May I introduce the one on the left, Rab Kerr, Head Ghillie of Queensberry Fishings and the one on his right, Jimmy. Not that I ever had to look for either of them, the contrary is true; they looked after me like two true gentlemen. Jimmy was my Ghillie for three days and Rab made sure I was well and truly looked after…..
Coming down the beautiful Dalween Pass into Nith valley I reached Thornhill where I was to stay during my fishing time. Alois liked the trip I think, he was purring contentedly and very fond of the music I played whilst driving. I arrived at the Trigony House Hotel in time to learn that they had messed up my booking- that’s just what I needed after this long drive, I thought. They had a spare room for the night but I had to get accommodation at a guest house for next day! They assured me that I could have all Dinners at their Hotel though, very nice indeed as the food proved to be very good. Just as well I stayed for Dinner as it turned out there was a party of shooters who immediately „adopted“ me into their group which was very nice. On all my trips alone so far, people just nodded kindly to me and maybe thought what the hell is she doing here on her own? The „adoption“ went as far as me being invited to share their „fumoir“ the second evening, as we all moaned about not being able to smoke in the hotel lounge.
Et voilà: The „fumoir“, a brand new Rang Rover latest model- in the end there were 3 smoking cigars and 1 smoking a pipe! Thanks, Eddie, I bet you had the car valet in…
And that’s not all: Albert even offered to drive me to my guest house for the night and to pick me up the next morning. That meant I could have a dram or two in the fumoir and therefore Alois could stay at the Hotel car park and would not get wet as, surprise, surprise it rained all night and in fact nearly during all my stay.
Forgot this should be a fishing blog… but as I said time after time there is also a social aspect to fishing. Yes fishing: Monday morning at 9 on the dot I was drving to the Estate Office of Drumlanrig Castle to meet Rab and Jimmy. I was getting a little worried about Alois because his roof leaked terribly with the amount of rain coming down from the heavens. Rab had a quick thought and finally came up with an idea about where I could park my car:
Mmhhh, yes this looks quite adequate for my Alois I thought, has style!
That’s where he ended up. Quite different I admit but I was glad he got a dry place anyway thanks to Rab.
First day I could fish the fly on the lower beat of Queensberry Waters. No fish was interested in any of my flies, though. Lunch was frugal with a little bottle of something:
Went into the hut to be dry for a few moments. It had no heating – tough for me, thinking of my shooting pals having a sumptuous lunch at Drumlanrig castle…..
Never mind, Jimmy and I had just as good a time. Second day still able to fish the fly, had a little parr on and then a fish on for just about 5 secs…. before it got away. There is still tomorrow, I thought.
And tomorrow came!! River up to 4 feet 9 in! And still rising! This meant no fly-fishing but out came the spinning rod with heavy metal. I had to wait until about 12.10 when I suddenly felt this huge tug and away went the line. I could feel the pressure on the rod and hoped the line was at least 15lbs breaking strain. The fish took off upstream, came back downstream and sulked again and again for at least 30 mins when my hands got numb with the cold. Jimmy took over for a few minutes as I had to get rid of one of my gloves. And he enjoyed playing the fish just as much as I did! More time passed then the fish was tiring. Jimmy got hold of my I-phone and and filmed the following. The music I chose for the video is from Rameau’s „ballet héroique“ – and that’s just how I did at times leaping over brambles and bushes trying to be in control…playing the fish.
He had to stop filming as it was time to net the fish. There was no way of beaching it because the bank was steep and the water was too deep… afraid of loosing the b….. after 45 mins, we were eager to get him out. And just see the monster I caught:
We just stood there and looked at one another and then burst into laughter. When and how the fish got away is a story in the stars….we never found the lure on the tree but a lot of nylon and leaves around it.
That was the end of my epic journey in many ways, to the Nith, I shall never forget it, believe me!
My last page this year will be of a visit to Leslie Pritschard, fly-dresser, a true character and good friend of the Buckie Anglers.