It's a fact there are thousands of deer in Scotland but few are ever seen roaming wild since deer are graceful animals typically preferring seclusion in dense forests or in quiet open pastures. For the most part, wild deer are thought to exist in the nothern parts of Scotland but it's not unknown for Wild Deer to be seen crossing roads in Fife and where rare encounters of this kind can present a hazard for motorists. For most people in Fife, though, deer are rarely seen and almost never at close quarters. A visit to the Scottish Deer Centre, located west of Cupar on the A91, is guaranteed to amaze, amuse, educate and illuminate.
The 'Scottish Deer Centre' name is perhaps a bit of misnomer because the venue, whilst exhibiting fourteen species of deer, some of which come from abroad, the fifty-five acre site is also home to other animals and birds. Ferocious and rarely seen Scottish Wildcats live close beside Fife's only wolf pack, both of which can be observed in complete safety. Falconry has a long historical tradition in Fife and several displays of this art are featured every day. A special enclosure houses other birds of prey where the public can observe them at close quarters. Other facilities include wild life paths, a tree-top walkway with high sides and outdoor and indoor playgrounds where children can play in safety.
Park rangers conduct walking tours around the facility on a regular basis, but if you prefer it, there are trailer rides available at certain times of the day. Details and times are to be found on the Scottish Deer Centre web site (Details and link at the bottom of this page).
At the heart of the facility is a cobbled stone court yard nearly forming a perfect square and is thus sheilded from much of the wind.
Good use has been made of the old farm buildings surrounding the courtyard with the former farmhouse now serving as a really nice cafe selling fresh ground coffee and tempting 'home baked' eateries. There's a 'kid's menu' and seating available inside the farmhouse and outside in the courtyard. Other buildings surrounding the courtyard form a chain of 'interlinked' retail outlets including a local branch of the famous 'Edinburgh Woollen Mill' whose emphasis on quality clothing is well renouned. The quality theme is retained in some other stores too while prime wines and whiskies and Scottish fare including that of vennison is available for sale. There's a lot of stuff available from these shops that just can't be found elsewhere in Fife.
In the clothing department, there's more for the larger-than-average man and thus creating a unique selling proposition absent elsewhere in most department stores and chains. More than once, I've stopped here in passing to check out the shops rather than the main part of the venue and in the knowledge that if a preferred item is out of stock then they can get it within a short period of time.
Upon my visits, I've bought a number of really good books, both paperback and hard bound, not only about Scotland but other popular titles too at fair prices. I also bought CDs and DVDs, delicious Meade, wine and whisky, Aberdeen Angus steak and, of course, freshest vennison from one of the finest producers in the World! These same shops retail modest priced playthings and goods for children to help with those rare occassions when 'Mister Weather' delivers less of the great and wonderful event that it could have been.
Having said that, this is a brilliant family friendly venue with more than ample free car parking, disabled access, baby change facilities and much more. A lot of thought about adverse weather has clearly gone into this facility and where even a quiet stroll is often on decking rather than muddy paths. The careful inclusion of a safe indoor play area illustrates this too. It lies on a scheduled public transport route.
Even a quiet stroll in this oasis of peace and quiet, far from pressures of city life and employment, irrespective of season, and feeding deer by hand, and observing nature at work, is undoubtedly good for the soul and healthier than most other leisure pastimes. It may lack the spark of Disneyland and be devoid of 'Micky Mouse' for much of the year but, on special occasions like Christmas, Santa Claus has been known to visit this place on a sleigh drawn by hard working and faithful reindeer! At other times, there are other elaborate celebrations performed with equal verve and innovation! More details are available by clicking the link to their own independent website given below.
Highly recommended! Make today a family day at the Scottish Deer Centre!
All photographs barring the second slide show were kindly provided by the Scottish Deer Centre with photography by Trevor D Russell of Kingdom Photographics. The second slideshow photographs were taken by Alandon. All text was written by Alandon.
The Scottish Deer Centre has their own web site. Click Here to go there.
Kingdom Photographics has their own web site. Click Here to go there.