Monday, 15 June 2009

The Simmer Dim

At this time of year, it doesn't get dark much in the north of Scotland. A couple hours of darkness at most, and a clear night can stay bright enough to read at midnight due to the glow in the sky from the just-dipped sun. In the Northern Isles, this is called the simmer dim, and it compensates to some degree for the long winter nights.

In Shetland after midnight © Dave Gifford:


I remember cycling unsteadily round Rousay after the pub shut, lights unnecessary, looking across the Wyre Sound to the smooth whalebacks of the Orkney mainland, Kirkwall winking in the distance.

I recall visiting a bar in a fishing hotel on the north coast of Sutherland, then retiring to my tent for the night as a couple of punters headed to a nearby loch for a fish. I woke in the morning, went up a hill, and back in the bar that evening saw the fishermen again, who were considering another night of fishing. They hadn't been to bed at all.

The simmer dim doesn't affect everyone this way. However one Simmer Dim that would affect everyone is my favourite bottled beer. CAMRA members will tell you there are better cask ales, but they all lose much of their flavour when bottled. For some reason, Simmer Dim doesn't, and tastes just as good out the bottle as on cask.



Unfortunately for sooth-moothers like myself this beer is only available in Orkney and Shetland. Another reason to visit...

1 comment:

Alex González said...

Enjoyed your post, Simmer Dim is new for me (both word and ale!)