Summertime in Lanarkshire (2)

In 1972 Richard Mabey wrote a book called “Food for Free” which was published by Collins. This book has proved so popular it is still in print and Collins also have produced a pocket sized “gem” edition.

Edible Plants

Living in Lanarkshire, the damp conditions beside the Rivers Avon and Clyde provide an excellent environment for many of the plants mentioned in the above book. I have tried some of the recipes in the book including:

  • wild garlic leaves in salads 
  • heather tea 
  • dandelion leaf salad 
  • dandelion root coffee 
  • comfrey leaf salad
  • cooked chickweed
Wild Garlic
Wild Garlic

Many of the flowers can also be found in many gardens so it is not always essential to walk miles to get free food. Although Richard Mabey includes a chapter on fungi, I have not tried to eat any unless bought from a shop.


Summer is also when the birds rear their young. On the River Clyde a female Goosander was on the water with her youngsters. When she saw us she swam to the other side of the river with her goslings.

Goosander and Goslings

The Goosander was quite far away and we only had a compact camera, but we managed to get a blurry photograph. It was quite a cold day despite it being at the end of May and the goslings tucked themselves under mum’s feathers to keep warm.

Greylag Geese

A pair of adult Greylag Geese were also on the water with their youngsters and were not afraid of the people walking about.

Mallard Ducks and Ducklings

Yes, summertime is a great time for those who love wildlife.


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