Known as the ‘silver darlings’, the beautiful herring is famous for its large shining shoals. It was once the food of the poor and the saying ‘neither fish, nor fowl nor good red herring’ referred to the diets of the clergy, the rich and the poor. Red herring is fish which is dry salted then smoked, as opposed to white herring, which is cured in barrels. The use of red herring to mean a decoy appears to have arisen from its smell, which was apparently strong enough to cover the scent of a fox’s trail! Huge shoals of herring used to migrate from the winter grounds in Norway past
Scotland in summer and by the19th C a huge curing industry had built up.