WOW!! What a busy couple of weeks it's been for
North West Bushcraft!!
We've just got back from a two week foraging holiday in Scotland, then upon our return to the Ribble Valley here in Lancashire, we were invited by our friends over at BBC Radio Lancashire to host a stall at an outdoors educational day.
The trip to Scotland was great and we were lucky enough to have had fantastic weather for the entire two weeks that we were there. I think that I am the only person to ever have visited Scotland and returned with a sun tan!!
Our fungi foraging hunt took us to some beautiful places.......
This was a stunning waterfall called the "Reekie Lin" and we were pleasantly surprised to discover a little pocket of Chanterelle mushrooms!!
"The Corrie Fee" near Glen Doll - Stunning!! No fungi here, but hey, with views like that, who needs fungi!!
To be honest the fungi were few and far between, I think that the weather has been a huge factor in this. The weather up in Scotland has been really quite dry for the previous couple of weeks. The sun is great for us, however the fungi rely on rain to help them grow, so whilst my tan was improving, the fungi where becoming increasingly more absent. So the only thing left to do was become a fully fledged tourist and do some site seeing.
The Glens. A beautiful area that words just cannot do justice to. Sadly, no fungi today tho.
Lunan Bay. One of Eastern Scotland's hidden treasures.
Glamis Castle. Unfortunately, the current owner didn't like my suggestion of swapping his house for my hammock and tarp! How rude!!
Whilst in Glamis Castle it rained, and I don't mean a bit of rain or even heavy "Scottish Rain", I mean get Noah on the phone type rain because it came down in a biblical fashion!!
Instantly, my heart and mind started to work overtime at the thought of all the moist ground and subsequent fungi that would be soaking it up.
So an early start the next day led us to a very large mixed species forest near OOOPS!! not telling you - it's a secret!! lol
My early suspicions were well founded - bring on the 'shrooms.
Penny Buns. Larch Bolets
Chanterelles. More Penny Buns.
....and more Penny Buns!
To be honest, with so many fungi coming up we got a little bored, oh my god! Have I, a seasoned forager with a passion for fungi, just said that I got bored collecting mushrooms?? Well actually yes I did. Our mission to find fungi was complete and like all good foragers we took the ethical decision not to over predate the area and took only what we felt we needed.
Although a great surprise was yet to come!! But more on that later......
Meanwhile we took the decision to do a bit more sight seeing and test our foraging skills at something other than fungi. So off we headed around a few Lochs and up the coast.
My attempt at an "arty shot" ...could I forage this fella??
A common lizard, enough for a sandwich??
Horses Hoof Fungus.
Back to the foraging.....
After a few days touring around seeing all of the gorgeous sites that Scotland has to offer, we got back into the foraging mindset and in fairly quick order found some great tasty edibles, all of which were sampled.
Bird Cherry. Wild Mint.
Beech Mast Limpets
and then we found it!!!!
In a medium sized Birch forest near to where we were camped we found several large growths of Chaga. This amazing fungal growth (although technically not fungi) has amazing health benefits as well as being a superb source of tinder that requires no processing. Needless to say we brought several large pieces of chaga home with us. Interestingly, the name "Chaga" actually comes from an ancient Slovakian dialect word of "Gaga" and means "lip". So maybe Lady Gaga (or Lady Lip) should re-think her name.
We will in the very near future be doing a video and write-up dedicated purely to this most precious of bushcraft treasures.
All the best
Adrian and family.