Just the other week we went on a wonderful walk out on the merse from Castle Corner (just a couple of miles from the Flat) organised by Galloway Wild Foods and supported by SNH (Scottish Natural Heritage).
A friendly group of 15, gathered from near and far, met up at 10 on a beautiful sunny morning and after introductions we set off.
Mark Williams, our amiable, extremely knowledgeable and helpful guide started off by showing us a couple of poisonous plants which we definitely should not eat including Foxglove and Hemlock Water Dropwort – which happens to grow in abundance around here.
But then, on a more positive note, he showed us how much edible food there is all around us…….. including pineapple weed, sea aster, orache, rock samphire, scurvygrass, plantains, sea arrowgrass, hogweed and much, much more.
We stopped at an elderflower tree and Mark plucked a piece of what seemed to be a bit of dried nothing – popped it into a water bottle and within half an hour it was a rehydrated jelly-ear fungi.. And did you know that if you stuff “sticky willow/cleavers/goosegrass” in a bottle of water and leave it overnight it produces a lovely refreshing cucumber-flavoured drink?
Elderflower champagne, homemade parkin and other delights were offered to us as treats along the way.
The walk over the merse was a little challenging in parts – you have to skip from tussock to tussock. But when we got back to base Mark cooked us up a real treat made from our foraged food including the most delicious smoked haddock coulibiac and sushi (OK the smoked haddock and rice was shipped in!).
It was an extremely enjoyable day. The weather was perfect, the company friendly, the countryside stunning, the guiding extremely knowledgeable and the food delicious. So what was there not to like?
Check out other similar events around the area by going to www.gallowaywildfoods.com and www.nature.scot.