A July week in the Hebrides

BRACES of Bristol - Mauser M12 with Schmidt & Bender 2.5-10x56 Illuminated Scope
As some will be aware my girlfriend rents her cottage on the Isle of Lewis and she lives nearby. I live a sort of transient lifestyle but am sometimes lucky enough to get a week in the cottage to fish, and later in the year perhaps to try for some deer.



http://www.7south.co.uk/

This year we spent the first week in July in Inverness enjoying ourselves. We were really impressed with the falconry display at Dunrobbin Castle and had a most enjoyable day out having afternoon tea on the Speyside Railway - it doesn't really go very far but it is lovely to sit drinking tea and chugging along behind the steam train along a little bit of Speyside. We also took a run out to Dores and down to Loch Killin and it is impossible for me to comprehend the number of sika and roe just standing around in the fields in the area. In Ireland, where I do my sika stalking, those deer would be wiped out in a fortnight.

Then it was time to head over to Lewis for a week in the cottage. On the first night I was out on a nearby loch, you can walk to it from the cottage, and I managed to take a few decent fish for lunch the following day. It is so nice to be back out with the trout rod in hand:



For me no trip to Lewis is complete without getting a bit of a walk and reaching out to the more remote trout lochs which might not have been fished in years. By and large the trout on Lewis are not big and a one pound fish is a good fish, however there is a lot of satisfaction in catching your dinner from a remote loch while an eagle keeps a watchful eye, or an otter gives you the evil eye.

I got some good fish for my wanderings but the otter did even better and what is not clear from the photo is that he was on his back eating the trout he'd just caught:



Once more this year the weather on Lewis has been great and there isn't much more water in the rivers than there was when I took this photo in July last year, as a result there weren't many salmon to be had and so it was great to have the trout lochs to fall back on:



On one afternoon I headed out to the sheep loch and made tea it an old disused shieling:



Despite the rather bright conditions there was a reasonable breeze for trout fishing and so I managed to take a few wee trout. I couldn't resist a picture of this one against the colours and plants of the Lewis moor:



As well as the trout fishing there is lots to do on Lewis both for the adults and also for kids, or even big kids like me. One afternoon we took ourselves to one of the stone circles at Callanish after, of course, a feed of cake and tea in the visitors centre. There are quite a few stone circles in the area and they are well worth seeing. Just to the left in the background of this photo is the sea pool of the Garynahine river and although there was no water there were several anglers fishing it as we came past.



This year I didn't have much time for beaches but the area has some of the most spectacular anywhere in the world as this picture taken in July last year, when I was doing the tourist thing with my parents, was taken:



As so many visitors seem to come with at least some intention of watching the wildlife there is now a Hertel and Reuss spotting scope in the cottage for the use of the visitors. Although it is rather old and the draw is a bit on the lose side it still produces decent images at the lower end of its magnification scale with magnifications in the 25 - 40 range seeming to be best.



I know that it is a long way to Lewis and some may not consider it worth the effort to get there but if you are interested in fishing for trout or salmon and especially if you like wild fish in wild places then there is nowhere else to compare. Despite this wild and remote nature there are also lots of other activities for the whole family with lots of places to eat out, an indoor swimming pool in Shawbost School about a mile from the cottage and even ten pin bowling available in Ness. It is also the ideal destination for the kids as they can get out and about and have real adventures just like kids should.



 

Saugmann

Active Member
Great pics, thanks!

The Hebrides are a beautiful spot, and your pictures certainly do the islands justice.


Cheers,

​Christian
 

weeman

Well-Known Member
Shame you don't except pets mate im after a holiday asap left it late. Well I say dog she is a dachshund and only weighs 6lb.

Weeman
 

sako751sg

Well-Known Member
Cracking wee story once again fella and some superb pics.I think all rivers are struggling with the lack of water but could get some good runs when the weather finally breaks.Dunrobin Castle is a stunning place,and the trip to the museum and seeing all the deer and other species they shot is especially eye opening.
 

caorach

Well-Known Member
I think all rivers are struggling with the lack of water but could get some good runs when the weather finally breaks.

I hope so, the picture of the river was taken last year but there isn't much more water in it this year. I think the fish have been a little later arriving in from the sea this year - there are some about but nowhere near the numbers there were last year. However, last year really was an amazing year for salmon fishing on Lewis so I'm hopeful we will soon get a few weeks of rain and the fish will come flooding in.
 

caorach

Well-Known Member
I reckon we'll bump into each other up there at some point, I'm up there next week!

If you are up for fishing then I will keep the fingers crossed for rain for you. The moor isn't bone dry like last year, but there is no water in the rivers and the lochs are fairly low. It must be said that the salmon seem late coming back this year and they were just starting to spot some numbers of fish moving in around the end of last week so even if there had been water I don't think there were going to be many fish coming in on it. I had a look at the sea pool at Gearraidh na h-Aibhne a few times last week and didn't see any fish moving it in, though there were a lot of people fishing it on Friday and I believe they are getting a few fish off it most days. I don't know about Amhuinnsuidhe but it certainly looked like most of Lewis was waiting for the main run of fish.

If you are going to be up during late August or September let me know and maybe we can get together for a day at trout on one of the moorland lochs for a bit of a day out.
 

jon2

Well-Known Member
Thanks for posting Caorach. As always I look forward to the report and pictures of your time spent on Lewis.
 

caorach

Well-Known Member
I've been playing with some photo processing for some of my Lewis pictures. In some ways I'm not at all sure I agree with it as the place is spectacular enough without me messing about with the images. On the other hand I enjoy doing the messing about and sometimes I think the effect works well. Given that I thought I might post some of the processed images here as some folks might enjoy them and it seems a shame to spend the time doing it and no one else getting to see the outcome. Not to the taste of everyone I'll admit but it was fun doing it and hopefully it might inspire some SD folks to have a play with their own photos.

Firstly I will post two HDR processed images taken from nearly the same spot. This shows a panorama of the Shawbost area with one picture taken in April and the other taken last week. It is amazing how brown the ground is in April, and the little covering of snow on the hill, and how much it has greened up in July:

April:



July:



And now a few photos of the area that I've been messing about with, I hope at least some enjoy them:





 

Adam Hall

Active Member
Exellent images , lewis looks a sporting paradice im extremely enviouse of you, fingers crossed im looking at getting up to lewis for a week or so next august all being well i carnt weight
 

caorach

Well-Known Member
Exellent images , lewis looks a sporting paradice im extremely enviouse of you, fingers crossed im looking at getting up to lewis for a week or so next august all being well i carnt weight

I don't think there can be anywhere else quite like it if you fish, stalk or shoot.

August is said not to be good for the trout fishing but I've always done well in months that are said not to be good also I think part of the reason it isn't considered so good is that many people will be fishing for salmon during August and so may not be paying so much attention to the trout. It is also probably the peak month for salmon and if you get water, and there hasn't been any so far this summer, then you should get some cracking salmon fishing. Even without water many places are still reporting a good trickle of salmon with maybe 10 for the day so everyone is getting fish, however if the water comes I'd be expecting everyone to be getting 10 fish per angler.

In terms of shooting/stalking then August is a little early but it is hard to get the timing perfect for everything and there may still be some options, the stalking especially is very dramatic.

Regardless of where you are staying if you want any info drop me a PM but be sure to keep Dollag's Cottage in mind for accommodation as the cottage is ideally located for a family holiday or a sporting one though bookings are already coming in for next summer with the weeks of the festival already gone..
 

caorach

Well-Known Member
It looks fantastic, I'd love to spend a few days there. Unfortunately, I'm not sure that anyone else in my entourage would be quite as keen.

Well, although I am keen on the fishing/stalking/wildlife aspect of the area there is lots for, say, the family to do. For a start there is a nearby sandy beach that you can walk to and the kids can see tweed being woven and feed pet lambs and do all the sort of outdoor stuff that kids should be doing. One visitor earlier this month had a work colleague and his son stay for a few days and the son was on the phone to his mum asking her to cancel the booked holiday as he wanted to come back - he'd been fishing on the nearby loch and caught a trout which he cooked for his dinner and he'd been visiting weavers and had his own bit of tweed to take home and so on.

Also there is 10 pin bowling at Ness, if the weather is bad, or a heated indoor swimming pool about a mile away in the local school and an indoor sports centre in Stornoway plus there are some cracking places to eat in the area including Auberge which has probably the best view of any eating spot on earth. There are also sea tours by boat to see the wildlife and even out as far as St. Kilda and of course there are the standing stones at Callanish. There's also lots of local music and an active nightlife in Stornoway (believe it or not) and stuff like that and lots of people seem to come for the surfing and wind surfing though that is something I know nothing about.

I think some people come with the idea that the island is small and will have limited things to do, especially for the family, but it takes over 2 hours to drive from one end to the other and the problem most people have when they come is fitting everything in, people seem to come for a week and then come back the following year for two weeks.
 

caorach

Well-Known Member
Just to say that over the last few days Lewis has had the first decent water of the summer salmon run and the forecast is for some more rain over the weekend. It looks like pretty much everyone fishing got a fish yesterday, though it certainly wasn't a remarkable day in Lewis salmon terms, but maybe the fish aren't getting up out of the sea so quickly and so there may not be a lot in the rivers yet but if the water keeps coming over the weekend then next week should be good.
 
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