Scotland West Coast foraging.

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Rabbit leg

Forager
Nov 9, 2016
106
48
UK and world
I've been here a couple of weeks and catching / eating plenty of mackerel, pollack, some limpets, winkles, I didn't say oysters.

Looking at getting some mussels and just wanted to check if there are or have been any toxicity issues along the West Coast? Mull upwards. I assume with all the fish farms that it is all 'class A' waters.

Do dog Whelks eat mussels? If they do, and the mussels are 'off' are the dogs off too?

I'll be crabbing soon. Fish heads in a bucket covered with a net with an entry hole. Out at low tide. Are the folding crab pot/nets worth getting? I heard they tear easily if the tide moves them too much.

Any other coastal foraging recommendations for the area? Basking shark fin soup?
 

Rabbit leg

Forager
Nov 9, 2016
106
48
UK and world
Just boiled some winkles, whelks, clams and cockles. All together for just under 10 mins.

The whelks were impossible to remove. You could only just see a mm of the door. I can't imagine anything that would remove them. Books and internet say they are the same as winkles to remove. (winkles come out easily with the side spike on a Swiss Army Knife).

Any tips?
 

Toddy

Mod
Mod
Jan 21, 2005
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S. Lanarkshire
You'll not cook whelks in ten minutes. They need a lot longer than that. I think it's the relatively thick shell on them.
 

Broch

Full Member
Jan 18, 2009
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Mid Wales
I've frequently taken mussels from rocks on Mull, Sky, Ardnamurchan and Islay - never had any issues at all :)
 

Rabbit leg

Forager
Nov 9, 2016
106
48
UK and world
I am sure they are good. Just wanted to check.

Finally managed to get some whelks out of their shells. But only 30%. I am surprised there is no information on this. Even if I got a winkle fork, you still need to have a visible part to grab.

I haven't tried a crab pot yet as it is spring tides and I have just been getting them at lows from under the seaweed.
 

SCOMAN

Full Member
Dec 31, 2005
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By Winkle I guess you're talking about periwinkle? In NI we called them willicks. They retreated into their shell when boiled closing the entrance with a kind of flap. We just used to pick them out with a pin. Doing so gently got most of it.
 

Rabbit leg

Forager
Nov 9, 2016
106
48
UK and world
Periwinkles/willicks have been easy. I think it is because their door/flap is larger and more solid so they can't retract as far.

The door on whelks seems to be smaller and less solid, allowing them to retract further in.

I might have to move on to the seaweeds next - getting hungry.
Any good i.d. websites to recommend?
 

Toddy

Mod
Mod
Jan 21, 2005
35,619
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S. Lanarkshire
There are no poisonous seaweeds. Not a lot of calories to them, and some have carbs we just cannot digest, but nutritious all the same with minerals and the like. Just make sure no sewage outlets or 'red tides' and they should be fine.
As kids we chewed the seawrack stalks, the thick brownish red stems that are washed ashore some times, just as we did rhubarb stalks.
 

Broch

Full Member
Jan 18, 2009
3,363
2,545
Mid Wales
Periwinkles/willicks have been easy. I think it is because their door/flap is larger and more solid so they can't retract as far.

The door on whelks seems to be smaller and less solid, allowing them to retract further in.

I might have to move on to the seaweeds next - getting hungry.
Any good i.d. websites to recommend?
You obviously have access to the internet so why not download the Kindle version of 'Eat the Beach' (Fraser Christian) - covers shellfish, seaweeds, plants and fish - including recipes.
 
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Rabbit leg

Forager
Nov 9, 2016
106
48
UK and world
I have the River Cottage book.

I was chasing after seaweed many years ago. Toddy, you just reminded me why I gave up. Like mushrooms, minimal calories.
I'm only after food wich supplies energy.
 

Rabbit leg

Forager
Nov 9, 2016
106
48
UK and world
Cockles.

Sometimes they are sand free and I'll eat them after a couple of hours resting in salted water.

Other times they are sandy and still are after being in water overnight.

Any tips?

I've heard of vinegar being used but would prefer using something that I don't have to purchase. Even the salt I'd rather not use. Maybe just seawater from now on.
 

hanzo

Nomad
Feb 12, 2006
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Hawaii
hanzosoutdoors.blogspot.com
I am sure they are good. Just wanted to check.

Finally managed to get some whelks out of their shells. But only 30%. I am surprised there is no information on this. Even if I got a winkle fork, you still need to have a visible part to grab.

I haven't tried a crab pot yet as it is spring tides and I have just been getting them at lows from under the seaweed.

You may be able to get them out easier if you crack the shell first.