Friday, 29 July 2011

Up In Caithness 2

Day two of the Caithness holiday took us to Berriedale about thirty miles to the south of Wick. It is the centre of the Duke of Portland's sporting estate. The excellent salmon river reaches the sea across the stony beach, a Mecca for amateur geologists with its mix of sedimentary, conglomerate and igneous rocks. The vestiges of the medieval Berriedale Castle still hang over the river mouth. On the cliff above the cave at the north end of the beach I spotted a nest in a rock cleft. It looked like a bird of prey site and I was surprised to see the black head and distinctive red legs of a black guillemot emerge a few minutes later to join a small group swimming off shore. The row of fisherman's cottages above the beach is being renovated and will eventually make exciting holiday accomodation.

    On the way back to Wick I got a call from an old ICI colleague, David Vass telling us that he had just arrived at Wick marina, on a sail south from Shetland. I was very impressed by his yacht, the Borealis. At dinner we served oxtail. The recipe is a standard from the books but my nuance is to separate all the meat from the bone and grisle and form it into patties in a pasty cutter. The glutinous nature of the meat holds it together well and turns something gourmand into gourmet. We reminisced about ICI and the demise of the Dyestuffs industry in the UK- more about that later

Read excerps and buy The Stuart Agenda at Go to or for free read of first chapters and buy for Kindle readers.

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