25 February 2007

Hi all

After a rather damp week that saw a fair bit of water in the river it cleared up yesterday and has dawned bright and sunny this morning.  The forecast is fairly promising for the first part of the week so we should get a bit more done outdoors.

Alan M and I did a lot of pruning of the willow that's encroaching on the river at Selside.  We started at the footbridge by Coppy Gill and worked upstream to the stepping stones above Cam Beck.  This should make a great deal of difference not only to the quality of fishing along this beat but also to the water flow at the river margins as much of the accumulated debris has been swept away now that the willow is out of the water.  A good hour and a half's work with plenty of result to show at the end.

We also had a great day on Wednesday when the students got in the entire fence from the header wall 150 yards upstream to the bank of Cam Beck.  This really looks good with a nice straight fence line, well placed posts and really tight wire.  The header wall end has been closed off with a post and rail infill including a stile for easy access to what will be a small woodland once we get the trees in.

This week we plan to concentrate on the far bank of Cam Beck and get in the strainer posts for the post and rail fence that will close off this flood prone flat area.  Things really are moving faster than I anticipated and It's all credit to the students and their tutors.  I will post up another couple of pictures later today to show just what has been achieved.

Rumour has it that the trout eggs in Horton school have all hatched and the alevins are now hiding away in the gravel prior to swim up stage so things here should shortly get much more exiting for the children.  I will pop in to the school and take a look so more on this next week.

Don't forget the AGM on Friday.  It would be really good to see a large turn out for this as we are promised a not to be missed presentation on trout fishing in Scotland as well as the usual blow out buffet.  Then there is a working party scheduled for the Tarn on Sunday 4 March when the plan is to get the hut in good order for the start of the new season.

See you on Friday.

Ian

19 February 2007

I've just sat down this morning to check emails and picked up one from a member of the MAA Council who attends the local NAFC meetings on the club's behalf.  On 19 April the Hodder consultative are holding a “Falkus evening” to raise funds to enable them to carry on their conservation and stocking work.  This looks to be a highly enjoyable evening with a range of presentations and activities.  Details are down-loadable form the attachment below and if any member wants an application form to attend the evening then just email me and I shall send one.

Off this morning to do some pruning work along the banks at Selside with AM so see you next Sunday.

Ian

18 February 2007

Welcome to yet another wonderful sunny day here in the valley.  Despite the welcome dry spell of the past week the river is still running well with good water all down the fishery.  It's cold this morning but surprisingly warm in the sun and I think a good walk is called for later.  I plan to go up to Cam Beck and get some decent pictures of the work we did on Wednesday.  I'm feeling particularly chipper about the project since we made a very good start last week and got in all the straining posts from the header wall 150 yards upstream to Cam Beck itself.  This was remarkably easy with just 4 of us working in two teams and we have set things up well for the students when they come up to put in the intermediate posts and netting on Wednesday.

We had a real bonus when Marma and Dave White who own the land agreed to a revised fence line along the top of the almost vertical bank at this southern end of the site.  The revision now gives us nearly 20 yards of buffer zone between the fence and the river and offers a wonderful opportunity to do some creative habitat work using the trees we have ordered.  We also no longer need to worry about flood damage to the fence since any flood that rises to the new fence line will cover most of northern England and the fence will be the least of our worries.

The state of the banking at Cam Beck last week really shows how vital this work is.  At least another 3 feet of the bluff overlooking the confluence of the beck and the river has been swept away in the past month and a real priority here once we get the livestock excluded is to stabilise the bank and get some protection in place.

The pictures I took to record the first hole being dug are pretty grotty since I forgot my camera and had to rely on my phone but they do serve to show just what a thoroughly pleasant day it was and that this long planned project is now truly under way.  Find them in the “Conservation” folder.

If I do manage to get up to the site today I will try to post up some better pictures later on and do an update to the MAA website.

It's been half term at the school this week so no news yet about the trout eggs.  I will pop in during the week to check on progress and report back next week.

See you next Sunday.

Ian

11 February 2007

Not much to report this week.  Its been a really pleasant change to get some real winter weather at long last.  Most of the week has been bright and sunny with a heavy frost and little or no wind.  The river by Thursday was lower than it's been all winter.  Friday saw the arrival of easterly gales and some sleet, really miserable weather that kept most folk tucked up round their fires. It's remained damp but the wind has dropped this morning to give us a heavy mist on the hills and a soaking mizzle that gets you wet through without really trying.

The forecast is fairly good for the start of the new week which is welcome as all the material and equipment for the Cam Beck fence will arrive on Tuesday.  Despite it being half term the College are bringing some students up on Wednesday to put in a few straining posts to set out the fence line.  Then next week it's all systems go and we begin work in earnest.  I will post up a few pictures, but sadly, for child protection, reasons we can't include shots of the students working.

I went down to the school on Thursday to take another look at the trout incubator box.  The eggs are really doing well and have noticeably swelled since my last visit.  The eyes are now very well developed and seem to follow you round the room.  Some eggs are on the verge of hatching with signs of the alevins emerging so by the time the children get back to school after half term they should have a tank of alevins rather than little pink eggs.  All very exiting.

I know it's a way off yet, but the Friends of Horton School are planning to organise a duck race on Gala day, 2 June.  Any member who can is invited to come up to Horton and help fish hundreds of plastic ducks out of the river at the end of the race.  You never know, if you visit the club stand at the show you may well win a pretty hefty rainbow trout by guessing its weight.

See you next week.

Ian

4 February 2007

Welcome to a glorious day here in the valley.  It started cold and frosty but has developed into a sunny and fairly warm afternoon.  Up at the Tarn a short while ago I saw plenty of rises to hatching fly.  Quite a sight this early in the year.  The river is now pretty low after a week of virtually no rain, but it's running clear and looks in great shape.

We had a very good Council meeting this morning with lots discussed and agreed and I think that the club can look forward to a very active and positive season with plenty to occupy us in developing the fishery.  The AGM on 2 March is the next big event and Alan M. has agreed to give an illustrated talk on fishing on Lewis.

After the meeting the Hon Sec and I took a prospective member on a brief tour of the fishery.  He seemed happy with what he saw and has asked to be admitted to the club.

I am cautiously optimistic that work will at last begin on the project at Cam Beck.  An email received from Craven College in the week confirms that they will start on site on 21 February.  So, weather permitting, it looks like all systems go.  I now need to work quickly to get all materials and the tree slips ordered and delivered to site.

It's just as well as this project is beginning to attract a bit of wider publicity.  The latest WTT Newsletter landed on my doormat yesterday and I see that it includes a short item describing the work we plan to do.  It would be nice to get the WTT over to Horton to see the fruits of their support when their open day is run at Bolton Abbey on 24 May.  Keeping with the WTT please do take time to look at their web site which gives details of their up coming on line auction you can find them at www.wildtrout.org
(just click on the link).

On a personal note the eye op went well on Thursday and I can now see pretty well already.  Hopefully focus will continue to improve and I will be able to see a floating fly this summer.

Members will find more info about the Council meeting in the secure area so if you can't access this do email me and I will try to set up the link.

See you next week

Ian