Caught by the River

Fishing at Glastonbury

4th July 2010

by Paul Cowlishaw.

It’s 5am on Saturday morning and here’s the view from my swim (fishing spot to non-anglers) – the sun rising behind Glastonbury Tor and low lying mist breathing gently around the Friesians in the fields below. I’m sitting beside the River Brue, which is barely moving at this time of year, the margins lined with rafts of weed and water-lilies, plump yellow buds yet to unfurl at this hour. It looks every bit like a tench haven and this morning, for just a few hours, I will try for them.

Not far from where I’m sitting, mesmerised by the orange tip of my goose quill float now motionless beside a spread of lily pads, a rather large festival is taking place. The source of an altogether different flow. I live about five miles from the festival site but, for the last couple of days, the throb of the bass, sweeping relentlessly around the hills and down the valleys, has been a constant accompaniment from late morning through the afternoon and on into the early hours. But right now, when a large number of festival goers, I imagine, have not long crashed out in an intoxicated stupor, there is peace. Apart, that is, from the occasional sound of tearing grass and a sprinkling of bird song in the still air.

I’ll be there myself tomorrow and being rather crowd-phobic, I’m not sure I’m looking forward to it. We’re not planning to jump the fences, get stoned, stay up all night dancing to obscure reggae bands and go mud diving. Rather we’ll be travelling in by a special bus laid on for the locals and with two young daughters in tow, probably watching Keane and Jack Johnson if we can ever get out of the “Kidz Field”. But I know it’s going to be noisy, hot and dirty and ridiculously crowded and I’ll be trying my best to enjoy it as a family day out and trying not to regard the whole experience as an endurance test.

But here, beside the water, I’m in my element – fish or no fish. I’m content here and I will be for the next couple of hours, until the heat of the sun dries the early morning dew, until the first jingle of an approaching dog collar sounds in the distance and until the thud, thud, thud of the bass floods the landscape once again.