I often go hiking in the Pentlands, but until last year I had no idea that the many of the low bushes I was passing on my walks carried edible berries. It was only after chatting to a Canadian woman who was picking them last summer that I found out what they were – blaeberries, a small, tart and (I think) tastier version of their fat foreign friend, the blueberry.
Last year I nearly broke my back bending over to pick the berries by hand (they are small and fiddly) – and ever since I’d been eyeing up “Swedish Berry Scoops” online. But part of me had felt like buying something in order to pick free fruit was still being part of general consumer culture, so I’d not ordered one.
Luckily, I heard that Abundance Edinburgh not only had some of the scoops, but that I could borrow them for free. Result.
So, last week, we took some American friends and family out to the Pentlands, near to Bonaly Scout camp. As you ‘ll see from the pictures we made a day of it – I have a portable wood burning stove, which we brewed coffee and cooked lunch on, and we even had a mill to grind the coffee!
The only disappointment was that we seemed to have left it rather late in the season to collect blaeberries. The bushes, which had been abundant just a few weeks ago, had only a modest amount of fruit. Still, it was enough for the kids to feast on, and it was good to finally get a go with the scoops, which are certainly efficient and easy to use. We reckon we’ve got enough left to make some blaeberry syrup to pour onto apple crumble.
But we’ll certainly be back next year – and by then, I aim to get their before the end of August, and have my own berry scoop to hand.