Caught by the River

Holiday Postcard 2; Jon by the River

25th August 2009

where the loch meets the sea at Wrath

Hi Jeff,

Hope you’re well, and the summer has been kind to you. We both loved the festival, and wish we could have stayed longer – but the long drive to Perth and beyond was too much to ignore. Next year is a definite, and we’ll even buy our tickets. Thanks again.

Scotland was fantastic – there was an emotional reunion with the Black River and its (highly) elusive salmon, and lots of travelling around the Highlands in search of fish and good times. Cape Wrath was mad – I have attached some low-res holiday snaps which may give you an idea of just how distant and different that part of this island is.

The sun is just cooling off; time to go over the road with some bamboo and dog biscuits and catch a wildie.


Jon (Berry)

wrath brownie

Hi Jon,

good to hear from you. It was lovely to see you and Vic at Port Eliot. It is a shame you couldn’t stay, though of course I understand why. Sunday was very wet but it was my favourite day. I stayed in our tent from start to close and loved every second. It was everything that I want CBTR to be, a bunch of interesting people telling their stories. a real mix up of loosely linked themes. very soulful and fascinating and funny. Our mate Kieran recorded everything – including the entire 90 minutes of the genius that is Chris Watson. As soon as he sends us the tapes we plan to put a couple of podcasts together.

Looks like you had a good holiday! that’s a beaut of a fish. I need to learn to fly fish. I’ve only done it once. Can I run a couple of these pics with an edit of your letter? I’ll call it ‘holiday postcard’ or something.

I’d love for you to write something for us. always. any time. Do you know the (children’s) book ‘Minnow on the Say’ by Philippa Peace? It’s a real delight. I could send you a copy of that and if you like it you could write about it. I reckon you will love it.
We are planning a ‘library’ section. A place where we archive reviews / write ups of our favourite books. That’s where this would go. We are also looking for a piece on ‘Ring of Bright Water’. That’s just out in a new edition from a new indie publisher called Dovecote press.

over to you. let me know if either of these take your fancy.

all the best to you and to Vic,


ps did the wildie take the biscuit?

cape wrath 1
black river 1

Hi Jeff,

Feel free to use the pics any way you like – Cape Wrath is the furthest north i’ve ever fished, or been. My dad used to fly over it in the early-sixties, when he was young and in the Navy, dropping bombs on off-shore rocks, and it is still used for target practice to this day. There’s a hippie community up there too, assorted trout bums, and a small population of locals at Durness – and the landscape is surreal, like a flooded moon. The Hotel there is over 200 years old, and can only be reached by a very long drive through the secret parts of Scotland. Dougie the Ghillie drove us there, pointing out private lochans and rivers and telling us that only Prince Charles and his pals could fish them, and that spotters in the hills would descend on us if we tried. Our loch was shallow in the margins, green with limestone with a deep centre in which at least one WWII plane resides. The trout were big, wild and moody, but we caught some.

I’d very much like to review Minnow on the Say – I read it years ago, and will try to find my copy (parents’ attic, possibly…). If it doesn’t turn up, i’ll buy another – can’t keep blagging free stuff from you. I’m busy over the next week, but can get to it at the start of September. If that goes well, i’ll do Ring of Bright Water too. A library section to the site is a good idea – BB’s Pool of the Black Witch completely absorbed me as a kid, and Little Egret have recently re-published it. Well worth a mention. I’d also like to write about Richard Brautigan at some point. He doesn’t seem to get mentioned much these days, but he was the perfect embodiment of fishing and nature’s place in the counter-culture, and his books are essential.

The wildies didn’t fancy biscuits, but bread flake never fails…