Heathery Heights; heather on the Moffat Hills
Heathery Heights; heather on the Moffat Hills

Foraging for fun...

I have always had a fascination with searching for and finding food in the wild. This stems back to my childhood when I would gleefully tramp in my wellies with my mother and father to the beach to collect cockles, winkles and mussels or try my hand at fishing for mackerel which we then cooked over a fire on the beach. The gatherer instinct had us collecting a wide range of berries, nuts and fungi. Juicy bilberries, blackberries, crowberries, cowberries, sloes, wild raspberries and strawberries, elderberries, hawthorn, rosehips, hazel nuts, delicious chanterelles, penny buns, horse mushrooms, hedgehog fungi, puffballs, nettles, wild garlic, sorrel, dandelions, sea lettuce - the list goes on and on...


And a week long survival expedition around Cape Wrath with school at the age of 12 had us catching our own food including rabbits, fish and birds - we even ate woodlice (apparently good for calcium) and limpets, which reminded me of a seafood flavoured rubber. Fortunately things got better with age and as an adult snorkelling and scuba diving enabled me to dive for scallops, edible crabs and clams - most certainly tastier than limpets!


However I must stress from the very beginning that foraging for food is a pastime that requires great care and diligence  - both for one's own health and the environment. There are some incredibly poisonous fungi out there, some of which are lethal even in small doses so please do not collect fungi in the wild unless you are 100% sure you know what you are doing.


Even better - book with us on a guided foraging walk and learn about some of the species that can be easily identified and enjoyed, and some to avoid!  

I accept no responsibility for mistaken identity of species from any photographs shown or described here. If you are unsure leave well alone or seek professional advice. Unfortunately we do not have the same facility as in France where many pharmacists will identify edible/non-edible fungi for you!

Heather Thomas-Smith





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