True Highlands Blog
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.
With Christmas on the (not too distant) horizon, the ‘Christmas shopping dread’ is starting to creep in – memories of packed high streets, stressed shoppers and over-the-top Christmas music. Every year, you inevitably end up grabbing the closest toiletries set or woolly socks to hand in a desperate bid to get it over with. But fear not, it doesn’t have to be this way!