Isle of Skye: Report One
0r, as Orville put it,
I wish I could fly up in the Skye
The boss asked if I'd consider helping out on the Isle of Skye,
not wishing to appear too keen I gave it all of two nano seconds thought...and reached for a game catalogue...
It's a long, long drive.
Set off from Rhyl before breakfast on Sunday, enjoyed a fry-up at Tebay Services and then broke the journey about half way with a visit to The Glasgow Angling Centre where lots of pretty shiney things compete for your pocket money.
At Fort William there's still 150 miles to go, but Kodak moments come thick and fast
11 hours from home the windscreen was thick with midge splat and fatigue was setting in when the Skye Bridge was at last in sight
Skye itself is bigger than I realised, at about 50 miles by 25 but the coastline is so indented everywhere is within a stone's throw of the sea. It seemed to be a local law that you can only drive on a Sunday if you have a pair of Kayaks strapped to your roof.
Stayed at Skeabost Country House ( pork and haggis sausages 'n' mash highly recommended!)
My bedroom opened out on to the Golf Course, but more interestingly just beyond is Loch Snizort.
Derek the resident Ghillie reckoned it needed the forecast rain to boost the river levels but the wind might not be ideal
The rain arrived but work came first.
This is "Busky" making himself at home in our office,
nobody owns Busky but he spends his days bartering "presents" for a fuss at half a dozen local businesses, cleverly his round includes the nearby vets for free check-ups, vaccinations and rolling over for a tummy rub from the veterinary nurses, then at 10pm he goes to the Co-op and cadges supper! ( I'm quite jealous! )
A drive by recce of Portree Harbour.
With a selection of travel rods in the car I was prepared for most possibilities, if only I could find the opportunity.
Waves of torrential rain had the Snizort filling and the lower streatch tumbling,
Meanwhile "Sally Traffic" kept reporting bridges closed to high sided vehicles
Thursday morning and the rain kept coming but the winds had eased, an eagle skimmed 20 feet above my car on the drive to the office and I thought how damn lucky I am to be working up here; Saturday still seemed a way off though -it was nearly a week since I last flexed my cast at the Pipes Pensarn and I was getting fidgety.
Thursday night was the "debs" ball, all night dancing to be followed by a sobering dawn plunge in the harbour, I ( and doubtless the RNLI) was on stand-by, but alas my invite must have been lost in the post, but after an unexpected introduction ( a big thank you Willie) I found myself treasuring something far better, a permit to fish the River Drynoch. The river was winning the fight against the tidal push from the loch when I was pointed in the right direction for my debut at this game, not really knowing what to do with my new toys I thrashed the water ( and a few thistles) with a random fly,
didn't catch but got one hell of a thrill as a silver-flanked trout jumped defiantly right in front of me. Called it a blank as the light went but that glimpse meant I was grinning anyway. If nothing else I learned that with these small hooks I might need to start taking my "reading glasses" fishing!
Friday Morning and Busky had caught; bringing a field mouse in payment for spending the day sheltering in the office on a rain sodden day.
Friday night's sleep was restless with excitement and uncertainty; I'd booked a much needed fly fishing lesson with local guide Garry Shaw aka "The Skye Fly Guy " and a permit for Beat 6 on the Snizort - the tail end of Hurricane Katia's 60mph gales were approaching, but I hoped to be tailing something far wilder.
Garry patiently explained the mysteries of casting a fly and after a bit of coaching in the field, casting without a 5oz lead suddenly became a whole lot more natural and we set about "beat 6".
Here and there parr pushed up the excitement by bluffing at my fly, a hen harrier wheeled across the hill, an occasional Sea Trout jumped teasingly and most thrilling of all, as I stood thigh deep in the river a good salmon showed itself by the opposite bank - who wants to swim with Dolphins when you can wade with Salmon!!
OK, so nothing was landed, but it didn't matter, thanks to Garry's friendly, easy coaching style that was money very well spent and one of the most enjoyable 4 hours I've ever spent fishing.
If you are up in these parts I can highly recommend contacting " The Skye Fly Guy"
Here's a link,