A farming couple who travelled north from England are determined to bring the family fun of pumpkin patches to the Highlands.
Sibby Arkell-Glover and Philip Arkell are running the attraction at Cawdor Estate until Halloween.
Located just off the B9090, about five miles from Nairn and 13 miles from Inverness, the Cawdor Pumpkin Patch owners hope it attracts residents from both communities.
Sibby, 37, from Killearn and her 36-year-old husband Philip met in Newbury, in Berkshire.
They organised their first pumpkin patch at a farm there two years ago, and now want to start a new one 550 miles further north.
‘Pumpkin patches are big in the south of England’
Sibby explained how it took off as families were eager to explore after the pandemic.
She said: “It was after lockdown, we wanted to do something fun for the community and pumpkin patches are big in the south of England.
“We moved to Scotland exactly a year ago and we realised there were not any pumpkin patches in the area, so we decided to open up this one as part of a collaboration with Cawdor Estate.
After searching for the ideal pumpkin, from a range of seven different and colourful varieties, visitors have a bite or a drink at the cafe.
As well as pumpkin soup (of course), they offer snacks, hot drinks and beer.
A rainy but successful first weekend
They planted around 7,000 seeds back in June and they shaped up nicely.
And on Saturday they welcomed the first visitors.
“There were also some fabulous pumpkins found this weekend – some really huge ones, but also lots of beautiful colours and shapes,” Sibby continued.
“The weather was absolutely disgusting but seeing so many happy smiling faces on the patch really lifted our spirits!
“I certainly don’t think the children minded. Chatting to the visitors, I think everyone still had fun.”
Halloween is better outdoors
A mother of two little ones, events organiser Sibby is passionate about the outdoors and believes it is really important for children to run around the fields.
The patch is free to enter, but booking through the website is essential, as over 3,500 people have already confirmed their attendance.
Open from 10-5pm each ticket entitles visitors to a two-hour-sloot to find their ideal pumpkins to take home.
The opening times are displayed below:
- October 7th & 8th: 10am – 5pm, last entry 4pm
- October 14th – 22nd: 10am – 5pm, last entry 4pm
- October 23rd – 27th: CLOSED
- October 28th & 29th: 10am – 5pm, last entry 4pm
- October 30th – CLOSED
- October 31st – Halloween Party 3.30pm – 5.30pm
A Halloween party will take place on the last opening day of the patch to say goodbye to the pumpkin season.
“There will be a Halloween party for kids with a costume parade, but it will not be scary, just fun,” Sibby reassured would-be guests.