It is now twelve years since I uprooted my family from the East Riding of Yorkshire to the most beautiful county of Perthshire, and I would be an extremely rich man, if given a pound for every time I have endured the story of how they took a Scot and squeezed every last ounce of generosity out of him, to become a Yorkshireman!
One of my neighbours following the move was a doughty retired farmer from Shropshire by the name of Simon Furniss, who with business partner and master farrier Jim Ferrie now operate the trout and salmon fishing at Dunkeld House. What these two gentlemen do not know regarding salmon fishing, is not worth knowing!
The quaint pretty village of Dunkeld lies on the banks of the River Tay dominated by Thomas Telford’s bridge and the majestic Dunkeld Cathedral, part ruin, part parish church. Do not miss the brightly coloured little houses of Dunkeld which were built in the early 1700’s now restored to provide homes for local people, and now in the care of the National Trust for Scotland. Look out for the original “ell” measure, just over a metre in length, used for measuring cloth in days gone by.
The beat at Dunkeld House without doubt is one of the prettiest scenic, and productive beats situated in the Middle Tay, immediately above Dunkeld’s Old Tay Bridge, and boasts 14 named pools with fishing available on both banks.
Subject to water conditions, two boats and ghillies work the beat, offering fly, spinning and bait fishing. Tuition can be arranged for the novice and all equipment provided. The Hilton Dunkeld House Hotel is a short walk from the bothy. Eight anglers can be accommodated each day, with up to two rods in each boat.
And so to the fishing experience: Having received a call from Simon Furniss asking if I would like to accompany him the very next Saturday for a day’s fishing. Needless to say I did not have to give the matter a great deal of thought and met Simon at the bothy at 08.30 hours for coffee and pep talk including strategy for the day. Fishing begins at 09.00 hrs and off we went in one of the boats to the “Rock” pool to commence fishing. The weather was cool and overcast with water levels slowly falling but come lunch time nothing much was happening. Lunch was taken back at the bothy and it was great to enjoy a hot drink as it was becoming decidedly cooler. Back to the boat and we headed downstream to the “Cathedral” pool and the heavens opened. Yours truely was tucked up warm and snug and looking immaculate in his Hoggs tweeds complete with membrane to keep out the wet. Plenty of room and movement to enable me to cast without restriction to back, arms and shoulders – excellent quality tweeds at a bargain price! It was then as if someone had flicked a switch as the river came alive with salmon to be seen moving through the pool and “bang” the rod bent double and a 10lb cock fish w2as the result being returned to the water. Three more fish were caught that afternoon to complete a memorable day.
The fishing over, and a short stroll to the Hilton Dunkeld for refreshment and story telling of the day’s proceedings, sat in front of a roaring log fire which dried out my Hoggs of Fife tweeds in a matter of minutes! I only hope that it is not too long before I am able to repeat the day.