Club lends a hand with duck race

STONEHAVEN’s angling association owns or tenants various local river and stillwater fishings including the Cowie, Carron, Upper Bervie, Crossley Quarry and Allochie Lochan for the benefit of resident anglers in the district and their bona fide guests, and in a slightly restricted context for holidaying fishers too.

Additionally but less importantly for the long term future of the club, it has also negotiated discount permits on stretches of the North Esk near Edzell, the Feugh near Strachan and the Dee near Drum Castle. These various fisheries may be fairly far apart, but they do have one thing in common – they all lie within the ancient County of Kincardine, a geographically and historically distinct parcel of coastal Scotland which had its seat at Kincardine Castle near Fettercairn in the Middle Ages until it moved to Stonehaven with its own tolbooth, sheriff court, harbour etc.

The County still retains its own Lieutenancy, but during local government reform in 1975, was absorbed as “Kincardine and Deeside” into a political entity known as Grampian Region. In 1996, when the Region was split into unitarian council areas, it became Kincardine and the Mearns.

Later still – much to the chagrin of many locals and adopted inabootcomers including this writer – it became known (purely for local governance purposes), as Aberdeenshire South, and since that time the significance of its long history has been gradually and subtly eroded away. Even tourism has now got into the act, joining various governmental departments in describing the entire north-east corner as being “Aberdeen – City and (sic) Shire”. Very quirky I am sure, but incorrect all the same.

The late and much missed community activist and local historian Helen Rzechorzek must be turning in her grave. Viva Kincardineshire.

Away back ‘when I were a loon’, I would often fish the River Lossie around Elgin in the company of a doyen angler called Jimmy Douglas, who taught me many of the tricks of the trade (some legal and some not quite so) when it came to catching salmon. One of his gems which has stuck in the memory for the past 50 years, was his insistence that whenever the wild Dog Rose came into bloom, the grilse (smaller one-sea-winter salmon) would be in the river, irrespective of weather or water level. This is an observation which has stood me in good stead throughout that half century – and I can see that those delicate white/pink flowers are in profusion in the countryside right now!

Time to get out on the grass at night with a red-filtered torch and silently and quietly gather in a puckle o’ wurms to fish those deep lower River Cowie pools.

Last Saturday saw the second of two spring casting clinics at Allochie Lochan for the SDAA’s vital junior members. Teaching youngsters the special (but by no means too difficult) art of tempting a trout with an artificial fly, is very important to the future of the club as these kids are its future. Family business kept me away, but I hope to report next week on what happened there.

Tomorrow (Saturday) there is something rather different on the fishing calendar as angling club members assemble before 4pm at the Royal Engineer’s Footbridge on the Cowie in Mineralwell Park to assist Portlethen Rotary Club with their annual charity Duck Race. Fun for all, particularly if the fleetest of the yellow ducklings “escape” into the broader spaces of the Estuary Pool!

SDAA and other volunteers will be made welcome,