Foraging in the Highlands

 I’ve been trying to upload the photos of the mushrooms I foraged for dinner at Castle Sinclair Girnigoe in Caithness.  They were such whoppers I only picked one to eat and onesmall one to dry for later (on top of the inverter).  I ended up cooking the whole of the big one, in butter and garlic, and ate about half mixed in with my lentils and whatnot.   I’m used to cooking for four, and my dinner was double the size I needed it.

I’m not a mushroom expert, but I fully expect to recognise something edible when I find it.  This smelt and felt and tasted like a field mushroom.  It didn’t look that much like one, but that’s because it was about eight times the size.  I remember my dad picing one twelve inces across at Virginia Water when I was a kid, so I know they come like that.  This had a white cap, brown gills and was just field mushroom  in every cell of its being.

Then I looked in the mirror, and my face was bright red! “Ahhh, I’ve poisoned myself!” I thought.   In fact I said it, to the mirror.  And to the dog.  I peered down my top and up my jumper, trying to work out if I had a rash.  No.  I sniffed the mushroom.  I tasted the mushroom  Definitely OK.

Then I realised – after all that – it must be sunburn.  It is another of life’s strange little phenomena that however tanned I get (I’ve been reading Diana Gabaldon’s Outlander series and sunbathing in the garden all summer, for heaven’s sake) I get sunburnt if I go somewhere different.  Like Minnions in Cornwall, and Wick in Caithness.  It’s as if the sun is of a different quality – or coming at me from a different angle?  Answers in a tweet please.

Anyway, Samsung Keis is only 64% downloaded so you won’t be seeing photos of the huge non-poisonous mushroom tonight.  Maybe when I next get to WiFi land…

In the meantime, a list of foraged goods:

  • Psilocybin mushrooms (John O’Groats, numerous stone circles, Beinn Ghlas)
  • Coltsfoot (John O’Groats but masses everywhere)
  • Giant chamomile (John O’Groats – don’t know it’s proper name)
  • Field mushrooms (Castle Sinclair)
  • Sorrel  (John O’Groats , Castle Sinclair, Beinn Ghlas)
  • Guelder Rose (Noss Lighthouse carpark)
  • Clipper lighter (Wick – functioning, hi-viz orange, with gas)
  • Balls – for the dog (Wick, Inverness, Birks o’ Aberfeldy)
  • Chanterelles (Loch Ashie)
  • Blaeberries (Ladder Hills, Druim an Aird carpark, Beinn Ghlas)
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