Is the skerry up?

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Is the skerry up? is the question that sometimes goes roond wur hoose at this time o year. Fur if the skerry’s up, it’s worth hivvan a try for spoots doon at the shore. I fling oilskins, a bucket, an a gairdeen fork intae the back o the ker and set off.

Only the biggest tides expose the spoot beds. An me favourite spot is cheust inside the point at Aikerness, close tae the Broch o Gurness. This is whar ye’ll see folk waakin backwards across the sand, lukkan fur the telltale elliptical aperture afore plungan the fork doon, turnan owre the sand, an grippan the spoot.

Then there’s a life an death struggle as ye draw him up fae deep aneath the beach. He’s duggid, sharp, an slippery, and won’t gie up his life easily. Eventually, ye’ll feel him relax, an ye can draa him oot. Tak care no tae draa him up too kweek, or ye’ll loss the fruit. His shell is like varnished teak. Clunk in the bucket.

It’s great tae stretch up an luk oot tae Eynhallow an Rousay fae the watter’s edge in the winter grimleens, the great tangles lyan limp aal roond in the massive ebb. The folk that bade at the Broch o Gurness likely did the sam afore a feed o spoots on a winter night.

Wae half a bucket fill an darkness closan in, it’s time fur home. On wae the fryan pan an oot wae the butter an black pepper. High heat an cheust show them the pan, really. The owld folk likely haed a can o MacEwen’s Export wae thur spoots. These days, we like a gless o crisp Chardonnay tae wash them doon. Hou tae describe them if ye hivna eaten them afore? Somewhar atween calamaris an scallops – but different fae both. There’s notheen like a spoot!

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