An essential part of being at the croft is how each day revolves around food. You can easily spend the most of the day finding, catching, gutting, and cooking your supper. There is really nothing quite like eating a fish that was swimming in the ocean minutes before it was cooked.
|Getting the rods and lines ready|
On the ocean we go out two or three at a time, with Sam's dad as captain, in his boat the Lady Ann. The lines have six or seven hooks on a long line wrapped around a wooden spool. Fish are found entirely by intuition and a bit of luck. You unwind the line over the side and wait a few minutes (nothing like fly-fishing which I don't think I would have the patience for). A tug or two and you pull up a line with hopefully 2 or 3 flapping mackerel. At this point in the journey my city-girl tendencies take over and Sam has to smack the fish on the side of the boat.
|A bucket o' mackerel|
Sometimes we will put out lobster pots, too, although this time we caught only crab that were too small to eat.
|Back you go|
Once a season Neil will go to Badanloch to spend the day fishing for wild brown trout. He and Sam went a few years ago and an entire day sitting in the rain on a boat in the middle of the loch yielded one measly fish. This time Sam's sister Cicely went with him and they hit the jackpot (I'm sure this is not a comment on Sam's fishing skills, ahem). They were delicious.
|Wild brown trout|
One afternoon we went on a walk to Slettel, a deserted settlement which sits near a rocky outcropping that is ripe with mussels. At low tide you stoop down and rip the mussels from the underside of the rocks. Roan's favorite part was, of course, throwing stones in the water.
Once home Sam cleaned the mussels, scraping the barnacles off the blue shells. He cooked them in butter, garlic, parsley, and a healthy glug of white wine. They are heavenly.