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Issue 34 - One for the girls

Scotland Magazine Issue 34
August 2007


This article is 11 years old and some information provided may be time sensitive. Please check all details of events, tours, opening times and other information before travelling or making arrangements.

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One for the girls

Grand Perthshire estate Kinnaird is offering unique fishing breaks specifically for women. Sally Toms found out more

If, like me, you’re a woman that cringes at the ‘women’s section’ in a newspaper, then the idea of a specialist fishing holiday for women may at first seem a bit...

patronising. But, even in these days of sexual equality, there are undeniably more men interested in the sport than women.

For decades men folk have been standing knee deep in cold water while their wives are in the spa being smothered in clay and wrapped in plastic. Well, no more. Women!

It’s time to throw away the fruit smoothies and complementary slippers and don a pair of khaki green waders and thermal underwear. Let’s show those boys what we’re made of (and no you won’t have to pick up a worm). Because, and here’s the trump card ladies, history suggests we may have something of a talent for it. The largest salmon ever caught in Britain was by a woman on the River Tay; a Miss Georgina Ballantine landed the 64lb monster in 1922.

So stick that on your hook and fish it.

The megafish of 100 years ago may be long gone, but the Tay is still regarded as one of the best fishing rivers in the United Kingdom. It rises from the slopes of Ben Lui at 3700 ft and flows for 120 miles through the Perthshire Highlands before eventually joining the North Sea at Dundee.

The KinnairdEstate sits on the banks of the river and is using its prime location and impeccable fishing pedigree to get more women interested in the sport. Owned by Mrs Constance Ward, the 7,000-acre sporting estate includes five miles of some of the finest salmon fishing on the Tay system.

The house itself dates back to the 1770s, and has been furnished with many fine pieces of furniture and antiques. There are nine bedrooms and suites, as well as some delightful courtyard cottages. In the billiard room you can see an impressive collection of mounted fish; there are six or seven salmon well above 40lb in weight, caught by the Ward family during the years and their casts preserved forever behind glass.

There are two fishing beats on the estate known as Lower and Upper Kinnaird. They have been maintained by the Ward family for generations and include royalty among the many guests who have been accommodated on its water.

Each beat even has its own fishing cabin (which Kinnaird proudly boasts are the best on the entire Tay system) featuring cooking facilities, toilet, fridge, microwave, cooker, dishwasher, barbecue and freezer. There is also a good supply of cutlery and crockery, but if that doesn’t tickle your fancy the dining room at the house surely will. The award winnning chefs can even be persuaded to cook your fish.

But before you can eat it, you have to catch it. There are two full time ghillies [guides for fishing] operating on Kinnaird, both with extensive knowledge of angling and with years of experience. They are patient and attentive to beginners, and with their help you can learn first hand about fly fishing and spinning [another kind of artificial lure] to catch those illusive salmon or trout.

There is certainly no better way to experience the outdoors and the best of Scotland’s stunning scenery. And you never know, you may discover a hidden talent for the sport.

Or if not, then there’s always the spa.

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