Craigtoun Country Park

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A sparking gem at the heart of the park


Favourite for generations of Fifers, Craigtoun Park is a not-so-secret gem with the Rio Grande Railway (no- I have no idea why it is so named, and neither did anyone I asked) which is a mini red train pulled by a red tractor chugging round the huge area. There is a fairytale castle on the loch, trampolines, crazy golf and pedal cars. And a big colourful surprise. Here are one of the national collections of flowers. Yes, I know you will be gasping for a cuppa or Irn Bru after all that exercise, but wait for The Surprise.
This one is cared for by the talented Head Gardener Pamela Ferns, who left art school to grab a job as a Horticultural Apprentice, took the Diploma in Botanical illustration course at the Royal Botanical Gardens Edinburgh, and now cares for the National Collection of Siberian Irises. All 100 varieties of them. Pamela’s aim is to illustrate all of the Irises that are part of the collections to add to the pressed specimens and written records she already keeps.
Looked for a job, and feeling desperate, she saw the one advertised at Craigtoun Park in the gardens, applied pretending she did indeed have a car (her dad’s for the day) and the rest is Iris History in the making.
Not only does she nurture the irises she paints both pictures of her treasure which come in every shade of purple, and paints her nails and lips to match. If you thought purple was the preserve of old ladies, think again.
The tea room, just a couple of minutes walk from her purple domain is a typical 1960s or so unexciting building. Why isn’t it painted purple in parts to celebrate Pamela’s triumphs? I ask? But inside is the squeakiest cleanest café with delicious rolls, crisps and Mars Bars. Doris Day, that wholesome film star of the 1960s could skip across and eat her biscuit from the floor. Families come here, of course and wee ones can happily crawl on the floor without encountering a germ, which would not have had the cheek to settle.
Well done to the staff here for lovingly tending their time warp. Long live Craigtoun!

Additional information

Great For

Families on a budget, plant lovers, accessible wheelchairs and prams

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