A chief Laird writes


Just came across a book review (online, but it’s published in Country Life) by David Profumo on The Salmon by Michael Wigan [Harper Collins, £25].
I know Sir Michael from Trout and Salmon magazine days when I had many long conversations with him from the office phone when I was features editor, which was an honour. He owns the Borrobol estate in the Helmsdale valley in Sutherland. In particular one piece we eventually published where we tried to track down his photographer from Eastern Canada’s Gaspe rivers who was hilariously elusive, to the extent art director Hakan and I had to track him as he went on a moose hunting trip and a deadline loomed.

Anyway here is David Profumo (he can also write a bit) in a snippet from his review:

“There can be little doubt that the entire undertaking is suffused with a passionate devotion to a fish he calls ‘natural royalty’. I learned a lot. Our assiduous author discourses on pelagic trawls, hormones, genetic impurity, sexually precocious parr, tribal rituals, hydro-power, dams, seals, lice, ghillies, sturgeon, sockeye, triploids, politicians and toxic sludge. There are some nice anecdotes, too: I particularly relished the Irish poacher who claimed a fish must have jumped into his boot in the dark.
His work assumes the texture of a bolt of Hebridean tweed-complex and is stylish, if a little uneven in places. He has a graphic turn of phrase. A cock salmon’s kyped head ‘attains a super-gothic ferocity’; when a fish escapes the ‘mind floods with a weird sort of cosmic sorrow’.”

Now I don’t want to get political but some of you may have noticed the mention of a sturgeon above, not to mention the salmon (d) – do you see what I’m doing here?! – but before we go further and bring to mind Scotland’s first minister and deputy (Alex and Nicola) I will put my cards on the table and say: let me sit on the fence a bit for now, eh? I know today was the day the Scotland referendum white paper was published but I’m not going there now..
Not yet.

So there it is – and no Mum, this isn’t a hint, if you are reading this, for a Christmas present! Or at least I don’t think so ;D


About henrygiles

Born to fish forced to work and fish
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