Mussel Men of Conwy


Conwy is a small town in Northern Wales, famous in the region for its castle built by Edward 1, but all the more so for what happens on the sea edge just below its remains. Conwy mussels are renowned for being sweet and tender.
The daily ritual begins with the tides - it could be in the middle of the night or a very early morning. The "Mussel Men" set off in their boats to a point 4 miles away where the Conwy River meets the Irish Sea. Here they hand rake (but progressively more so dredge) the mussel beds from which they are brought back to a pontoon just off the shore of Conwy itself. Here they are left until they are brought into the factory. If it can be called that. A small outbuilding with 4 infrared cleansing tanks, a fridge, and a sorting machine. The mussels are washed through for a period of 42 hours (twice that of on the continent), hand sorted, hand bagged and then shipped all round Wales and the North West of England.
Although takings can be small, this is as much as a tradition as it is a business, and so long as the demand for the mussels still exists, then the "Mussel Men" will too.
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