The Tickled Trout, Almondbank

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From beetling mill to stunning cafe – all your senses will be tickled here.

Description

The day we enjoyed cake and tea at The Tickled Trout (now isn’t that a name to tickle anyone’s fancy, dare I ask?) in Almondbank, Perthshire, it might have been possible to literally tickle some trout. We resisted of course, too preoccupied by home made raspberry cake, the warmest of warm welcomes, the stunning space around us and I was personally  transfixed by the Penny Farthing bicycle attached to the wall. Well, the Tickled Trout does, of course have a Sustrans cycle route right alongside. Owner and general dynamo Jenni Cummins used to cycle into Perth – 5 miles, – with her children, have lunch and cycle back – now the cycle path is so well used, and so many used to stop to ask if there was a café close by? It was the impetus, if indeed Jenni actually needed any prodding, to create this haven and offer both cyclists and folk like us, all in search of sustenance.

The building used to be a beetling mill. An explanation about cotton beetling, for those unfamiliar with such expressions is pictured on the wall, (it was whacking the cotton with revolving huge wooden panels to develop the desired luster on linen and cotton) close to where the water rushes in and the trout swim by. Or they did they day were there, owing to slight rise in water at the adjacent family owned trout farm and the escapees were, as Jennie remarked  ‘quite a talking point.’ Indeed.

Jenni’s parents established the trout farm in 1967, father digging out the ponds. In 2016, when the trout farm had to close for river flood defence construction, and months stretched into over 3 years, and the family realized they were facing a less certain farming future, the solution was right on their doorstep, and the time to act now immediate. The house leads into the huge space now housing the café itself, and the silver lining to the enforced closure gave them the extra impetus to transform the light filled space. It is to Jenni’s vision and credit, as well as the architect of course that the building has now won an architectural award.

‘We had school groups coming to see how the trout farm worked’, remembered Jenni, ‘and they loved it, but we basically had no facilities’.
Now, not only could school groups come as well as the general public. Much work of course had to be done.

‘Dad used to invent lots of things, you know. He was very creative. Made so much himself and collected so much, so there were coils, springs, pipes, and just all sorts’ So, in the end they had to be absolutely ruthless, to the extent that’s the neighbors across the river would take their cups of coffee in the evening and settle down to watch what they christened  Trout Farm TV to see what they were up to. Neighbors helped Jenni with the final push to open up; staff are mainly local, Pilates classes take place upstairs, at Christmas time they had a wreath making session, and there are ideas for the future.  The farm trout are taken the 10 miles or so up to  Dunkeld Smoked Salmon for smoking  and many a recipe is created to use the fish.

Although Jenny is not producing a cookbook right now she is open to giving advice on creating dishes from the trout. So a cooked trout on your plate at the Tickled Trout must be  be one of the shortest food journeys there is.  The future looks very bright.

Additional information

Great For

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The best cake

Victoria Sponge – of course!!

Secret & Hidden Places | Nearby Garden

View a stunning miniature arboretum at Pitcairn Green – planted by the children of the local school to celebrate the coronation of HM Queen Elizabeth June 2nd 1953.

Walking Off the Foody Indulgences

There is a lovely walk and cycle track from the Tickled Trout right down into Perth.