Sunday, 2 August 2015

Dundonnell Stravaig 2015

My annual wild fishing trip with my two friends this year took me to Wester Ross in the North West Highlands to Dundonnell. On the day we arrived we settled into our accommodation which was a caravan on the shores of Little Loch Broom near the hostel I stayed in whilst on a couple of previous trips to the area with the guys from the Wild Fishing Forum. The first lochs we ventured up to was the Peat Lochs up on the shoulder of the 2,516ft Corbett, Sail Mhor.. I had fished here before and was keen to take Tam and Scott up to these lochs which hold modest trout of about half a pound. The weather was fair as we set about pursing the trout. We weren't disappointed as we caught numerous brown trout. The largest being around the half pound mark. While Tam and Scott were happy to stick to the one big main loch I wandered around the hills to get some pics and also fished one or two of the other wee lochs nearby. We fished to around 6pm and made our way back down the hill to the car. However it was not without mishap as I stepped into a bog right up to my thighs. Thankfully I managed to get out without much trouble all be it rather wet. This made me very weary of where I placed my feet for the rest of the trip while tramping the hills and moors. Once back at the caravan we enjoyed a hearty meal prepared by Scott followed by a nice bottle of red wine for me, while the other two enjoyed some fruit cider. On Tuesday morning we awoke to torrential rain and low cloud and after checking the local weather forecast for the rest of the day, there was to be no let up in the wet weather. Therefore after breakfast we decided to fish a lochan which wouldn't take too much effort to get to in the adverse conditions. So we wrapped up in appropriate clothing and off we went to fish, like the weather the fishing was poor as only a few trout were caught at this damp and dreich hill loch. Our fishing was curtailed due to no let up in the weather so we decided to get back to the caravan get dried out , had dinner, had a few drinks whilst studying maps and made plans for the next day. Wednesday was a special day not least because it was my birthday but the fishing was the best of our whole trip too. To be fair I knew this loch had the potential to be the highlight of our trip as I had been to this loch before and knew a few others who had too. The Loch of the Clergy is a wonderful hill loch that holds a great head of superb fish. You will never need to take the Lords name in vane at this lochan as you will always be well rewarded if you are prepared to put the effort in to get up to this mountain lochan. On the way up we disturbed a few deer as they spotted us and made off up over the hill at a faster pace than we humans could only dream of. The three of us fished all around this lochan taking fish at most locations. The climb up takes a bit of effort especially in the rain and mist however on arrival the mist cleared and stayed clear for the rest of our time at the lochan. All our fish were taken on a variety of traditional wets such as soldier palmers, wet daddies, silver Invictas, claret bumbles, golden olive bumbles, Kate's and kee-Hee etc. I was hoping for a birthday drink at the local hotel , however by the time we made our decent, got back to the caravan , got showered and had dinner we were too tired and weary and instead had a few drinks in the caravan which was very satisfying indeed especially after such an enjoyable day of wild trout fishing surrounded by majestic scenery. Next morning after a hearty breakfast prepared by our nominated chef (Scott) we decided we would tackle the Heather Lochs. This was my first visit to this series of Lochans which sit high up on the hills. The views from the hills above these lochs was absolutely amazing especially the view of An Teallach which was glistening in the sunshine. Once again we disturbed a herd of deer as we made our way up the hills. The fishing was a bit difficult as it was bright for most of the day. I explored all around these lochs and fished a few of them. The trout from these lochs were on the lean side compared to the trout of the Loch of the Clergy. The scenery from the hills, around these loch was the best of our whole trip and at one point I made my way up to a rocky hill top and just sat drinking in the views and staring in awe at the magnificent and dramatic ridges and corries of An Teallach. I thought to myself who needs to fish when you can just sit here and be amazed by the impressive mountain scenery which surrounded me. The three of us once again caught numerous trout and once we had burnt ourselves out we headed back down the moors and hills back to the car then the caravan where we had a quick shower then off to the local hotel for a few pints while the evening dinner cooked away in the oven back at the caravan. All too soon Friday morning arrived, the day of our departure. As we journeyed back south to North Lanarkshire we collectively agreed that we would definitely be back here again sometime in the future. I was just happy that the fishing and scenery lived up to the expectations of Tam and Scott as I had been describing enthusiastically the fishing potential of this area to my two mates for the last couple of years.