Thursday, 4 September 2008

Mushrooms and Mont Blanc

It's well known that mountaineering is a consuming passion and symptoms such as severe vomiting, cold sweats, delirium and even convulsions can be associated with high altitude mountaineering and is often referred to in this mountain guiding blog of mine! However one of my friends who I had the good fortune to stand alongside on the summit of Mont Blanc just a few years back has been experiencing such terrible symptoms. Nicholas and his wonderful wife Charlotte have been in Dr Greys in Elgin and now Aberdeen's Royal Infirmary as a result of tasting the wrong type of mushroom! Apparently the Deadly Webcap is remarkably similar to the innocent Chanterrelle, a common edible mushroom.
I am led to understand that they are recovering but I suppose it may take a while to see how their body's do recover from such a debilitating illness. I have my fingers crossed for them all. It's a simple enough mistake to make and then once you commit to eating them, its literally a life and death decision. So, if you do go down to our local woods today, remember our mushrooms are rather difficult to distinguish. The Chanterelle, Horse Mushroom, Giant Puffball, Chicken of the Woods and the Morel are the most common edible ones! One is well advised to stick to our local malts instead, identifying them is also difficult but at least the are all reasonably tasty. Interestingly enough, one soon realises that too much altitude, the wrong whisky or inedible mushrooms do provide similar devastating effects! So, Nicholas and his family have done us all a great service by highlighting this seasonal issue. Just today Kathy had come back from the woods with several ponds of Chanterelles... I do hope she knows what she is doing.
Anyway I wish all Nicholas and Charlotte's family a very quick and healthy recovery!

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