The Gravy Trail


One summer many years ago when in my early twenties I was at home in Hilton on holiday from work.  It was a beautiful day and as I often did I set out to walk along the shore as far as the salmon-fishers bothy. There is a wide grassy strip between the shore and the Cadboll Hills which stretches for miles almost to the Lighthouse.


I had almost reached the bothy when I noticed and heard a great commotion down on the rocks. I could see a big object resting on the pools and stones at the shore and went down to see what it was. It was grey-white, barrel-shaped and covered in gulls pecking away, screaming their heads off. As soon as I came near the whole lot rose up and flew screeching in anger round my head. Although I was scared they would actually attack me I managed to hack off a small piece of what I took to be roast fat. Then I was glad to retreat and the gulls, scores of them, still screeching settled down again to feed on the fat.


I wrapped my piece in the clean hanky and made for home as quick as I could. There my sister took it to a local butcher who certified it to be the finest roast dripping. That was the start of the ‘gravy-rush’!  Word soon got around the village and for the next couple of days there was a steady procession of folk on foot or with bicycles, baskets and bags, on their way to or from the gravy bonanza. As my sister remarked ‘The Hilton frying-pans il be skirling the night!


We never found out where the dripping had come from but think it might have come from a wrecked ship. Whatever the container had been at must have been big.