I know I’m not alone in saying this, but I’ve had enough of winter. Enough of damp paws. Enough of wet bellies. Lowriders were not designed for drenched pavements. Or puddles. Or soggy grass. Or mud. And, to be honest, my humans have had enough of winter too, which is why we packed ourselves into the car and headed over to Cambo Estate in Fife two weekends ago. Every February and March Cambo takes part in the Scottish Snowdrop Festival, when the woodlands on the estate are carpeted in snowdrops. “Snowdrops signal the start of spring,” Mum explained. “People see snowdrops and feel… hopeful. Hopeful that winter isn’t going to last forever.”
This alone would be a good enough reason to visit, but Cambo is also one of our favourite places because of its incredible Victorian walled garden. I’ve been here a few times now and have told my Dad that this is the kind of garden I’d like one day (a guy can dream…): enclosed by a high wall, so it’s very safe; big enough for myself and my Uncle to invite all our friends round and still have enough space to lose each other (safely); and filled with windy paths that are begging to be explored. I love an adventure, and this garden is an adventure.
There’s also a prairie garden, which is filled with grasses in the summer months, and a winter garden, which again was filled with snowdrops when we visited. And, of course, there are various gates and doors and benches and seats and ramshackle brick sheds that are primed for Mum to photograph – usually with me either placed on them or in front of them. Sometimes Dad is coerced into joining in.
Remarkably – considering that we had left Edinburgh earlier in thick fog – the sun appeared, and it felt like the first proper sunshine of spring…
Gates… I’ve no idea how this started, but Mum has developed a strange fascination with doors and old gates. I’ve learned just to get on with it. (Note to self: in future, always ensure that extending lead is removed before photo ops…)
Once we’d strolled round the garden, taken photos at the ruined old steading, and gone to visit the piglets – who unfortunately had timed their nap for our arrival, so I got to smell them, oh-so-tantalizingly, but not see them – we headed past Cambo House itself and along the stream into the woods.
There was, of course, the obligatory posing on a bench that appeared to have positioned here for this very purpose…
… and the obligatory posing amongst the snowdrops. If I’m honest, by this stage of the walk I was feeling a little less keen on the posing malarkey. As this was the start of the snowdrop festival, Cambo was busier than we’d seen it on previous visits, so I could hear other people and, more importantly, other dogs. And there’s nothing like hearing dogs you can’t see to put a guy slightly on edge.
Also, by this stage of the walk, I could smell the sea. I always say, every truly great walk ends with a beach, and here the woodland path leads to Kingbarns golf course, from where you can walk down through the dunes to the beach. And once on the beach, I can relax. Every time we’ve travelled to Cambo, there’s been something different to see as the gardens and the woodland changes with the seasons, but the walk always ends here, and the beach is always the same. A place to feel sand between your paws. Rock pools to explore. A place to breathe out and contemplate life. As we all need to do from time to time.