The Scottish Highlands are so vast, they take up more space than the mainland of Scotland, even though they are far less populated. Stretching almost to Scandinavia in some places, most of the Highlands are made up of lots of islands, only a few that are inhabited. For this reason, the food is fairly different to the rest of Scotland.
So where are the Highlands? They cover over 10,000 square miles of Northern Scotland, including Cairngorms National Park and Loch Ness (‘Nessie’ is now believed to be a giant eel). Many people speak Scottish Gaelic and it also has the UK’s highest mountains. It’s home to stunning wildlife including mountain hares, red deer and even wild reindeer. It’s less than 200 miles from the Faroe Islands (a beautiful place that as self-governing, continues to hunt whales – Sea Shepherd is doing its best to stop this awful annual event).
Carrot Salmon & Cream Cheese Bagel (So Vegan) can also be made gluten-free. You can make the ‘salmon’ a little while before, and store the vegan cream cheese in the fridge for a few days, in an airtight container.
Not surprisingly, most of it is not very vegan-friendly – from fish and lobster, to grouse and venison (shot on estates) to Aberdeen steak, haggis and buttery shortbread. So here are a few options, if you are travelling that way, or wish to eat like a Scottish highlander, vegan-style.
Did you know that grouse shooting contributes to flooding? This is because the land is flattened to grow heather for the birds to eat, and peat bogs are then drained to make more heather grow. The removal of peat also harms wildlife, as does grouse shooting (hares carry a tick that could harm so are shot, and many mammals and sometimes birds of prey are (sometimes illegally) killed to protect an industry that receives millions in funds from the government. Lead shot is also toxic to wildlife.
The Best Vegan Lobster Rolls (Crowded Kitchen) is a New England recipe, but sure to be enjoyed by Scottish highlanders.
Vivera Aberdeen Angus Vegan Burger is now stocked in Sainsbury’s, and they say it’s indistinguishable from the real thing. This Dutch company is making waves everywhere with its incredible vegan meats. Vegan Venison with Cranberry & Red Wine Sauce (Meet the Shannons) is made with a vegan beef, ideal for gourmet tastes, but deer-friendly.
Try this recipe for a vegan haggis from Emma’s Little Kitchen. Pulses, wholegrains, vegetables and spices required. The commercial veggie haggis versions on sale at present contain palm oil.
See the post on how to make vegan shortbread.
Nature in the Highlands with Jim
- The Nature of Summer visits the Highlands, Perthshire and Trossachs heartlands to find flora and fauna galore. Climate chaos and unpredictable weather brings changes to the animals and birds he observes, alongside the wild beauty of the land, mountains, lochs, coasts and skies.
- The Nature of Winter looks at the dark days of wild storms and the glistening stillness of winter landscapes in beautiful Scotland. Jim bears witness to golden eagles, red deer and even whales, as they battle weather affected by climate change. In the snow, Jim discovers ancient footsteps that lead him to reflect on his journey of writing about nature.
- The Nature of Autumn tells the story of how unfolding autumn affects the wildlife of Jim Crumley’s beloved land in Scotland. Taking in September to November (from windswept Western Isles and the unforgiving Cairngorm plateau to the gentler Loch Lomond landscape), Jim experiences the deer rut, finds redwood trees in unexpected places and contemplates climate change, the death of his father and his love of nature, painting a portrait of a moody autumn.
- The Nature of Spring writes of the season of rebirth and rejuvenation. Earth’s northern hemisphere tilts towards the sun, winter yields to light and warmth and a wild elemental beauty transforms the Highland landscape. But climate chaos brings unwanted dramas to the lives of badger and fox, seal and seabird, and raptor, pine marten and sand martin. Jim lays bare the impact of global warming and urges us toward a more daring conservation vision, that embraces everything from a mountain treeline to a second spring for the wolf.