beeton’s Book of Household Management and her handwritten recipe journal that she began in 1941. I look forward to sharing the best of these with you on here, but for now, I shall return to reading them! Thank you Kate.

The essentials:
I flew Easyjet from Gatwick to Inverness.
Nairn is a 20-25 minute drive from the airport.
I stayed at Brighton House.

Disclosure: This is not a sponsored post.

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About Chloe King

I'm a freelance writer, designer and webby type. I live with my husband and daughter in the south of England. I like to cook and can throw a good party.

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6 comments on “Food diary #29: sunny days in Nairn

  1. August 18, 2013 at 10:47 am

    Great post, I love the images, the place sounds fantastic – love the Moray Firth and would love to catch sight of the dolphins too. Your Aunt sounds gorgeous, and so does the food. Enough said 🙂

    • August 20, 2013 at 2:57 pm

      Thanks Sarah, enjoyed your holiday posts too. I have been to Sorrento as a child and as a wreckless teen, needless to say two very different experiences but both good!

  2. August 19, 2013 at 6:14 pm

    Can you believe I’ve never been to scotland? Your pics remind me why it’s been on my to do list for so long. And also make me very hungry for a proper fry up breakfast tomorrow am… X

    • August 20, 2013 at 2:58 pm

      No, I don’t believe that Hattie, shame on you.

  3. September 3, 2013 at 11:44 am

    I love this post Chloe! Particularly the reference to celebrity veg. I have a crush on Tilda and now that I know she grows raspberries (my favourite fruit), I love her even more.

    • September 14, 2013 at 9:50 am

      Thank you, yeah, she is one cool dude. I saw her once, eating fish and chips with her family in a little pub at Findhorn Bay.

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