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Wanderlust Part 2 - Scotland

I decided to head to Scotland afetr my wanderings in the Lake District (see part 1: Many reasons prompted this decision. I had been there a month earlier (and many an occassion over the years), I would be visiting the Lakes in a few weeks time, I had heard on the grapevine that the summer fungi season had begun (cue slightly muted 'YAY!' for fear of shattering my computer screen), there is a 'wildness' & 'vastness' that you only really find north of the borders and my friend and fellow wild food enthusiast, Mark lives there. I also intended to pay a visit to Monica Wilde, another of Scotlands fine and friendly wild time clan, unfortunately but fortunately for Monica, she was having a wild time on Maskin Island and our paths this time wouldn't cross - oh dear, looks like I'll have to make another long and arduous trek later in the year - 'sighs and smiles smuggly to himself... :) After a little afternoon snooze, I headed further north. I arrived at Marks, unannounced and was greeted by Cara ( While chatting and drinking tea, phone calls were made and texts sent. An hour later and I was off, heading north to meet up with Mark at one of the forests...

After we 'meeted n greeted' we went exploring....

The first fungi we found were, Orange Grisettes, in varying stages of growth - to find so many close together and at the varying stages was perfect. Had either of us been hosting a group foray, for example, then this would have been a classic, in-situ teaching resource. Personally, I've never actually found Orange Grisettes before so this was a great moment for me :)

A fully veiled Orange Grisette (Amanita crocea)
Orange Grisettes

Mark n baby Orange Grisette

Grisette showing top of cap
 Grisettes (Amanita vaginata)

The 'Amanita' family is a fair sized family and contains some of the most poisonous fungi in the UK including the Death Cap (Amanita phalloides) & Destroying Angel (Amanita virosa). However, they are not to be feared unless of course you eat them. Fear, in this instance, arises from a lack of information, knowledge, ignorance, lack of concentration. Once you start to learn you become informed, knowledge builds, knowledge will/should supercede the rank of ignorance and you will develop a respect, not only of nature but of yourself and your place within in it. Fungi, be they deadly poisonous or edible, do not magically leap out of the ground/trees etc... and land in your mouth, if they were to do such things, then I myself would more than likely regard them with an element of fear and trepidation (no yawning while out collecting). The basic fact is, any poisonous mushroom that finds its way into your mouth either got there through you or someone else picking it. Be attentive when out collecting, use your field guides to try ascertain an accurate identification and, if you can't ascertain a 100% accurate identification then do not consume. It really is that simple. Be safe and enjoy.

Two for one offer on this log. The yellow fungi is I believe Septica fuliga and the three little dots surrounded by white/pink spores have me completely stumped at the mo. I've been looking through my field guides and can find nothing to aid me in my attempts to identify - any ideas/info greatly appreciated.

In the couple of hours we spent that evening, we found Charcoal Burners (Russula cyanoxantha) - amazing when eaten raw - Summer Bolete (Boletus reticulatus), Blushers (Amanita rubescens) and some 'little brown jobs' that we didn't identify nor did we spend much time checking them out due to time pressures. I didn't take any pictures of those species either, hence the literary mention only. Mark had an admin day on, Friday so I was left to my own devices. I had a great day, a total 12 hour zone in session. The day was less about discovering whatever species I could find and more about the edible varieties, that isn't to say I would ignore all others. I wasn't disappointed...

Chanterelle/Girolle (Cantharellus cibarius)


Chanterelles were everywhere, I've never seen so many (it took me 3hours to drive/stop/pick/drive... a 5 mile linear section of road). Obviously, I didn't pick everyone I saw & tbh it would have taken many more hours to do so.

Bitter Beech Bolete (Boletus calopus)
Larch Boletes (Suillus grevillei)

Good morning Cep!

By late afternoon the wind did blow and the rain did fall, as it only it can in Scotland. The camera had to go away -  I can't afford another as good as the one I have. That afternoon/evening I found Scarletina Boletes & False Saffron Milkcaps, both good edibles. I had a lovely encounter very late in the evening with some folks that were camping. They'd obviously noticed me picking and enquired once I was within ear range. I headed over and we spent the next 40mins chatting about life, the universe and all within, a good dose of conversation on the wonders of fungi was thrown in for good measure too. Elaine, mentioned her mycological studies, the name 'Stamets' and that led to various stories, info, reports, the sharing of some Buckfast & cigarettes, brilliant!

On Saturday, I joined Mark at an event he hosted in Ayr. Also joining was his good friend and chef, Craig Grozier. Craig is a very talented chef and is the founder of  'Fallachan' - website will soon be 'live' and once it is I'll add a link to it. A lovely group of folk joined the walk that day. Mark took them on a lovely wild food journey, exploring parkland, hedgerow and coastal habitats. The crowning glory at the end of the day was the wild cook-up on a sun drenched beach, over-looking the Isle of Arran, with wild booze cocktail sampling and all those lovely peeps.

Talking wild fungi
Sampling Russula to help with id'ing

Unless you're well versed in fungi identification, sampling species as Mark is doing in the image (above right) isn't recommended. The species he's sampling is a safe one, he knows his subject well and he's using this technique as a teaching resource.

Sea-buckthorn tree & juice
Soaking up some wild drinks in the soaking rain

Chatting seaweeds
Spiral Wrack

Ready to serve

A mouth-watering bonanza of wildness


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