Sunday, 27 March 2016

Time to think!

Photo 01 - another dreadful day!

Time to think!

A couple of boat hires today but due to the weather the loch keeper Keith had declared the loch unsafe for boats so the hires had to be cancelled. However this led to another problem in that none of the two engines were operating in a satisfactory manner. Our Mariner whilst operating in a satisfactory manner using the built in tank would not work when connected to the hulk tank. Our Hidea engine was spluttering and really looked bashed and bruised.

So instead of fishing it was fix the motors time.  Our Hidea just shows how much punishment our engines are given with two broken handles, a broken clutch on the propeller, a broken lever on the boat attaching mechanism and scuffs and scrapes all over her. It’s sobering to take a long hard look and see just how much these engines are costing us!

We provided these engines as a service to our anglers to allow them to more fully explore the loch and we did not expect to make any money from this venture. In fact instead of making money we are losing money in spite of the fact that we carry out most of the repairs in house to cut down costs! This of course exposes another problem in that whoever takes on the repair gives up on a day’s fishing!

Now the question here is whether or not it is acceptable to ask our members to give up their time fixing what is broken by other anglers. This also applies to the servicing of these machines which needs to be done every year. We also need to ask if having these engines benefits the club at all and if we need the engines how many do we need! Are two functioning engines enough or do we need a reserve.

Having the engines undoubtedly brings anglers to the lochs and provides a small amount of income for our loch keeper but they can also be a millstone around our necks as the damage incurred costs us significant monies! Yes it’s a recurring topic and yesterday a few views were made known and since these are cost incurring a committee meeting will have to be called to discuss where we go from here!
By the end of the day both engines were running in a satisfactory fashion which is very good news indeed. Some thinking to be done then!


Photo 02 - Can we withstand a £110 replacement when the propeller is grounded?

The wider world in my view!

People of worth!

On Friday I had the pleasure of attending a graduation ceremony for disabled people and it was an experience that will live in me as long as I remain on this earth! These were people that in days gone by would have been subject to all manner of harsh, brutal and ludicrous treatment which is to our discredit! I had thought progress was being made but as you will see all the good work has unravelled!

Up until the unfortunate arrival of the Con-Dems conditions and prospects for these people were increasing giving them independence, self worth and aspiration for the future! With the arrival of the Con-Dems however things took several turns for the worse putting at risk all that had been gained up to that point.

For some of these people the simplest of tasks is a mountain to climb yet given the necessary support and encouragement they succeed!  They attain the ability to carry out work as well as many able bodied people. Of course there is a cost to such training and education, a cost that was being met by the administration in office prior to the arrival of the Con-Dems!

We should all ask ourselves why it is that we are once again reducing the worth of these people. Surely they deserve the same chances as able bodied people!  Most reasonable people would agree with what has been said yet under this brutal Tory government (a loose interpretation of the word) these people are once again being penalised and hobbled preventing them from attaining their true potential!

What kind of administration picks on the very weakest in our society using the resources gained to meet their own political ends Only the Tories could perpetrate such crimes blinded by all excepting the pursuit of profit! Disabled people are people of great worth and as such deserve every chance in life in order to exploit their true potential just like any other individual!

As I watched them one by one going up and collecting their certificates with happiness, pride and a smile as wide as Nicola Sturgeons lead in the polls I also felt proud for each and every one of them. Some may have attained goals that able bodied people would describe as modest, but to each individual it was a personal mountain to be climbed, and signified that each had performed to the very limit of their abilities! It makes you feel humble to see what obstacles these people have overcome.

However I couldn’t help thinking what happens next!  The labour government in the past had set up a manufacturing facility called Remploy who catered specifically for disabled people allowing a slower pace of work but nevertheless producing top quality products. Of course that has now gone binned by the Con-Dems as being a waste of resources, more importantly it put thousands of disabled people on the dole the majority of who are unemployed to this day! Now many disabled people have no real future, no chance of a job, nothing that will give fulfilment!

So what is the future for such people? The answer of course is that there is no future at this time!only a change of government will change their fortunes. Once again thanks to the devoid of compassion Tories these people are being made invisible their chance to lead a fulfilling life taken away and any aspirations they had crushed!

Yes I felt privileged to attend the ceremony for the students and the staff who gave so much of their time and patience honing the skills of the students to make them the best they can be! Undoubtedly a few will get jobs in mainstream employment but many will be left to vegetate! This is the real life scenario that comes from a Tory government the weak and disabled just brushed into a corner and forgotten about! This is why well rounded individuals with a conscience are never Tories, Whatever your choice of vote in the coming election, think carefully before voting for a Tory!

The leader’s debate!

Many of you will have watched the debate on Thursday evening as I did and hopefully you enjoyed it as much as I did! It was not difficult to pick a winner or to identify the losers. Here is my interpretation of what took place –

Winners

 Nicola Sturgeon (SNP) - although by no means was this her best performance, even in a lower gear she trounced the opposition with her clear policies and visions for the future! Verdict – low key performance but still enough to quash all comers, will improve greatly!

Kezia Dugdale (Labour) - showed a marked resurgence with a vibrant questioning of all her opponents. Astounding performance when compared to past leaders Gray and Lamont. Good social policies with clear pointers about where money would be raised. Verdict – Good performance watch her improve over the next weeks!

Patrick Harvey (Greens) – a polished performance from the left winger that will only get better. Youngsters are flocking to them in droves keen to push green issues to the fore.

Losers

Willie Rennie (Puppets) – unfortunately for him no one was listening, ever since Puppet Clegg got into bed with the Tories and ditched their promise on tuition fees no one believes a word they say! Will probably end up languishing in the gutter where they belong!

Complete and utter duds!

David Cockburn (UKIP) – Couldn’t formulate an opinion on him since he seems only to utter irrelevant phrases as opposed to thought out words, no hopers fit only for the trash can!

Ruth Davidson (Tory) – crass performance from the Borg queen, appeared to be the whipping boy for all other parties the audience and the show’s host. Embarrassed by the studio audience several times she was shown for what she is, another rank Tory! Found to be a liar when she said she questioned Westminster over their attack on the disabled! One young disabled lady gave her a right going over and she had no reply, She is not the new Tory party just the Scottish arm of Lord Snooty et al. A fool and a charlatan not fit to receive the vote of anyone other than huge landowners!


So there you have it there will I am sure be many more opportunities to hear your choice speak.

Sunday, 20 March 2016

Wild Trout Competition!


Photo 01 - Stevie's opener see  "Season Underway" below!

Wild Trout Competition!

It’s getting close to the time for our wild Trout Competition which this year is being held on the 23rd of April on St Mary’s loch. As per usual the competition will kick off at the Glen Cafe where Hosts Cath and Lisa will provide refreshments and bacon rolls to get our day off to a great start! We are very grateful to them for all that they do for us and believe me, they have helped us out plenty in the past!

The competition times are fishing from 10.00 until 16.00hrs  with the weigh in shortly after once all the competitors have assembled. At this moment we are unsure if that weigh in will be held at the Tibbie Shiels Inn as in previous years as we are not sure if the venue will be reopening! I will try and find out from Alastair what his intentions are.

If we cannot secure the Tibbie then I think we will be very welcome at the Glen Cafe. I think we will be hoping for an increase in water and air temperature before the day to bring on some fly life although today I did see two small fish breaking the surface but not really what you would call a rise. Sunshine as bright as today could be a hindrance so we will be hoping for a degree of cloud cover as well.

As always the competition will be open to all excepting anglers barred from the club and it’s always good to see some new faces as well as the well kent ones! Entry fee remains unchanged from that of six years ago when the competition commenced and is a very reasonable £16.00/head. Boats will be made available at no cost for any angler experiencing difficulties with mobility. Fishing method is fly only whereas in previous years it has been any legal method this change has been to create a level playing field.
Any Brown Trout over 8 inches will be eligible for weighing and we would ask anglers weighing in to allow us to take scales for research. The prizes will be as follows –
1st prize a days Salmon fishing on the upper Pavilion beat courtesy of the family of the late Major Sir Neil Westbrook. If the winner is not a member of the club then they will be given a years complimentary membership and will be presented with the Westbrook cup to keep for a year.
2nd prize will depend on the status of the Tibbie Shiels inn we should know the situation next week the prize will also include a years complimentary membership.
3rd prize will be a selection of loch flies chosen by one of our fly fishers and a years complimentary membership. More details and rules for the competition will be published in the coming weeks.

Photo 02 Yesterday, you can catch Trout in these conditions!

Season underway!

Already the season has moved to day 5 in the all too short Brown Trout calendar and to the best of my knowledge no Brown Trout have been caught. Stevie Nimmo was out yesterday having a bash with the sinking line as the earlier wind of the day had died down and the loch was as flat as a mill pond! Couple that with bright sunshine and the choice of a sinking line is the obvious one! In the heat of the afternoon sun a queen Bumble Bee came about me no doubt looking for food and a mouse hole in which to set up a nest, a great sign that spring is here!

Stevie, like a real trooper persevered in what were inhospitable conditions for fishing covering the graveyard and Megget bay areas and it was here in the bay that fortune would smile on him. Yes out of the blue the line went tight and a fish was on. A hectic battle ensued and eventually Stevie got the upper hand, a fine specimen Brown Trout tipping the scales at one pound and eleven ounces with a golden yellow belly! Taken on a small black spider with a gold head on a sinking line a poor day was transformed into a great one – well done that man!

It’s a fine specimen, the first Brown Trout of 2016 and it puts up a high bar for the seasons heavy trout competition!

Boathouse Keys!

The boathouse is a valuable resource for the club, we can store our boats inside, carry out repairs under cover and also it can provide overnight accommodation for anglers should they desire. An increasing difficulty for the club is however the cost of these keys at roughly £5.00 per key which we have to bear. I think it is reasonable for those anglers looking for boathouse usage to pay the £5.00 on top of their membership and those anglers seeking replacement keys to be asked to pay the said fee as well. 

I will be putting this point to the committee to get their views and hopefully soon we will have a more sensible policy in the not too distant future. All anglers using the boathouse should be aware that they do so at their own risk and that the club will not be held responsible for any damage or loss to anglers or their equipment!

The wider world in my view!

The “Omnishambles” returns!

It took him close on an hour to try and camouflage the toxic words of taking from the poor to give to the rich! Yes Minister without a clue Gideon Osborne tried his hardest to try and convince any who were listening that his economic long term plan has collapsed and he needs to raise more money!

Fair enough you may say, but remember Gideon Osborne has not met a single economic target in his chancellorship stumbling from one failed projection to the next! His speech on Wednesday was a memorable one in that there was no attempt to disguise the fact that he was intent on further penalising the poor to raise money to compensate for the tax cuts given to the rich!

Showing their true colours Osborne and his cronies live up to the tried and tested Tory ideology of bringing back a Victorian society with a hugely widened rich/poor gap! Its almost beyond belief but the minister without a clue wants to rob the very weakest in our society and give the spoils to the already wealthy!

It really makes you wonder how people could be so callous and unthinking, of course its always been the Tory way! Here we have a so called chancellor who seems to excel at failing in all that he does and is currently preparing the ground for another financial crash which will of course be nothing to do with the idiotic policies implemented by him!

As I write a rebellion of Tory wets is in progress who are aghast at the brutal policy of the fool and it is likely that the policy will be dropped but not before the country sees the Tory party for what it really is! Even benefits axe man Iain Duncan Smith has resigned which is no bad thing as he was a proper bampot and one wonders what his motives really are! Don’t be under the illusion that Duncan Smith is one of the good guys for he is not. Duncan Smith is a fervent zealot with no qualms whatsoever about punishing weak disabled and poor people! He was the architect of punishing policies against poor people!

It seems we have a government devoid of compassion, with no direction and little imagination! The only thing they know what to do is hobble the poor to line the pockets of the rich! The ideology of diminishing the state and all the fantastic works that emanate from it eclipses all that they are reducing to poverty millions of vulnerable people is of no concern to a Tory!


 This budget was a sick joke introducing nothing new, helping only those who already have too much. It makes me wonder just what it will take to make the people of Middle England to realise that this government has no moral conscience, and is intent on creating a two tier state if indeed it is not already one!  You would have to be a person without any moral value to be a Tory, come election time, will you have a conscience? 

Sunday, 13 March 2016

A real mess!



Photo 01 - Massive erosion on Kirkstead, fence shows original route!

A real mess!

We have known about this for some time but viewing the devastation on the Kirkstead burn that has taken place during the flood events was put off until today. As this blog records the social history of the club it is vitally important we record the events that shape our future actions. As everyone will know the amounts of water visited upon us earlier was without precedent and caused massive damage!

What appears to have taken place is that the Kirkstead was full and a raging torrent whilst St Mary’s was swollen to bursting point and the force of St Mary’s loch pushed the water of the Kirkstead back forcing it to create a new path where the resistance was much lower hence a new route for the burn was gouged out!

Huge amounts of erosion have taken place and needless to say our natural bank reinforcement work was washed away with ease! In addition to this the work of the Tweed Forum in carrying out the fencing work has seen the fence mostly destroyed with sections left dangling in the air and the gates disappear without trace!
Its a blow for us and them and we shall meet with them to see what the way forward may be. Surprisingly many of our trees in the upper areas survived the onslaught of water although they are no longer lining the banks of the burn simply standing on farmland in many cases a good way from the new route taken by the burn.  Once stock get in they will be wiped out!

It is clear to me at least that to have a set route for the burn would involve heavy engineering works which as a club is beyond our reach. Burns do change course over time it’s a well known fact, but the problem at Kirkstead is that farm land is being replaced by rubble! The problem for us is that relentless change robs our young fish of much food as the new channel will take a few years to become a good food producing area! The current route being taken by Kirkstead is a temporary one and the bottom end at least will change quickly. This area has pushed through shingle adjacent to the loch and an angry St Mary’s or Kirkstead will re route the burn in quick time!

I think the fencing could be realigned to the contours of the burn but we have to ask ourselves if this would be a productive move! Unless we can guarantee a steady long term route for the burn the same thing could happen again. I will be asking the Selkirk Flood Protection group to what extent they think they are responsible for the chaos caused! There can be no doubt an artificial set of circumstances has been engineered here and the effects of this will only become apparent with time!

I believe that here we have witnessed a natural event, but an event that has seen the negative consequences exacerbated by the flood protection works!  The Kirkstead burn is crucial for us as an angling club as it is by far our most productive spawning burn and any detriment to the burn will affect us on the loch a few years down the line! We have some talking to do and we must come up with an action plan to counteract what is a real mess!

Photo 02 - Stock gates demolished!

 Note - both fields were completely empty of stock, no dog leashed or unleashed should be allowed in any field containing stock!

Trout Tuesday!

At long last it’s in sight, the official start to the Brown Trout season in Scotland! If you haven’t got your gear ready then you had better get cracking. I won’t make opening day due to work but I would be very surprised if a few of our regulars are not out sinking flies braving whatever conditions Mother Nature throws our way!

According to the elder statesmen of the club floating line should be your first choice with a couple of traditional like March Brown, Greenwells Glory Woodcock & mixed and an attractor like Zulu or the famed orange goldhead! If they are not doing the business try an intermediate line to get further down. Finally if all else fails its sinking line and get right down. Of course dry fly aficionados could always try a floater you just never know. The start of a potentially glorious 6 months is nigh get those flies in the water!

Whatever your meat we wish all our anglers Tight Lines!


Photo 03 - Redundant, the old route taken by Kirkstead!

                           Photo 04 - A temporary exit constructed with shingle!

The wider world in my view!

Lord Snooty humiliated!

It was nowhere to be seen in the Tory manifesto yet out of the blue came a scheme to extend opening hours for shops in England! Yes these buffoons though it would be fine to increase the working hours of some of the most poorly people in the land! Shop workers do not normally get paid premium rates, they work unsocial hours for the normal hourly rate unlike many other groups of workers.

These out of touch posh boys got it seriously wrong but had it not been for the SNP the despicable bill would have passed! Yes the "Omnishambles" crowd got it badly wrong yet again! Fair play to the SNP delving into a mostly English measure to protect the workers involved! At last these Tory fools are being seen for the idiots they are. Their nuclear plan for Hinckley is about to fall apart which would be a very good thing. Did you ever hear of allowing a nuclear facility to be run by a foreign power and built by another foreign power!

Again it was always coming Barack Obama let rip as to what he really thinks about Lord Snooty telling us what we already know! Yes he said Libya after the Franco-British intervention was an absolute disaster! Blair’s cross was weapons of mass destruction whilst Snooty’s cross was intervention to prevent a mass genocide, another fictional fairy story!

Five years after the ill judged farce there is still no evidence of any actual or any intended genocide! Like Blair, Lord Snooty was desperate to get in there and show them the might of the British Empire, instead he yet again embarrassed the people of this country and has created a situation resulting in thousands of deaths! I find it sickening that before Lord Snooty invaded Libya there existed a society enjoying a standard of living never before experienced. Gaddafi was no angel but he kept order and people were safe, Libya is now a hell hole thanks to Lord Snooty!

Prepare for another embarrassing defeat for the Tories as the House of Lords look set to vote down the further punishing cuts to the weak and disabled. Yes these devoid of compassion Tories look set to push ahead with cuts to the already derisory amounts given to these people. The worst thing however is Minister without a clue Gideon Osborne wants to use this money to fund tax cuts for the top 15% earners in the country! He is also very busy laying down excuses for the coming downturn so that when the "recovery" crashes he can pass on the blame!

What an absolute farce, this is not a government rather just a group of jumped up posh boys who do not have a care in the world! Yes that is the greatest affliction the country has, we are being hobbled by an inept group of fools who are still trying (and failing) to recover the country from the 2008 banking crash!

We started out with the Con-Dems who were ultra successful in embarrassing the whole country with their outlandish policy! The situation has not changed and we are still being shown up by these Tory fools as they blunder from one failed policy to the next! Many people were surprised by the rock solid support for the SNP I think now it will be abundantly clear why this is the case.


The choice for the people of Scotland is clear, more buffoonery and gaffe's from the Tories or simple thought out policy from the SNP!

Sunday, 6 March 2016

Contacting our loch keeper!

Photo 01- Bowerhope showing the new lower water level!

Contacting our loch keeper!

You will no doubt be aware of problems when it comes to contacting Mr Xxxxx our loch keeper. This is in no way down to him rather the appalling level of mobile coverage at the loch! Mr Xxxxx has managed to obtain the use of a landline which should ensure that you are able to make contact much more successfully than in the past. Please add the numbers to your phone and remember  the e mail address is very good.Mr Xxxxx's contact details are below and will be on the sidebar of this newspage every week so you will be able to access them easily. If you require a permit and the knowledge contact Mr Xxxxx.

Phone - 01750 42251
Mob - 07724523777 
E mail stmarysloch@gmail.com 
Very good fishing indeed!

It’s never the same each year, that is the feeding habits of Pike just prior to Pike spawning. Some years like last year you would have thought that there were no Pike in the lochs! This year however is looking like the opposite with many heavy specimens being caught. Stevie Nimmo watched a lad land a very nice fish last week which he thought was a good twenty!

There is no predicting just what direction the Pike will take or if there are certain environmental factors that trigger a preference for the path taken. Certainly this year it’s been mild but we have had similar mild winters where the Pike appeared to be dormant. It’s like a lot of things in fishing we just do not know, which is one of the reasons we crave our fishing fix and the need to know more!

No I don’t think we have all the answers but when the fishing gods smile on us we must make hay whilst it lasts. Pike in spawning condition are more fragile than usual so we need to be extra careful handling them so check out Pike handling on the PAC website it gives good general guidance. Tight lines!

Of concern!

There is no doubt that angling clubs seem to be impotent when it comes to attracting members to engage in activities necessary to keep clubs running efficiently. These activities whilst not onerous are seen as less attractive pursuits often involving a degree of work. So why are club members so reluctant to get involved in pushing their club onwards?

Apathy is a big factor leaving it for someone else to do as it seems the club always seems to get by! This of course is mostly correct as most clubs have a small core group that always seem to be there when the less attractive stuff needs to be carried out. A lack of time has often been cited by some members and indeed this would be the case for a few individuals at some points in their lives!

A factor not often mentioned is that of laziness people who would rather lie in bed than help the club for a few hours, basically these people should not be members of clubs for they detract from rather than contribute to the clubs well being! Clubs will fold due to lack of interest if it was not for groups of middle aged anglers returning to the sport we would without doubt be in dire straits! 

The world has changed, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and their like engulf all, outdoor sports are becoming a thing of the past. I use none of the above and if they disappeared tomorrow it would probably lead to people considering more outdoor options! There will come a crisis point where clubs have to take the deciding decision whether or not to continue! All we can do is to enthuse other anglers about the real joys of angling. Enjoying the facilities the club offers is great but the club does not run itself with no input!
Every member of every club should ask themselves “What have I done to help the club move forward!”

Photo 02- Old tree showing the effects of the recent storms!

The wider world in my view!

The High street!

The debate continues as to whether or not the new Borders railway is rejuvenating the High Street! Some shopkeepers say there has been as marginal increase in trade whilst others say there has been a significant downturn. People need to realise that times have changed the days of the burgeoning High Street have gone never to return!
It is not only Galashiels it’s all over the country the internet and superstores have wiped out the small trader and it is thanks to us the ordinary consumer! It’s the internet, superstore or small retailer in the High Street and unequivocally we choose the first two options! Already in Galashiels 3 shops have ceased trading this year or are in the process of so doing! Let’s make no mistake we are responsible for this change and it is ever growing! The actual High Street in Galashiels is like a ghost town street with a few shabby shops all with time limited diaries!

No one wants to come to view such a shabby street in a non descript town! The train carries many passengers out of town at the weekend and this is entirely to be expected. Why would people want to shop in Galashiels with a limited range of shops with goods at a higher price when you could jump on the train travel quickly and in comfort to an international shopping centre where choice is virtually limitless and in most cases at a more attractive price!

Of course people will leave the town in numbers to travel to Edinburgh and local shopkeepers will struggle to make ends meet! Trade will pick up for some shopkeepers in the summer as visitors make a pit stop, I cannot however see people deliberately setting the Sat Nav for Galashiels, why on earth would they? There is nothing in Galashiels or surrounding towns that is not available in the city!

The train will not be the saviour of the Border towns and schemes to rejuvenate the town centre will fail without question. The train however opens up opportunities for Border folk to shop in Edinburgh and people will avail themselves of this opportunity! The time has come to face up to reality the town centres are dead; there is no salvation, the sooner those who claim to govern us realise that the better! Wasting money appointing town centre supremos can no longer be justified. Bustling town centres are now a thing of the past!

Not a chance!

This week saw small numbers of Scotland’s most hated political party come together for their annual blether. I say blether for that is all that it is, no one outside the building sows the slightest interest! Yes the anonymous crowd are desperate to rekindle their fortunes in Scotland reverting to the era pre Butcher Thatcher who did for them big time! It seems the party has some quite low end aspirations for the future!

Borg Queen Ruth Davidson said that she would like for her party to become the official opposition displacing Labour. Now in the recent past that would have been a significant achievement but with Scottish Labour in freefall and still plummeting it would be no achievement at all! The twinset and pearls brigade will continue their chatter in complete isolation to no end whatsoever!

No doubt they would have ferried up Lord Snooty to rally the troops and impress the public, I have no doubt it would have achieved the former but the general public saw Snooty’s arrival as a massive turn off! Posh boys and their like have no place in Scotland they are toxic to the core! It’s just a shame that Lord Snooty seems to be leading the “in” camp with regard to the EU referendum because that will in effect turn thousands of voters to the “out” campaign!

The Scottish Tories excel at making numerous policies all of which will disappear without trace so insignificant are they! The future for the Scottish Tories is bleak; the best they can hope for is to maintain the paltry standing they have at present as an insignificant minor party! The latest opinion polls indicate they will not fare as well as they had hoped with support well down from a few years ago.

You could not say that they are not game for the challenge for indeed they are, but they are destined to be rank outsiders along with the Scottish puppets, absolute nobody’s forever in oblivion! As for their aspirations to be the official opposition – not a chance!