It’s not a good year for bramble picking. These wild, prickly blackberry bushes are very common in Scotland and usually prolific patches of tangled fruit can be easily found at the side of country roads or off forest paths. Not so this year. The lack of heat and sunshine over the summer has resulted in masses of tiny, sour berries peppering roadside shrubs.
I had all but given up on making jam this year until a stunningly clear and still evening inspired me to take my bike along the canal path. Rather than ride on the smooth, gravelly tow path on the south side of the water, I opted for the overgrown northern path (hurray for mountain bikes) and I’m very glad I did. Tucked in amongst rowan, gorse and broom were the best brambles I’ve seen this year!
Despite my bright pink stained hands and the multiple thorn scratches, an hour of berry picking in the sunshine beside perfectly still water was wonderfully relaxing. Enough berries were collected not only for a couple of jars of bramble and apple jelly but also for use in a venison stew experiment.
Watch this space for the results! 🙂