26 November 2006

    Cancel the order for gills and webbed feet!  At long last its stopped raining.  I can't remember the last time it remained dry for 24 hours.  It seems like weeks since we had a really dry spell and the clay soil up here at Horton is absolutely sodden.  Mind you, that's probably nothing new as the word Horton means “mucky farm” in Angelo Saxon.  My runner ducks have been busy re-enacting the battle of the Somme and turning the bottom garden into a pretty good representation of a battlefield after sustained shell fire.

It's been a mixed week on the fishery.  I had a really productive chat on Tuesday with our local police Sargent about security for members fishing at Horton.  Sargent Thornthwaite seemed genuinely interested in my concerns about possible future threats to members from sabs and has gone away to talk to Neil Handy about drawing up a 10 point list of advice that can be sent to members.  He asked a lot of questions about the history of the club  and I think that we can expect a much more proactive police presence at Horton in future.  This is being driven by his new Inspector who regards effective policing as being about feet on the ground not bums on car seats.

Thursday brought an email that left me wondering if teachers inhabit the same planet as the rest of us mere mortals.  As you will recall we have spent the best part of 12 months pulling together a habitat improvement project for Cam Beck which depended on Craven College students doing the work as part of their land management course.  This project was due to start on 8 November but, despite promises and commitments, It's proved less than easy to pin Craven College to a firm start date.  Back in late October the College informed me that they were having difficulties finding a tutor and might not be able to do the work until March.  My response was curt as such delay would lose the grant funding we have received to cover the cost of materials.  All seemed back on course with the involvement of two tutors with fencing experience, but Thursday's email informed me that the College were now pleased to tell me that they could start work on 21 February.  Ye God's!  Still it's slightly better than March and at least gives me some time to get the trees in before the end of March.  A quick email to the Millennium Trust to check whether they will hold open the grant until then and we are back in business.  What really annoys me is the fact that people who are supposed to be guiding these young people towards a self reliant and responsible future life seem to be quite happy to treat commitments as infinitely flexible.  No wonder we are producing a generation of youngsters who regard their own self interest as paramount.  Or am I becoming a grumpy old man?

Friday brought the Craven Herald which contains a notice issued by the Environment Agency that will be of interest to all who fish the Ribble.  The EA have made an order under the Salmon and Freshwater Fisheries Act 1975 that will:
    provide that the number of licenses to be allocated in any one year for fishing for salmon  and migratory trout with nets in the Ribble Estuary shall be limited to two;

    provide for the issue of additional licenses if this number is insufficient to satisfy the applications of all those who held such a license in the preceding year;

    provide that not more than one license shall be issued to each person in respect of the area described as the Ribble estuary;

In addition the Agency have made a new by-law that will:
    restrict the number of salmon that may be caught and killed when fishing with rod and line on the river Ribble to two per season.

The EA are now inviting objections to the order to be sent to DEFRA prior to the Secretary of State confirming both the order and by-law.

I make no comment, but would be interested in members' observations on the new by-law.

More next week

Ian

21 November 2007

    In my experience it's rare that things keenly anticipated always live up to expectations, but this past weekend has confounded that experience.  As I said last week, I was down at Sparsholt College in Hampshire over the weekend on a fishery management course and have returned abuzz with ideas and enthusiasm.  Oh dear!  Sparsholt is a massive agricultural college with an internationally renowned aquaculture faculty that works in partnership with all the leading bodies in the UK involved with fish and fishing.

I'll give you just a taster of what we did over the two days but I would encourage anyone who is serious about their fishing be it game or course angling to go on this course as the benefits far outweigh the very reasonable cost of

21 November 2007

    In my experience it's rare that things keenly anticipated always live up to expectations, but this past weekend has confounded that experience.  As I said last week, I was down at Sparsholt College in Hampshire over the weekend on a fishery management course and have returned abuzz with ideas and enthusiasm.  Oh dear!  Sparsholt is a massive agricultural college with an internationally renowned aquaculture faculty that works in partnership with all the leading bodies in the UK involved with fish and fishing.

I'll give you just a taster of what we did over the two days but I would encourage anyone who is serious about their fishing be it game or course angling to go on this course as the benefits far outweigh the very reasonable cost of

21 November 2007

    In my experience it's rare that things keenly anticipated always live up to expectations, but this past weekend has confounded that experience.  As I said last week, I was down at Sparsholt College in Hampshire over the weekend on a fishery management course and have returned abuzz with ideas and enthusiasm.  Oh dear!  Sparsholt is a massive agricultural college with an internationally renowned aquaculture faculty that works in partnership with all the leading bodies in the UK involved with fish and fishing.

I'll give you just a taster of what we did over the two days but I would encourage anyone who is serious about their fishing be it game or course angling to go on this course as the benefits far outweigh the very reasonable cost of

15 November 2006

    I'm sorry for the protracted silence from Horton, but the gremlins have been busy again.  As regular readers of this column will know we have a fairly unusual broadband Internet service up here.  Due to the rather cruel and interesting geography of upper Ribblesdale the 70 or so households in the valley which enjoy the benefits of fast Internet access get it via a wireless network.  This necessitates having a small stick aerial on the roof and on Thursday of last week the engineers called to upgrade the equipment installed at my house.  I am now the proud possessor of a small grey box mounted on a pole attached to my chimney which beams a signal received from the station to the rest of Newhouses.  This worked wonderfully on Friday, but by Saturday morning it was dead.  we had some dreadful weather on Friday night and when the engineers came back to find the fault on Tuesday they discovered that a supposedly weathertight box was full of water.  I now have a new one which I'm assured is Horton proof.  We will see.

Sticking with more personal stuff for the moment, I am also the proud possessor of a new right eye.  Not the whole eye but the lens.   Last Monday I had the cataract removed and the difference is staggering.  I had no idea just how bright and vibrant colours are and can see better than I have done for the past 50 years.  The left eye will be done just after Christmas so I should be able to see a floating fly next season.

Did anyone see that fascinating TV programme 'The Accidental Angler' fronted by Charles Rangeley Wilson that went out over the weekend?  Charles is one of the founders of the Wild Trout Trust and writes extensively about game fishing all over the world.  This episode in his new series was about his pursuit of the legendary mahseer, the strongest fresh water fish in the world which can grow up to 120 lb.   Next Sunday he's after brown trout in Bhutan so it will be interesting to contrast this with their cousins in the Ribble.

I was at Grassington last Wednesday to attend a meeting called by the Environment Agency to discuss the problem of American red signal crayfish in Long Preston beck.  This is the only population of these alien crayfish in the Ribble catchment and their presence threatens not only our native crayfish but the future of all fish stocks in the river.  We went through all the options to decide what should be done about this threat and reached a unanimous conclusion that the signals must be removed.  This will not be easy but has to be addressed if we are to protect the Ribble ecosystem.  More on this in due course.

I'm off to Winchester on Friday to attend a fisheries management course at Sparsholt College over the weekend.  This will be a great chance to learn more about the practise and skills of river keeping and exchange ideas with fisheries managers from other waters.  So expect a round up when I get back and no blog this coming Sunday.

Finally a word of warning on rod licenses.  There have been a couple of letters in the Telegraph recently about the difficulty of obtaining rod licenses via the EA website.  One correspondent who bought his license on-line back in March is still waiting to receive it despite the season now having closed.  The EA's excuse?  They were inundated with requests at the start of the season.  Something that one might think that they could have predicted.  The moral is buy your license from your friendly local Post Office or better still use the one at Horton and help keep this vital village institution going.

Next update will be posted next Tuesday on my return from Sparsholt.

Ian

5 November 2006

    When the English scientist Tim Berners-Lee invented the World Wide Web back at the end of the last century as a means of enabling universities to share data he can scarcely have imagined how far his idea would develop.  Access to the web is now probably the single most important force driving sales of home computers.  We can communicate to an audience almost instantly and far beyond the scope of the phone.  This blog is an example.  We can access information in such volume and detail that it would take several lifetimes to read and absorb it all.  Just try typing “brown trout” into a search engine and see what you get!  And it enables us to buy (and sell) stuff without the hassle of traipsing round the shops.

The last benefit has been uppermost in my mind this week for two reasons and connects this geeky stuff to life on the fishery.  Firstly I have been able to source all the materials, tools and equipment we need for our fencing project from a firm in Burnley found as a result of an Internet search.  OK, I could have done this using yellow pages if I had the edition that covers the whole of the north of England but the advantage of the web is that I can view this firms product list, select the items I want, see pictures of what it looks like and compare prices with other companies.  All in the space of a few minutes.  A simple email, phone call or fax and the job is done.

Secondly,  What about eBay?  for those of you who haven't yet ventured into this electronic auction house I would encourage you to do so.  I was sceptical until I bought my first items back in May.  It's simple to use, pretty safe and you can get a bargain.  Just right for that vital bit of kit you can't do without next season.  This week I had two successes.  Two books that will provide many hours of absorbing reading when the weather turns nasty.  The first cost me just

5 November 2006

    When the English scientist Tim Berners-Lee invented the World Wide Web back at the end of the last century as a means of enabling universities to share data he can scarcely have imagined how far his idea would develop.  Access to the web is now probably the single most important force driving sales of home computers.  We can communicate to an audience almost instantly and far beyond the scope of the phone.  This blog is an example.  We can access information in such volume and detail that it would take several lifetimes to read and absorb it all.  Just try typing “brown trout” into a search engine and see what you get!  And it enables us to buy (and sell) stuff without the hassle of traipsing round the shops.

The last benefit has been uppermost in my mind this week for two reasons and connects this geeky stuff to life on the fishery.  Firstly I have been able to source all the materials, tools and equipment we need for our fencing project from a firm in Burnley found as a result of an Internet search.  OK, I could have done this using yellow pages if I had the edition that covers the whole of the north of England but the advantage of the web is that I can view this firms product list, select the items I want, see pictures of what it looks like and compare prices with other companies.  All in the space of a few minutes.  A simple email, phone call or fax and the job is done.

Secondly,  What about eBay?  for those of you who haven't yet ventured into this electronic auction house I would encourage you to do so.  I was sceptical until I bought my first items back in May.  It's simple to use, pretty safe and you can get a bargain.  Just right for that vital bit of kit you can't do without next season.  This week I had two successes.  Two books that will provide many hours of absorbing reading when the weather turns nasty.  The first cost me just

5 November 2006

    When the English scientist Tim Berners-Lee invented the World Wide Web back at the end of the last century as a means of enabling universities to share data he can scarcely have imagined how far his idea would develop.  Access to the web is now probably the single most important force driving sales of home computers.  We can communicate to an audience almost instantly and far beyond the scope of the phone.  This blog is an example.  We can access information in such volume and detail that it would take several lifetimes to read and absorb it all.  Just try typing “brown trout” into a search engine and see what you get!  And it enables us to buy (and sell) stuff without the hassle of traipsing round the shops.

The last benefit has been uppermost in my mind this week for two reasons and connects this geeky stuff to life on the fishery.  Firstly I have been able to source all the materials, tools and equipment we need for our fencing project from a firm in Burnley found as a result of an Internet search.  OK, I could have done this using yellow pages if I had the edition that covers the whole of the north of England but the advantage of the web is that I can view this firms product list, select the items I want, see pictures of what it looks like and compare prices with other companies.  All in the space of a few minutes.  A simple email, phone call or fax and the job is done.

Secondly,  What about eBay?  for those of you who haven't yet ventured into this electronic auction house I would encourage you to do so.  I was sceptical until I bought my first items back in May.  It's simple to use, pretty safe and you can get a bargain.  Just right for that vital bit of kit you can't do without next season.  This week I had two successes.  Two books that will provide many hours of absorbing reading when the weather turns nasty.  The first cost me just