These are alarmingly threatened by extinction and are not for consumption for the forseeable future.
The mountain hare is genuinely native to the UK, unlike the more common Brown Hare or even the rabbit, both of which are introduced species. In recent times, it has received some protection as in Scotland there is a defined close season, 1stMarch to 31st July. In the 18th/19th centuries, hare (both brown and mountain) was a prized meat and eaten in country areas and available in town and city markets.
It inhabits in remote, inhospitable landscapes and seen only by those prepared to make the effort to climb rough mountainous terrain. In terms of culinary use, afew game suppliers in Scotland can supply Mountain Hare, so it can get into the food chain, but it is very uncommon.
The Mountain Hare has a lighter, sweeter, slightly less gamey flavour than the brown hare, though it is darker and stronger in flavour than rabbit. Female hares are deemed preferable, and ideally young. Hares have a lot of blood, and this tends to contribute to the “gamey” flavour and darker meat.
There is a dilemma with the Mountain Hare as they compete with the grouse habitat but they are also prone to a disease they are vulnerable to so for both these reasons are endangered.
Currently unavailable due to its scarcity. photo: ©Lorne Gill/SNH