Wild Walks in Scotland – Isle Of Skye

The most intriguing thing about the Isle of Skye is its attached, albeit by a bridge, to the island which I call home. Nowhere else within the UK has the same ancient; almost mythical feel about it. I visited the island a few weeks ago with my old pal Jamie. We parked Storm (07 Citreon Relay 2.2 HDI 100 L1h1 medium panel van) in the large lay by just after Kilamarie. The destination was Camasunary Bothy, a 3 mile hike over a small hill.

The hike took me and Jamie around an hour and a half, mainly due to our severe fatness and all round general poor health. It is an absolute cracker of a walk, for such a small hike it really is staggeringly beautiful. Of course, we were both armed with sea fishing rods. After cresting the hill and walking down to Camsunary we stopped to recover our breath on some rocks by the sea.Almost immediately upon our arrival small fish were jumping just yards out from the rocks upon which we were perched. I eagerly tackled up a spinning outfit and got stuck in, then the darndest thing happened….

An entire family, two adults, 3 kids and dog emerged, in the sea, from around the headland to my left, swimming frantically with a rather large log in tow, all supported by a couple of buoys. Straight through my swim. Now, bear in mind, this isn’t an inner city park lake full of people and dogs, I had driven for 14 hours, to one of the remote parts of the country where you don’t expect to see anyone for miles and  5 minutes after arrival, two generations of an entire bloody family with pets swan through my swim.

It turns out that the offending family live in the house of Camasunary, which it just so happens has no access via road and the only way to get wood for heating is to swim it around from Elgor. To think I get pissed off when I have to put my beer down and walk 3 metres to the heating programmer in my house to pop the heating on. Despite killing my swim, the family seemed really nice and I take my hat off to them for their efforts, although I do think really you should only do that once and then invest in a boat.

The fishing eventually recovered and despite having 5 takes in 5 casts I couldn’t get a fish to stick. Probably need to sharpen a few of the hooks on my old lures to be honest. It must be noted that throughout my short session there were sea trout jumping everywhere. I would love to come back with a fly rod and some waders, but I most certainly would not like to do the walk again especially carrying my knackered old waders.

After fishing, we retired to an already half full bothy. The Camasunary Bothy comprises of 5 sleeping rooms and 2 lounges both with fires. One of the main rooms was already occupied by 3 Frenchman, a German, and a guitar playing Czech. Naturally, we opted for the empty room. After a long day we got our Trangia’s out and started rustling up some dinner. Whilst Jamie cooked up some Pasta N Sauces, on the menu for me (due to a logistical error back at Storm), was a delicious mix of mushroom soup, processed peas and rice. As I was polishing off my disgusting dinner, 4 merry Czech men walked through the door. After briefly sizing each up (always a wise move in a shared bothy to make sure your new roomies aren’t “murderer looking” types); we all tentatively started small talk. Soon, a can of Stella was offered to me which I readily accepted. This was a really kind act, I would certainly not carry beers over that hill and then give them away, willy nilly, to a fat Englishman, whom, I had just met in the middle of nowhere, especially one eating one of the weirdest dinners anyone has ever seen.

As the night progressed, slowly, more and more booze was produced and eagerly consumed. I contributed my vintage bottles of Aldi London Gin and Napoleon Brandy. These went down a treat, you would have thought they were bottles of Hennessy Cognac or a nice cold Taittinger. I suppose when your out in the wilds these little luxuries go a long way, just ask swimming log family.

 

2014 a statistical review

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2014 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

The concert hall at the Sydney Opera House holds 2,700 people. This blog was viewed about 11,000 times in 2014. If it were a concert at Sydney Opera House, it would take about 4 sold-out performances for that many people to see it.

Click here to see the complete report.

My Top 8 Fishing Blogs

Here’s my top 8 fishing blogs (in no particular order!). Hopefully this list contains the best fishing blogs but if you know any more please pop a link into the comments below.

Number 8 – Totally Awesome Fishing

Graeme and Mike Pullen, seem to be at the forefront of the video magazine format style video. Any angler could learn from Graeme’s wealth of experience, I myself have put the infamous “twitching sprats” technique into practice more than a few times, to erm great success. Being from a similar neck of the woods as the TAF team, I have fished many of the waters which feature on their TAF channel, in fact, I was once fishing the Throop Stretch of the River Stour struggling for bites when Graeme and Mike swooped along the opposite bank hooking into pike time and time again. It was a shameful performance on my part but I don’t feel so bad because it was a bit like playing five a side with Ronaldo on the other team.

Number 7 – Chris Wesley Fishing Videos

Chris’ string of films demonstrate a masterclass in specimen angling. Chris latest videos are some of the best produced angling videos around. There is always some good fish in the net at the end of the day. Perhaps Chris’s speciality are beautiful carp from established southern gravel pits.

Number 6 – Carl and Alex Fishing

In a sport which is dominated by grey bearded pipe smokers Carl and Alex are proof that fishing does still appeal to the younger generation. Now teamed up with Anglers Mail, the young duo are already far more capable anglers than I will probably ever be.

Number 5 – Dan Jones Carp and Coarse Swansea

South Wales finest fishing blog, features an angler and his exploits around the local still water fishings and some prestigious welsh rivers. A talented angler and an all round nice bloke. Recommended viewing.

Number 4 – Wilderness TV

Wilderness TV are purveyors of fine fly fishing films both informative and well shot they are a pleasure to watch. My personal favourite “Fly Fishing in the Black Mountains” was the inspiration for a recent trip up to Grwyne Fawr Reservoir in search of wild brown trout.

Number 3 – The Wild North

My perfect life would be living in a cabin in Canada driving around boats and quad bikes, shooting guns in the air and doing fishing. Of course there are further aspects to a life in the wild. This film documents them,  a window from the civilised world out into the Wild North.

Number 2 – Fishing Britain

This is a fairly recent edition to my youtube playlists, a spin off program from the Field Sports Channel (also excellent if you are into your hunting and shooting sports). This youtube magazine is fronted by Hywel Morgan fly fishing legend backed up with regular appearances from angling legends like northern monkey Ant Glascoe Junior and submariner Richard Chapman. This show is the best thing to happen to fishing since the invention of the always hilarious boilie throwing sticks.

Number 1 – Back of the landing net

This channel provided me the inspiration to bore people with my own fishing exploits. Although, Back of the Landing net is far from boring, with genuine laugh out loud moments my personally favourite is Jay falling into King Vincent’s Lake on Somerley Estate (another one of my old stomping grounds). If you watch the series from start to end you truly do see an evolution of Chris and Jays fishing abilities, as well as increased production value. Despite recently breaking it into the main stream with fast cars and sponsorship deals on tap these two Dorset lads remembered there roots and built a friendly active community. On top of this they regularly organise charity events which include matches and the Three Peaks Challenge, I partook, in the Three Peaks Challenge with the boys and it was hard work but a great laugh. Check out the forum here.

Fly Fishing with Buzzers

Another brilliant video from Wilderness TV. If you’re a fisher check out their YouTube channel.

https://www.youtube.com/user/techsecmedia

Simple Trout Recipe

Here’s a simple trout recipe that relies on the freshness of the ingredients rather than being bombarded with rich flavours.

Admittedly I think a smoked fish would lend itself better to a simple dish such as this.

Ingredients

  • Freshly caught trout preferably in the 1/2 lb to 1 & 1/2 lb range
  • Parsley
  • Butter
  • Lemon
  • Freshly Baked Bread

Method

Cooking a trout in this fashion takes probably 3 mins to prepare. First clean the fish by cutting along from the trout’s anus up to the v on its gill plates underneath its head. Reach inside the cavity and pull out the entrails in one piece. The quicker this is done after killing the fish the better as the guts will spoil a fish. Then use the back of the knife to scale the fish rubbing against the grain until all the shiny scales are gone.

Whilst the grill is warming up stuff the cavity with butter, parsley and lemon. I tend to cook the trout under a medium high heat on the grill. Be sure to give the outside of the trout a good smothering with butter so it colours up nicely.

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Once the grill is hot whack the trout underneath and give it about 5 or 6 minutes on each size depending on the effectiveness of your grill and the size of the trout. I am far from being king of trout cooking but this is just a rough guide to how I do a simple meal with the catch from my day out.

Please ping back links to any trout recipes that you have.

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Walking in Wales – Grwyne Fawr Reservoir

The Grwyne Fawr Reservoir is tucked away high up in the Black Mountains, cast in the shadow of  Waun Fach.  The landscape is rugged and unspoilt. This area makes for some of the best hiking in South Wales and the Brecon Beacons National Park. The best access from the South of Wales is up the Old Hereford Road from Abergavenny. Turn off left just after the Crown in Pantyjelli (stop for obligatory pint), follow this road up through Bettws, stay on this road until you reach the five way junction just after the Forest Coal Pit, at this point you take the northern road up to the reservoir. It is signposted from here. Parking is best half a mile after you pass Nant y Bedd farm. 

There are three main routes up to the reservoir from the car park. Two of the main routes are along the right hand side of the river. One is the high rugged path up to the top end of the dam wall, this is the easiest route up the water. The second walk up the right hand side of the river is along the tarmacked road up to the bottom of the dam wall, this route follows the river meandering down from its source past some old farm houses foundations and eventually past the pump houses at the bottom of the dam wall. This route culminates in a short climb up a spiralling track with beautiful views of dam wall and the valley below.

The third route for the adventurous is along the western side of the river and climbs up the route to Waun Fach. This adds considerable effort but rewards the dedicated with breathtaking views and tired legs.

Here’s a photo trail of my walk. We took the hard road cos we’re ‘arrrd bastards. Fishing report to follow.

 

 

 

 

 

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