Welcome to HEL

The iconic gateway to the Kola Peninsula for most of us salmon-fishers is via Helsinki. Or HEL, as the luggage flight tags display. Here you have to stay the Friday night at the Helsinki Hilton and it was a relief to slump in my room where this sign on the telly somehow made the dream you were embarking on that bit more real, that bit closer. After all ahead of you were six fabulous days of salmon fishing, in my case on the Varzuga river, but I’ll rewind the clock to the day before the above image to where my daughter Pippa was helping me pack my bags and just show a few images, in order of how they happened, perhaps adding to them bit by bit as the adventure developed.

On the wall behind Pippa, BTW, is a cutout lifesize photograph of my biggest-ever salmon, 14.5 lb from the River Annan four years ago. But that’s another story…

Back to the events of ten days ago and I’ll just post a few more photos of the Saturday that started with a charter flight on Finnair from Helsinki to Murmansk, then a chopper flight of 1.5 hours down to Middle Varzuga camp to drop of those Roxtons rods fishing there.

Craig, right, holding his Snaelda flies, and Joe at Murmansk's ‘Bar we know and love’..

..at which we waited for transfer to a military airport ten minutes’ drive away for boarding the yellow Mi8 chopper...

After 50 mins’ flying, the descent down to Middle Varzuga camp, about 15 miles north of Lower, where we had a cup of tea at the lodge in the following pics before taking off again for Lower camp, where we arrived about 5pm. More pics - and fish! - will follow tomorrow..

Got to get one fish on this post so altho this came halfway thro the week, here's a classic bright little Varzuga fish from the Heli pool next to the camp, but believe me they came plenty bigger than this.


About henrygiles

Born to fish forced to work and fish
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