Thursday, 24 December 2020

Another Year Slips By.

 Well what can I say that hasn't already been said, what a year for all certainly one I wont forget in a hurry. 

The fishing scene for me has been almost extinct with only an outing way back at the start of the year in January & nothing since. Im hoping this will be rectified in 2021 but with a bit of foresight I dont think its going to happen anytime soon with mutation strains now appearing & threats of tier 4 looming not too far in the distance.

So far both Karen & Myself have kept clear of the virus but throughout the year we have lost immediate family & some very good friends to Covid, so know first hand what it does, may they Rest in Peace.

Its not all been doom & gloom, this year has rekindled a passion I had in my younger years of  wild camping & combined with my photography Ive been to places I would never even thought of going so Im very thankful for that as I have had some great nights out away on the hills with nobody for miles.

miles from anywhere & wouldnt even known about if I had not rekindled the passion of wild camping.

Even when the weather turned to snow.

A good book, peace & quiet certainly recharged the batteries.

As the year draws to an end Im planning one last trip out with the tent before the New Year, I personally think its the wives way of getting me out the house for some peace & quiet for her, but that said may I say whatever you get up to over the festive period, I hope your stay safe & well and look forward to maybe seeing you on the river in 2021.


Friday, 27 November 2020

Still Here

 For those die hard followers who are still looking in from time to time, Im still here. With the Lock down  absolutely nothing has been happening although seems lots of people have been bucking the trend and doing what they want which they can go right ahead but after loosing a family member & several friends to Covid I will stick to my way of doing things which is staying out of everyone's way.

Still haven't been fishing this year & the couple of times ive been out with the tent Ive stayed well clear of all civilisation & recharged the batteries.


The lights were on but nobody had been at home for over 40 years.

All photographs taken pre lockdown.

Saturday, 3 October 2020

Got there in the end.

 A couple of weeks out with the knee, quite a few strips of Ibuprofen swallowed & a few hours on the tens machine  made it possible to get the rucksack strapped back on & get back out on the hills & complete the walk I started before I popped my knee.

On top of Great Whernside after summiting Little Whernside an hour or so before.

The views from the summit across the Dales to the west

I cant tell you how great it was to get back out away from all the madness of the media and everyday life which is getting to everyone nowadays. For the next 24 hours I simply forgot it all & saw nobody which made things even better.

With  30 mph winds I decided to drop back off the summit & traverse the ridge back towards Little Whernside & find a spot for the night away from the winds.

The sunset just as I started to pitch the tent.

The only light for miles around came from my tent as I went out to try & photograph the night sky  but with low clouds  it made it impossible to get any decent photographs, so grabbed my gear headed back to the tent & chilled out, & with a few swigs from the hip flask I fell fast asleep. 

The view down Coverdale the following morning made all the effort worth while.

I wasnt the only Scottish breed roaming the Dales that morning, with a herd of these boys watching my every move as I descended back down to the car, which took me back to my childhood where we used to buy highland toffee's two for a penny.

Back at the car the view up the dale wasnt too shabby & this was rush hour, Long may it last as these special & remote places are precious.

Wednesday, 16 September 2020

Down but not Out.

Hi all again hope everyone is behaving during these torrid times and keeping themselves safe. As part of my Covid plan as many know I am staying well away from all the regular well populated areas in the Dales & trying to find other routes well away from the maddening crowds. 

Last week I did exactly that again but this time came a cropper to the terrain which resulted in me popping my knee, an old injury Ive had for years and had been under control but with 50lbs of gear on my back & atrocious walking conditions it reared its ugly little head again and came back and bit me on the ass. 

My aim was to climb 3 different peaks in the Dales and wild camp on the final one before heading home the next day via a different route, well that was the plan!

The day started OK and I made the summit of the first hill I wanted to do within a couple of hours, to be honest I was a bit disappointed in the summit, nothing to write home about so never hung around, a quick compass bearing to the next & off I went.

The route took me across open moorland without any tracks and it was very boggy in places, the going was slow but energy sapping on my legs, I was well over 3/4 of the way across when I put my foot down into a boggy hole and over I went popping my knee in the process.

The 2nd summit was within sight & after 20 minutes of sitting on wet moorland licking my wounds there was no way I could continue so opted for the safest thing to do & cut my loss & take a slow limp to the nearest dry land which was aptly named as Dead Man's Hill at an elevation of 546m. 

I decided to set up the tent and spend the night hopefully my knee would ease some allowing me to walk back off the Dale and get back to the car 8 miles away.

Tent set up behind a Dry Stone wall 

The next morning my leg had eased some & I took a gamble to walk out, I wasnt going to get to my destination so a couple of photographs of where I should have been.

Little Whernside & Great Whernside off in distance to the left in the cloud.

Looking down on the reservoir far below.

So with sticks in hand to ease me I started hobbling back the 8 miles to the car, it was hard & very painful going with loads of stops to ease my knee, the views were absolutely stunning and I was gutted at what had happened .

It took me nearly most of the day to walk the distance back to the car and a waterfall on route was a nice resting place before the final push back to the car.

Knee is now on the mend again but it will be a few weeks yet before I can get back out with the sort of weight I normally carry for an overnight stop out. Be safe everyone.

Saturday, 29 August 2020

Catch Up

A couple of weeks since my last update and Ive had a couple of overnight trips out into the Dales with the camera & even a flying visit back to Scotland to see the folks, all good at the moment & really enjoying the walking & getting away from all the day to day hustle & bustle of work & everyday life.

This trip I unexpectedly got caught up in a white out with fog on the tops but now & again it opened up for some marvellous views.

On the way up the low clouds rushing over hangingstone scar.

Whats not to like with views like this whilst sitting next to the summit cairn on High Seat & the only folk I saw the full day were 2 elderly walkers right at the base of the hill.

The view from my overnight stop looking across to Wild Boar fell.

Back down to ground level & a tip off about a photo opportunity that wasnt in France as some might expect but slap back in the centre of the Yorkshire Dales.

and couldn't go back to Scotland without at least getting one waterfall shot in with all the rain we have had recently.

One of my old fishing haunts and although I never had the rod with me it was still nice to sit & watch the occasional small trout rise to the insects being blown onto the water.

Sunday, 9 August 2020

Back on the trail, just not the fishing trail

Ive sat for many an hour over the last few months contemplating my love for fishing & it runs deep within me, from my early days of grayling fishing on the Clyde with the guys I went to school with over 45 years ago, to my days in Germany spent on the fly lakes then onto the years of the match fishing circuit, to barbel bashing back in England & finally full circle to back to my love of grayling fishing.

I came to the conclusion that my love for fishing will never leave me but with the turmoil we have in the world at the moment the chasing of brown trout which has always come 2nd to my passion for grayling still doesn't interest me right at this moment but I am already thinking ahead to the crisp fresh morning's which I love so much about grayling fishing.

The 29th January was the last time I touched a fishing rod & since then they have sat propped in the rod rack I have in my tying room looking rather lost with all the amount of camera gear that has now hidden them, & more so now with the amount of camping gear that has accumulated in front of them also.

I was asked in another post if I would contemplate another blog for my photography adventures whilst absent from the flee & float and at first it sounded like a good idea but honestly I dont think I could start afresh blog for photography so after a few weeks of thinking about things have decided that the flee & float will spread its wings a little bit further & incorporate my photography as well.

Im not by any means a professional photographer, and dont claim to come anywhere close to that but I have always have had a love for photography from the fishing side of things & as I get older the hiking I do mainly to keep my fitness at a relative good state since leaving the forces back in 2007.

With the hiking my love of water isn't far from my plans & I scour over maps both in paper & electronic format to find waterfalls that are marked on the map but are well off the beaten track & once on scene looking at there beauty my eyes are always on the look out for the movement of fish in the pool below them, so the fisherman in me may lie dormant right now but it never leaves me.

Anyway my recent trek was a circular trek around parts of swaledale starting & finishing in Keld with a 17 mile hike & an overnight wild camp thrown in for good measure but with views like these, you can see why I love walking in magnificent countryside most days not seeing a single soul.

Crackpot Hall looking down Swaledale

The entry into Swinner Gill

Looking down Swinner Gill

A couple of the waterfalls not many ever get to see & I feel privileged to be one who does.

Some small trout in a couple of the pools which bodes well.

Sunday, 28 June 2020

Houston we have a problem!

The 29th January was the last time I picked up a rod & went to the river, thats almost 5 months tomorrow since I was last on the river & I can honestly say at the moment I have no inclinations of fishing! 

WHAT's all that about? 

Ive fished since I was 8 years old, mad keen to get out onto the river every moment I can but currently I have no desire to get out onto the river, I honestly can say the closest Ive come to touching my fishing gear is when I lifted my wading jacket off the hook to put into my camera bag in case it started to rain.

This doesn't mean that Ive been dwindling my time away as I haven't, Im still working 5 days a week as I have done all the way through the pandemic but Ive been taking myself away to secluded parts of the Yorkshire Dales and walking alone with the camera.

From exploring waterfalls which arent marked on the OS map.

to climbing crags at 0330hrs for early morning sunrise views.

I still have to renew my rod licence as yet as I cant see the point in paying out if Im not going to use it, I was hoping that when the Grayling came back into season on the 16th June my mood would change but nope still not interested at this time.

Im at a total loss to this as this is the first time in my angling career that Ive felt this way, Speaking to friends they think Im going mad, all work & no play but I dont feel that way as Im away walking in lieu of fishing and still getting out & about, but just have no desires to go fishing.

The rivers are in almost perfect conditions currently with Grayling sipping down Dry flies, my favourite way of catching them.

For the guys & girls who follow the blog for my fishing exploits Im sorry to say but as yet I have none to report.

Normal service will resume, I just dont know when.

Be safe everyone.

Tuesday, 12 May 2020

Not Just Yet

Its been a while since my last post and after the announcement from the Government about fishing being allowed to take place again as of tomorrow, I thought an update appropriate. 

I've not stopped working throughout this pandemic as a key worker and there is nothing more I would love to do than have a few hours on the bank again but I personally feel that for the next few weeks its going to be like the wild wild west and that I can do without so if your looking at a fishing report coming from me then Im afraid it will be a while longer.

If your intend on going fishing then I wish you luck, be safe and use some common sense when out there.

As for me I will continue to monitor the situation but in the meantime my other past time will keep me occupied after a stressful day at work.

Saturday, 28 March 2020

A Bit Different

Well what can I say apart from stay safe & stay at home, this is a totally different world we live in & this wasnt what all the Brown Trout anglers were expecting a day or so into the new season....

I like many other anglers who hadn't been out for a while due to the weather conditions in Yorkshire I was looking forward to a new season as the Grayling season this year was an almost total washout, but I like many others prefer self preservation over fishing and we are staying away from the rivers, sadly to say others are not & burying their heads in the sand with every excuse under the sun, thats only until someone close to them gets the virus then Im sure their attitudes will change (sad to say it but some folk just dont listen until it happens to them or a friend)  so Im glad that most Angling clubs are now shutting their waters, its the right thing to do in my opinion.

Im not on total lock-down just yet as Im classed as a key worker so getting to work although a very different work than it was a few weeks ago, allows me to break the monotony of being sat at home like most fisher folk, but am sure all these books that are sat on your bookshelves that you never got around to reading will ease the burden somewhat.

For me when & if we go into total lock-down its going to be furled leader making & I may even revisit the world of float making but the other passion is photography and although the rivers were not kind to me during the past Grayling season it made for great photography conditions with several waterfalls & other places of interest visited, many of which I still need to edit, so boredom isn't going to be factor for me.

I just hope all my friends and blog reader stay safe and am sure we will all soon be stood on our favourite river with the sun on our backs & the brown trout rising to our dry flies.

Take care everyone

Thursday, 20 February 2020

Time to call it.

Well I dont know about the other Grayling anglers across the country but my season has been abysmal to say the least. With all the Dales rivers being flooded, well rephrase that, with all the Dales rivers, most of the fields, and quite a few homes being flooded its time to call it a washout.

I normally finish my season around this time to allow the fish to get on with things so why should this year be any different. The fish this season apart from a few taken on dry fly in September have not been anything to write home about, but there is always next season to look forward too.

Time for the fill in fish to come around the Brown Trout, a mere stop gap for me until the next Grayling season begins, but long hopefully warm summer nights to look forward to not just for the fishing but also to get out on the hills walking, something I have been doing a lot more of over the past year due to work stresses & strains and have to say if it wasnt for taking up photography it wouldn't never have happened, so for that Im thankful.

I recently headed up the Dale hoping to get a decent picture of Ingelborough but the weather wasnt playing & it turned out to be a media oca day and this was the best of a bad bunch.

I'd just like to take this time to say a massive thank you to my friends Klaus, Tina, Hannah & Jakob from Austria who again this year haven't let me down & sent over a lovely piece of home smoked meat, which Im so looking forward to opening tomorrow night with a whisky when I finish work & kick back for the weekend.

Guys I love you to bits thank you so much again.

To all you Grayling anglers out there, take it easy & see you again next season.

Sunday, 26 January 2020

Change of Plans

Its been a couple of weeks since my last entry but I have been busy in the interim period with work & with other pursuits.

Im never too far away from water though, just not stood up to my nether regions in freezing water throwing tungsten nymphs around.

 Im starting to feel the cold too much nowadays & lobbing tungsten nymphs around has never been top of my favourite way of fishing anyway, so Im not finding the spark to get out on the river too much these days to do it,  I find it a very boring method if truth be told so have been focusing my efforts elsewhere.

I had arranged to head over the Cumbria today & meet up with another photographer for a photo shoot but last night after a quick call we both decided it would be a waste of our time & efforts with the wind & rain that was due to be hitting the west coast so a quick look at the state of the rivers I decided to force myself out onto the bank for a couple of hours before the storm moved over to me around lunchtime.

The river was at summertime levels and crystal clear as I sat on the bank tackling up this morning. It was nice to see some colour on the banks already with snowdrops in the sheltered areas now in bloom.

I got my first fish almost immediately, it wont break any records but it saved having a blank day.

I fished on up the river for over a mile without another touch, I was heading to a pool which is always good to me and again in never failed to delivery with 2 out of season trout, both in very good condition for this time of year and a medium sized grayling for this part of the river.

I lost a couple of other fish but by the feel of them they were trout so I wasnt too cut up about them, as I sat having a coffee the heavens opened & the wind started to pick up so I decided to head back downstream & back to the car, I couldn't see any point in getting soaked, so headed home without any further fish.

Karen was surprised to see me back so early & we got chatting about how I used to go fishing in all weathers no matter what....I guess I just need to accept the fact Im getting older & the enthusiasm I had when I was younger is starting to dwindle as I was out in all weathers no matter what & you couldn't drag me off the river, how things change!