Staying on the safe side of Mushrooms

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Benefiting from nature’s wild harvests can be a rewarding experience – but if you don’t know what you are doing it can also be very risky, especially when it comes to fungi.

Forestry Commission Scotland is running a one-day event this weekend (Saturday 18 September) to help people gain some knowledge, some experience and some confidence in gathering mushrooms in the wild.

Ruari Watt, with the Commission’s Lochaber team said:

“Fungi are probably one of the best know 'wild harvest items. There are a lot of different types of fascinating fungi growing in woodlands each other but they all have their own unique properties.

"Every toadstool and mushroom is a miracle of nature: billions of spores are released from even a small wood and they are capable of travelling around the globe. Just a few settling on the right kind of habitat to allow them to grow.

“Some are delicious when cooked and others can kill you so it’s important to know what you are about.

“Our day out - with fungi enthusiast, Peter Simson - will help you sort your Penny Buns from your Chanterelles and know which are the Destroying Angels.

“By the end of the day you should have a pretty good grounding in the skills that will help you know which fungi to pick and which to leave well alone. You'll also have an understanding of why you should only pick sparingly, taking enough only for personal consumption and leaving enough to keep the local habitat enriched."

The day-long event costs £15 per adult and £5 for under-16s and includes the cost of the minibus hire that will take participants to the foraging site.

The mini bus will leave from the Commission’s Torlundy office at 10am.

It would be useful if anyone coming along had their own fungi identification book, but it’s not essential.

Packed lunch and a basket for collecting your mushrooms are essential – and brining along your won fungi identification book might also be useful to help you throughout the day.

Booking essential on 01397 702184.

1. Forestry Commission Scotland serves as the Scottish Government’s forestry directorate and manages the 660,000 hectare national forest estate. The Commission’s woodlands are making a difference to the well being of Scotland’s people and their communities. Local woodlands act as a catalyst for communities to meet up, get involved with projects and volunteering, or simply enjoy the many walking trails, bike rides and peace and quiet that forests and woodlands can offer.