Standing at 1344m (4409ft) Ben Nevis now only shows the base of the mountain that it once was. Formed through volcanic activity, along with the other mountains of Lochaber and Glen Coe, it once rose to over 14,000ft and had a similar majesty to the Himalayas of today. Back then the UK was near the equator with a very hot and dry climate but after millions of years, erosion and ice ages have shaped the mountains of Scotland to have a very different feel. But they still pack a punch!
Cairgein is a brownish seaweed popular in the Outer Hebrides and the English translation is Carrageen. I was born and brought up in Horisary, North Uist, only a short walk from the sea. Every year as a child I remember the cairgein being collected then dried and bleached outside on a large white sheet. I try each year to collect this seaweed in late summer and prepare it as my mother did before me. Cairgein is available all year round but has to be collected at low tide so traditionally we would collect it in July and August when the very low spring tides made it easier to find.
Christmas approaches and as thoughts turn to shopping, we at True Highlands have decided to take a look at some alternatives to the mass produced and the impersonal. We truly believe that by shopping local and supporting local producers and retailers, we can not only help the environment but we can discover some of the most amazing and unusual gifts that Scotland has to offer.