Attadale is a 30,000 acre estate in the North West of Scotland. It stretches from the south shore of Loch Carron to Loch Monar, 15 miles away to the east. The Estate has four holiday cottages which can accommodate up to 8 people and its beautiful gardens are open to the public from the beginning of April until the end of October. The Estate is managed by Joanna Macpherson and her family. Joanna is a Highland Committee member of Scottish Land & Estates.
Attadale Gardens has been opening to the public for almost thirty years partly in aid of Scotland's Gardens, a charity that itself distributes funds to good causes. There is a small charge for members of the public but the Gardens are freely available to local schools, and nurseries. Joanna says ”Our young people enjoy visiting, exploring and finding the various sculpture scattered throughout the gardens”. Historically, the Garden is closed on Sundays.
In 2013 SLE entered into an agreement with the Highland Branch of the National Charity ‘Action for Children (AfC)’ to help raise funds for their work in the north. AfC works with a particularly challenging client group and SLE were pleased to be given the opportunity to help raise funds for them.
Joanna leapt at the chance to be involved and offered Attadale Gardens as a venue. She was keen to explore the idea of opening on a Sunday, offering a personal tour of the Gardens led by various family members followed by a light lunch in the house. A fund raising launch in aid of Action for Children was a perfect occasion to test her idea.
Tickets were offered at £25 per head which included the tour of the garden led by Macpherson family members and followed by a sit-down lunch of home-made soup and home-made bread, served in both the kitchen and the dining room so we could fit everyone in comfortably. Numbers were limited by the amount of seating we could offer - a total of 40 places.
Joanna was delighted by the response, with a wide mixture of people choosing to come along. In some cases local residents from Lochcarron who had never enjoyed either a tour of the gardens or visiting the inside of the house which has some interesting modern paintings plus visitors staying in our holiday cottages; while other keen gardening enthusiasts chose to come along from further afield, from Inverness, Tain, Invergorden and beyond. Some came because they particularly wished to support the charity Action for Children, others probably out of curiosity to see both the garden and the inside of the house.
Feedback on her Attadale Gardens Facebook page included such comments as "A fabulous day despite the weather!”, "It is great news that Action for Children made so much from this event, working in the voluntary sector I realise just how important these collaborations are”, “Well done, you obviously put a lot of work into it and made everyone feel very welcome – even those of us who turned up late."
Despite somewhat damp conditions, Attadale’s visitors were very enthusiastic and friendly and by the end of the day, regardless of their exhaustion, the Macphersons were delighted that their efforts had raised £1500 for Action for Children.