I suppose that the main topic this week is the weather. It strikes me as ironic that we should have the most snow I have seen here in the Dales in the past 10 years during the week in which our leaders failed to reach a consensus on tackling climate change. Mind you, as a climate change sceptic I'm not much exercised by the posturing at Copenhagen. I accept that I'm classed with flat earthers and other weirdos, but I remain deeply suspicious of scientific research that chases the easy money and scientists who regard challenge to their work as hysteria.
Be that as it may we have some truly spectacular scenery here this morning with the valley blanketed in over a foot of snow and more falling. The river is a black ribbon winding through a white wilderness. A robin is sitting on the bird table feasting on the seed I put out a while ago and the cat is playing silly buggers diving into snow drifts and sending the powder snow flying. It's just come sledging down to the kitchen window and brought a fair sized snow drift into the house.
Coming back from Halifax on Thursday afternoon all was well until we hit Helifield on the A65 then it took a further five hours to get up to Horton. Since no gritting had been done prior to a snow flurry just as it got dark the road was like the Cresta run with 45 ton lorries replacing toboggans. Thankfully we had a flask of coffee with us so life was not unpleasant.
I have not been up to the Tarn this weekend, but may take a wander up there this morning to see how the swans are faring in this wild weather. Water fowl do seem quite impervious to the cold. My ducks much prefer to stomp about in a blizzard rather than shelter in the warmth of the duck house. And no, I didn't claim for that on expenses.
A merry Christmas to you all.
It was good to see most of Council up at Horton on Saturday for what proved to be a highly constructive and productive meeting. The Crown Inn was warm, welcoming and very comfortable reflecting all the hard work that Thomas has done recently to refurbish the lounge.
Stocking for the coming season will be similar to this year with 600 rainbows put in over the course of the season. It was agreed that I should try to get some brown trout to go in at the pre season stocking just to add a bit of variety to the fishing. The plan will be to treat these browns as catch and release fish so as to give them a chance to grow on over the next few years. It's evident that Tarn brownies do over winter and can grow to quite respectable size and these big fish do provide a bit of a challenge when they mistake a bit of fur and feather for a Tarn sedge.
The wildlife area will be fenced before the start of the new season and the stiles over the cross walls will be replaced. We already have a commitment from the Woodland trust to plant a thousand trees between Turn Dub and the Bridleway crossing and a planting plan has now been prepared and agreed that should provide for much improved habitat along this beat without compromising access to fishing.
Some while ago I mentioned Mike Harding's new book on North Country Spider patterns and a couple of copies of this book turned up on Saturday. One is destined for the club library, but you really should invest in this guide if you are serious about fishing the upper Ribble. It's a beautifully presented ring bound book with a potted history of North Country Spider patterns and those who popularised this style of fishing fast rain fed high gradient rivers. The photos of each fly are stunning with enough definition to enable even a cack handed dresser like me to have a serious stab at an imitation. a very great deal of thought has gone into the planning, writing and presentation and it deserves to become a classic. It's not too late to get this into your Christmas stocking so do yourself a favour and get it ordered.
The 2010 Hot Pot Supper has been booked already. So put the date of 1 October in your diaries now and get booked into the Crown whist rooms remain available.
I had planned to get out and do the invertebrate check this morning, but the weather Gods have put the kibosh on that by providing a morning of quite heavy and very cold rain.
Apart from the relentless rain it's been a quiet week with very little to report. An email at the end of last week suggests that our conservation work at Nanny Carr which we carried out in 2007 may feature in a new northern rivers conservation guide. I have emailed a few photos of the site before work began and the results of all our efforts so we shall see what comes to pass.
For the first time in what seems like weeks it's turned sunny this morning with almost no breeze and the forecast is for a spell of more settled weather over the next few days. If that comes to pass then I think that I will do an early invertebrate check to make up for the check that was missed in November due to prolonged high water.
As we have a club Council meeting coming up I pulled together all the stats from the Tarn fishing season just gone. These show that 2009 was a pretty good year with a total of 290 visits by members and guests, 787 fish caught and 377 returned out of a stocking of 605. This gives a ratio of catch to visit of 2.70 which is the second highest in the past 5 years.
The quality of fish this year has been exceptional. I saw every fish that went in and all were in prime condition with full tails and fins, firm bodied and fighting fit. All credit to Dunsop Bridge. For the first time ever there was a comment in the Tarn register thanking Council for providing such high quality fishing. I am happy.