Nearly every cuisine on the planet includes fried seafood, but none make it so central to the larger national identity as the British with fish and chips. But as Tom Lamont finds in his year of reportage along the Scottish coast, the once-thriving “chippy” sector is facing a difficult road. Come for the aggressively quaint shop names, stay for a surprisingly sober read. It’s not clickbait, but you’ll still be hooked.

Before the main danger to fish and chip shops was the quarterly energy bill, it was sudden fire. Ignored for a moment, the hot cooking fat can get too hot, rising to an auto-ignition point and exploding. In a single year – 2018 – there were serious fires at Old Salty’s in Glasgow, the Admiral in Overseal, Mr Chips in Fakenham, the Pilton Fryer in Pilton, the Fish Bar in Fenham, Crossroads in Kingstanding, Graylings in Fremington, the River Lane Fish Bar in Norfolk, the Portway Fish Bar in Rowley Regis, Bruno’s on Canvey Island, Jimmy’s Palace in Liverpool, Scoffs in Paignton and Moby Dick in Shirley. “Doesn’t matter how experienced you are,” said Chris Lewis, one of the owners of the Wee Chippy in Anstruther, “if something mechanical goes, or something catches, and you haven’t seen it – that’s it, that’s your time.”