23rd April 2018
Established 1872. Online since 1996.

WATCH: Scallop diver harvests a bountiful supply for his Christmas lunch

Most people spend Christmas morning either having a lie-in or – perhaps if they are parents of small children – wishing they could have one.

But diving enthusiast Jonathan Kerr has not been wasting any time in his bed this festive season.

The 34-year-old father of three spent his Christmas morning diving for scallops off Weisdale Voe – which he then served his family as part of their Christmas meal.

Mr Kerr, from Whiteness, is used to having an open-air swim, having spent more time in the water than most people would dare contemplate. But four years ago he started taking things to a new level by gathering scallops for a tasty treat.

“We used to do Christmas swims every year. The last few years I’ve tended to go scallop diving, just to have something that’s a bit of fun for Christmas lunch,” he said.

“I do a lot of swimming in the sea, and a lot of exploring underwater. Scallops are a by-product of that. If you can get something from your free diving, like a scallop, it’s a bonus.

Free Dive Scalloping from DanDan Films on Vimeo.

“I’ve been scallop diving for probably about four years or so, but not just for scallops – it is for scallops as well as looking around and having a good leisure time in the water. Scallops are a perk of the job.”

The stay at home dad is a qualified PE teacher. He insists the whole family enjoys the chance to tuck into the healthy meal, adding: “The kids devour them”.

“I’m with a lively bunch of friends, so we all like to do various things – some of us go swimming in the sea.”

That is a place Mr Kerr certainly likes to spend time in. He said his main hobby for the last 15 years had been surfing. He has also done some kayaking in his time.

“I’ve spent a lot of time in the water, so I am very used to the water,” he added.

Of course, the added benefit of diving for scallops is that eating them is so much more rewarding if you caught them yourself.

“It’s very sustainable – you’re only taking out what you need, and obviously it’s a lot more enjoyable knowing you’ve collected it only an hour before you are eating it.
“It’s a lot more rewarding knowing you have caught it yourself.”

Mr Kerr’s Christmas Day swim took place in Weisdale Voe near to his house. But he adds scallops are in plentiful supply in locations far and wide.

“Pretty much every voe in Shetland has scallops. I was in Weisdale Voe.”

Mr Kerr’s latest escapades were captured on screen by film maker Dan Ralph – a brother in law of Mr Kerr who lives near Cardiff.

Mr Ralph was delighted to have the chance to film the adventure.

“Most people wake up on a Christmas morning, put the kettle on and open presents in their pyjamas,” he said, “but for some, that’s just not enough.”

 

About Ryan Taylor

Ryan Taylor has worked as a reporter since 1995, and has been at The Shetland Times since 2007, covering a wide variety of news topics. Before then he reported for other newspapers in the Highlands, where he was raised, and in Fife, where he began his career with DC Thomson. He also has experience in broadcast journalism with Grampian Television. He has lived in Shetland since 2002, where he harbours an unhealthy interest in old cars and motorbikes.

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