You're right, this is a thistle above, not nettles. Have been away in remote-ish Scotland (Isle of Skye area) for a week w siblings. Lots of hikes and cooking fish various ways.
Also, finally had a chance to try making nettle pesto from a bush outside the cottage - having been inspired by our author friend Whole Larder Love long ago. Spoiler alert - awesome. Picture below does not do it justice - the pesto comes out fantastically green - nuclear Hulk green. Not 100% sure how to define the nettle taste - once you have garlicky, oily, nutty, fried day-old-spaghetti (so good...) you could dress it with blended cardboard and it might taste OK. Still, there is a definite thrill of victory in having gone out with your work gloves and picked an inhospitable plant and turned it into something edible.
Tons of recipes out there and you can add and subtract (I used pistachios ground up instead of pine nuts and didn't have a processor so just chopped it) - but this below reprinted from Edible. Huge recommend.
"Italians make nettle pesto, or pesto d’urtica, in springtime.
3 cups raw stinging nettles
3 medium garlic cloves
1/4 cup pine nuts, toasted
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
Parmesan cheese, finely grated
1. Using tongs or gloves, measure 3 tightly packed cups of raw young nettle tops. Add them to salted boiling water for 1 to 2 minutes, drain immediately and then place the greens in a bowl of ice water to stop the cooking [didn't do this part - ed.]. Cool, strain and squeeze dry using a tea towel to remove every drop of moisture that you can.
2. Coarsely chop the nettles to make about 1 cup. Add them to the bowl of a food processor with the garlic cloves and pine nuts. While pulsing, slowly add the olive oil, 1 tablespoon at a time. Season to taste with salt, pepper and Parmesan cheese. You might add a small knob of soft butter and a squeeze of lemon juice if it needs brightening. Blend once more to incorporate the final additions [i didn't do this part - ed]."