One of my earliest memories of coming to Westray was a trip to find the fishmonger to see what I could get to cook for dinner that evening. I met John James Fergus in a garage at the side of the Pierowall Hotel and saw him fillet a Haddock with a knife so sharp it was as if it could cut the air. They showed me a farmed salmon so big it was too long to hold straight. Outside was a blue tub full to the brim with fish heads and skeletons so clean they looked as if they had come from a cartoon. We chose the Haddock.
Pierowall Fish is now in wonderful new premises with a stunning view of the bay and just a short journey from Gill Pier where boats like the Keila unload.
I’m in luck, as Kevin has agreed that I can come to take some photographs of him and the team filleting a fresh load of fish. Kevin shows me Torsk (or Tusk) with skin so tough and leathery it’s difficult to cut. Elaine shows me my favourite, Monkfish, as ugly to look at as they are delicious to taste. Rory is new and is tackling the squid, whilst Ann has made a beautiful batch of fish pies which Jean puts in the cold store.
Pierowall Fish supply all the best hotels and shops in Orkney and sell salted and smoked fish across the UK.
Tomorrow night Jack’s Chippy will be open at Pierowall Fish (Wednesdays and Saturdays). I think I’ll be ordering the Torsk.
The thistle is Scotland's national symbol. Scottish independence is as prickly as one.