Well not quite, let me explain.
While on holiday it was our anniversary and we went on a boat trip, not some romantic gondola ride or luxury evening meal on a starlight cruise, no this was a working fishing boat, shellfish to be exact, spoilt rotten aren’t I?
As the creels were lifted from the mud at the bottom of Loch Gair the hope was that they would contain langoustines, brown or velvet crabs and maybe squat lobsters, these are all saleable and the reason Ian and others like him work so hard in all weathers. Of course other things also work themselves into the creels; starfish in various varieties which are prolific but have no commercial value at all; small shore crabs which don’t grow big enough to have any eating on them; flat fish and bottom feeders, hermit crabs and rare shellfish which aren’t for eating like the pelicanfoot. The little shellfish get thrown back along with the edible crabs and langousitines which are too small or with eggs, other stuff gets used for baiting the creels up again but you can read about all that over at this post on Hubby’s blog, what I want to talk about is shoes!
Now he looks like a cute little creature doesn’t he? He is a scorpion fish and I for one was surprised to see him as I thought they prefered warmer climes, but it would appear I was wrong. This is a little baby Loch Gair has bigger examples they just can’t get into the creels, which was were he ended up. Unlike other fish that makes its way into the creels however, this fella gets another chance at life, for his dorsal fin which is laying flat in this picture has sharp needles which inject vemon into anyone or fish which might come in contact with them. If you or I were to stand on one of these fish we would have a severe allergic reaction causing swelling and pain – though probably not death hence the not quiet reference above to the title of this post – maybe cute was the wrong adjective to use for him.
Wester Ross is beautiful but also unforgiving the people who have lived there through the centuries have learnt the value in all things. Scorpion fish are bottom feeders and like most bottom feeders have thick skin, another bottom feeder common in those waters is the dogfish – part of the shark family – whose skin is so thick and rough that in earlier years it was used as sandpaper. The scorpion fish carcass will make a good fish stew but its skin, unlike that of a dogfish, had of no commercial value, however when the skin was dried it became like leather so was used to make shoes for the children of the fishermen who otherwise would have probably gone totally without shoes.
So shoes to die for, not quite, but maybe he really is a cute fella after all.