A great believer in exploring the off beat, non-touristy things hidden inside every city.
Published October 1st 2015
Fishing in a loch (yes, just for fish)
I must confess upfront, I don't know the first thing about fishing. This little jewel was a serendipitous find as we did a drive through Scotland's Clydemuirshiel regional park (by which I mean, around 108 square miles of vast green countryside!). Nestling quite simply in the middle of nowhere is this lake, or loch as the Scottish would say, where keen anglers sit patiently in small boats waiting for a bite. Just sitting peacefully on this side of the lake, in the cafe area with hot chocolate in hand, watching the scene itself feels therapeutic.
I am told by the friendly lady in the cafe that for these fishermen, it's a hobby, rather than any commercial venture. Some of them come there for an all night fishing jaunt in the summer. My young daughters are delighted to find there is a little petting zoo of sorts. Apart from the usual array rabbits, ducks, hens, they make a discovery of a new breed of dogs, racoon dogs, as we are told, a species native to East Asia, closely resembling racoons. Their joy is complete (my daughters I mean, not the canines) when they are told by the lady that they can have the honour of naming these two. Meanwhile, I learn that the whole trout fishery, lake, cafe et al is owned by her nephew and she helps him out now and then. Anyone wishing to fish is required to purchase a permit from them. Permits vary based on the time you would like to spend in the water and the number of fish you catch. Some of them are to be released and some are taken home to end up at a dinner table ( the website gives all the details around this, to me it's fisherman jargon). We just walk round, watch and cheer when a fisherman successfully pulls in his catch.
The park itself offers a plethora of activities for the photographer, camper, walker, birdwatcher among us. Stray bits of poetry from the nature poets of yesteryears come unbidden to my mind. I had learnt these sitting in a hot classroom of 40 odd kids with a harried teacher, in a busy city school in tropical India. Today, the words make complete sense.