Join foraging guide Mark Williams of Galloway Wild Foods and professional mycologist Nev Kilkenny for an immersive weekend of mycology, mushroom hunting and wild gastronomy in South West Scotland.
The weekend consists of talks, forays, presentations, workshops and fungi-themed wild foods. We will be based in a woodland classroom and make two forays into mycologically diverse habitats, encountering a vast range of fungal characters. The ticket price includes a copy of the field guide we will be using throughout the weekend.
This is a chance to explore all aspects of the fungal kingdom in the company of two of the UK’s leading fungi educators. The event is suitable for fungi novices, though those with a basic understanding of fungi looking to improve their ID skills and connect more deeply with mycology will get most out of it.
Nev Kilkenny is a widely respected professional mycologist, who trained under the tutelage of Professor Roy Watling at the Royal Botanic Gardens, Edinburgh. Nev is involved in many events and projects to raise awareness of the importance of fungi, in association with organisations such as The Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh, Plantlife Scotland & Scottish Natural Heritage. Nev is a member of the Association of Foragers, and sees foraging as an excellent entryway into a deeper appreciation of all fungi.
Mark Williams of Galloway Wild Foods is a passionate mycophile, wild gastronomer and professional wild food educator, who has been teaching about wild mushroom identification and edibility for 30 years. Mark is a font of knowledge and enthusiasm on wild fungi, specialising in making this often daunting subject fun and accessible to novices, while providing solid foundations for a lifetime of discovery, enjoyment and worry-free wild eating. Mark writes widely on this subject and works closely with leading mycologists, landowner/conservation organisations such as The National Trust and Scottish Natural Heritage. Mark’s wild mushroom cookins are legendary! Mark is also a long-standing member of the Association of Foragers.
Nev and Mark share a love of the outdoors and the natural world, and know how to make the often daunting subject of fungi fun and accessible. You will leave with new skills, knowledge and insights into the remarkable world of fungi.
Please note that Due to the complex nature of fungi and mushroom identification, this event is not recommended for children under 16 years. Sorry, this event is not suitable for dogs.
Gatehouse of Fleet area. We will be based in a woodland classroom near Gatehouse of Fleet. Day 2 begins in a forest within 30 minutes drive of Gatehouse of Fleet (lift shares can be organised on day 1). Ticket holders will be notified of the exact meeting point in the week prior to the event. There is information on visiting the area, and places to stay here.
The weekend is designed to give a full and rounded insight into the fungal kingdom and to help those with a basic grounding in fungi identification and usage take their skills to the next level. While we will certainly take an interest in edible fungi, and eat plenty, the weekend is about exploring and understanding ALL fungi. The weekend includes slide presentations, hands-on workshops, edible fungi cookery and preservation, wild food lunches, discussion of the most useful textbooks, and two major forays exploring a wide range of fungi habitats
The event takes place from 9.30am to 6pm on Saturday 14th October, and from 9am to 5pm on Sunday 15th October. Accommodation is not included – there are tips on places to stay in and around Gatehouse of Fleet here.
Over two 8 hour days, approximately half our time will be spent in the woods, exploring fungi. The forays move at a gentle pace, but you will be on your feet for up to 4 hours. Saturday’s foray is flat, mostly on well made paths, while Sunday’s foray covers relatively steep ground as we climb through oak and beech woodland to an ancient hill pasture, where we will explore grassland species. The event is timed to allow us to encounter the widest possible diversity of fungi (expect over 100 species), but this can be a wet time of year. You should be of moderate fitness and comfortable outdoors in all weathers for up to 4 hours.
Indoor classroom sessions will comprise a mixture of talks, workshops, demonstrations, Q&A sessions, and you will have ample opportunity to get hands-on with a microscope.
The weekend includes a fungi themed wild food lunch on each day, wild mushroom cookery and tastings, mushroom snacks and drinks, and tea and coffee through the day. All dietary requirements can be catered for and there is a place to note these on booking. You should also bring your own snacks/packed lunch each day, as our itinerary may mean we eat at unusual times and we can’t carry all the picnics on both forays!
The ticket price includes a copy of Paul Nicol’s book “An Initial Guide to the Identification of Mushrooms and Toadstools”, which will be our core text, and yours to take home after. You can read my short review of it here.
Topics covered include:
- The important roles fungi plays in nature
- How to go about identifying important families and species of fungi
- Looking after fungi specimens
- How to make and use spore prints to help identify fungi
- The role foragers can play in recording fungal diversity
- Multiple fungi habitats, including ancient oak, beech, conifers, birch and ancient pasture
- How to observe and record key features of fungi
- An introduction to microscopy
- How to home in on the most rewarding edible species
- Responsible harvesting: ethics and sustainable harvesting practices
- Important poisonous species
- Medicinal and utilitarian uses of fungi
- Psychedelic fungi
- Preservation and cooking techniques
- Key resources for taking your personal learning forward
- Using fungi in wild cocktails
- Fungi lore, tales and stories
Further Information: All ticket holders will be emailed full details of our meeting point etc in the week prior to the event. To ensure you receive the email, follow the instructions that come with your booking confirmation. If you have specific questions that aren’t answered here, please email firstname.lastname@example.org .
Equipment required: Stout outdoor footwear, indoor footwear for the classroom, weather-appropriate clothing, drinking water, packed lunch each day. It may also add to your enjoyment and learning to bring some or all of: a small basket or cloth bag, notebook, camera, your favourite fungi field guide.
Please note that the emphasis in this event is on meeting and learning about a wide range of fungi, not filling baskets with choice edibles.
Please read the IMPORTANT INFORMATION tab on this page before booking and again before setting off for the event.