Last week we were up in the Highlands for our first family holiday. As many of you know, every year since 1997 I have penetrated Scotland to various degrees for a week of angling adventures. Sometimes we entered only a short distance, certainly in the early years when we didn’t quite know what we were doing. Then, as we became more confident we really began to push ever deeper until we really couldn’t go much further. It seemed the deeper we went the greater the enjoyment. Once, we experimented and ventured into Ireland but we felt a bit wrong afterwards and promised we’d never do it again. But now, 22 years later it’s finally happened, no annual fishing holiday with my mates but it took a baby to finally interrupt proceedings. Not that I’m complaining and besides, as someone once cuttingly said “What Bob wants Bob gets” so it was inevitable I was going to try sneak in some kind of action.
My first little sojourn was a birthday walk up the Pap of Glencoe to try keep my fitness ticking over and get some nice pictures. The weather held out all morning and I thoroughly enjoyed the steep pull up to the summit which was rewarded with cracking views out over Glencoe, Ballachulish, Kinlochleven and beyond.
I had of course also packed my fishing gear in the car (just…it was bursting at the seams with the addition of a pushchair, Moses basket, child car seat, mountains of baby clothes etc etc) but as the week progressed it looked increasingly unlikely that I’d manage to ‘get some in’. However, after an excellent little run out to Morar and Mallaig we returned to our cottage in glorious evening sunshine and there was just enough time for me to collect a green card, knock up a flask, load up the Airflo Outlander vest pack thing and blast out onto Rannoch Moor. I say blast, I was doing ‘around 60’ where appropriate and yet cars were queuing up to get past Driving Miss Daisy at the first opportunity. I went past the obvious Ba and instead parked up in a layby to walk down to Lochan Na Cha Lacha Ding Dong (as we named it back in 2006 when we first fished it).
The timing felt right – the holiday was all about us and the boy, and fishing was always an afterthought but yeah sloping off to round off the day with an hour’s fishing at dusk was just the cherry on top. I bought that Outlander not entirely sure when and where it would get used apart from river fishing but this was the perfect little mission for it. Small flask, bottle of water, wading jacket and a box of flies with a travel rod stuck in the back. I tried to get a Trout & Salmon type shot with it in the foreground but it turned out high-ISO shit.
Now, would I catch owt? It’s September, it’s cold, windy, very little cloud cover, no insects hatching off – hmm, could be difficult! 5 minutes later I saw a swirl near my fly which was mid pause and I lifted into a crackers little Rannoch Moor brownie.
I tried to get a photo for the blog but he was off like a rocket. A few minutes later I landed another spirited little fish which was kind enough to pose for me and therefore give me some more actual fishing content on the blog.
A few more lost fish, a sit down with my coffee and some general staring into the distance and it was time to head back to the car before it was too dark and my lethal felt soled waders pitched me into a bog head first. It really was just an hour’s fishing when you take into account the the faff, tackling up etc but it was enough to scratch that little itch..for now!