Well, first day of our first summer holiday in two years and, its raining. This is not necessarily a bad thing as it will hopefully bring the salmon up river to the loch. We are at the very top of Scotland, whilst down at home in Yorkshire, our friend Smiley is house, dog, hen, goose , duck and bee sitting for us.

The first thing we had to do on arriving at the bothy by the loch, was empty the boat of water. Sat deep in the loch bay, the boat resembled a floating swimming pool . We soon put a couple of saucepans to use, but decided to delay a row round the loch and fish from the shore line, as our feet would be drier there than in the boat.

It is wonderful to be back again on a loch we have been visiting and fishing for nearly thirty years. There have been changes of ownership. Definitely changes in the pattern of usage and management too. This is causing a degree of concern at the impact on jobs, land usage and for sporting opportunities such as driven grouse, deer stalking and fishing. Whereas as on one estate no deer at all are being culled at all, on others, deer are culled in large numbers to protect woodlands and “rewild” forestry. These changes we are told by friends who are game keepers, are especially detrimental to their future.

In previous years on ‘our’ estate, there was always a ghillie to advise on the best places to cast, which fly would work best, row the boat on the loch and generally dispense fishing lore and wisdom. Very necessary for me. This year no ghillie. Several have been interviewed. None took the job as there is no housing in the area for them if they were successful. The upsurge in people buying property for holiday usage has deprived many local and especially young people of accommodation.

Meanwhile the local chat is about an approach to another estate for permission to film there for a TV show. Apparently all was going well until the gamekeeper heard that one of the main presenters was to be an anti shooting and pro rewilding personality. Permission immediately withdrawn. The other gossip was of two gamekeepers who were sent to a health and safety course on ladder safety. One of them, after gaining his cherished certificate, then went back to work , propped a set of steps against the wall, climbed up to clear a gutter. Then promptly fell off.