Gales Batter Ardnamurchan

A crofter collects whelks amongst the seaweed along the shoreline.

A crofter collects whelks amongst the seaweed along the shoreline.

Since before Christmas, gale after gale has come roaring in from the Atlantic, bringing winds which have gusted up to hurricane force – the highest speed, recorded at Sanna on the night of 8th/9th January, hit 103mph.  Despite the appalling weather, local people have been venturing out onto the rocks along the foreshore to collect wilks, the common periwinkle or winkle Littorina littorea.  This small, edible shellfish is an important export to Mediterranean countries, and can bring a crofter over £100 a bag at the peak of the season – which is around Christmas and the New Year.  Wilks have always been a vital part of the winter diet, with heaps of their shells being found in mesolithic middens.

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