OS map #19 1:50,000 series

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Fisherfield Forest lies to the North of Loch Maree in Wester Ross, Scotland. If you look at the map, it is the area behind An Teallach, about as wild as you can get in Scotland.

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day one. May 17

Shenavall bothy

We drove up overnight, slept for a couple of hours in the car at Corrie Hallie layby, then started walking about 5am. Not long into the walk it started to rain, we stopped long enough to put on waterproofs and carried on.

At first it is a long steady climb through trees on a good landrover track but before long you reach the first climb. We were still on the track, but it was a killer, but we soon got into our stride. There is a fork in the track and we took the right one which took us over the end and round the back of An Teallach with magnificent views of the glens and mountains all round us and before long got to Shenavall bothy. Did I mention it rained?

It took two hours to cross the river, which was in spate, but I didn't waste my time, I had a few casts and caught the first brown trout of the trip, all of 2inches. Once across we started up the next climb, a long slow trudge. We camped at Loch Beinn Dearg, knackered after a ten hour walk in. It was still raining.

Loch Beinn Dearg

Day two. May 18

After a night of howling gales and torrential rain the tents were still up and dry inside. We decided to fish Loch Beinn Dearg, as it was closest. We started to fish down the loch from the tents, but, as the wind was blowing in our faces we decided to walk down and fish back up. All the time we were fishing we never saw a fish rise. Eventually I rose and lost one, on the iron blue dun, after it jumped a few times. George finally landed one on a floating hill loch nymph. Both were 6oz bars of silver. It was very hard fishing. Did I mention the strong winds and rain? Temp 10ºC.

Day three. May 19

As if we hadn't done enough climbing we headed up to Lochan Feith Mhic'-illean. There is a good walker's path all the way, and after the first bit it is reasonably flat.

Lochan Feith Mhic'-illean

This loch is actually three lochs strung in a line East to West. We fished the western loch right down at the west end and worked our way round the north shore. The casting is quite easy as the hills are well back from the shore and there are some nice sandy beaches. I fished my usual three flies on a floating line, an intermediate braided leader, and Maxima Chameleon, three fly cast. I rose two, and lost one. George caught two, 8oz and 1¼lbs.

We then moved up to the middle loch. This looked better. There were fish rising here. I fished where the burn between the two lochs runs out, and worked my way round this shore to the reeds. I missed five on all three flies. I watched one head and tail to the floating nymph. George lost one.

It was still windy and raining but beginning to clear. Temp 8ºC.

George and brown trout

Day four. May 20

It was sunny with showers this morning, and the wind was lighter.

We climbed back up to fish the middle loch of Mhic'-illean today. We started at the West end and round the South shore to the reeds. The fish were in a good mood today and were rising now and again just to let us know they were still there. George was soon into a fish and I went to watch as he brought it in, or at least he tried to. The fish wasn't having any of it and it took him quite a while to bring it in and release it. It was a nice fish of around a pound. I worked my way round fishing behind him but he was soon off into the distance following more rising fish. I picked up a few fish on the way. I even caught one in the middle of a heavy hail shower, it head and tailed right over the dry fly.

The sun was beginning to drop below the surrounding hills as we reached the far end of the loch. At night the fish were rising all over the loch in a flat calm, but we still managed a few. George found that some of them were taking at the extreme range of his cast and others were taking the wet flies as if they were dries, splashing and head and tailing to them. By that time George had returned seven fish ½lb - 1½lbs, and I had six fish ½lb - 1¼lbs. My fish were caught on floating nymph, dry fly, iron blue dun, hill loch nymph and George even had one on a carrot fly. These fish fought way above their weight giving a good fight even on our ten foot rods. The only naturals we saw of note were some olive spinners. Temp 6ºC.

Loch Beinn Dearg

Day five. May 21

It was bright sun all day today although there was a cold west wind, and it didn't start raining till we went to bed.

Having decided to have another rest day today we fished Loch Beinn Dearg again. We fished all round the loch this time but saw nothing move all day. Finally I caught one at ½lb, it head and tailed to the dry fly then took the hill loch nymph. George rose and missed one, and that was it. Looks to me as if this is a late loch as the other lochs are fishing well. Temp 10ºC.

Day six. May 22

Lochan Cnapach

We went up the hill again today but this time we fished Lochan Cnapach. This small loch is in the hills to the North of Mhic'-illean, an easy climb for a change. When we arrived we dropped the rucksacks and I started fishing in the first bay, George deciding to fish farther round. There was nothing moving but then I noticed one or two fish just breaking the surface. I covered them and after missing one or two managed to get one.

We fished right round the loch. I missed three caught two, 6oz and ½lb, on the west side. George missed three, caught one 4oz. We saw fish but didn't catch any on the East side. Dry fly, suspender nymph, hill loch nymph and iron blue dun were my successful flies.

We moved down to Lochan Mhic'-illean and had lunch. We fished the West end again but this time we fished round the South shore. I caught and returned two at ½lb, George caught one of 1lb. At the end of the loch we moved up to the middle loch. The fish were still obliging enough by still rising. I missed one, and George caught one at 1¼lbs. By the time we had to leave I had missed a few and returned two at ½lb and George had missed a half dozen more.

It was sunny all day but the temperature dropped to 2ºC during the night. Temp. 10ºC.

Gleann na Muice Beg

Day seven. May 23

Pack up time. The walk out was a lot easier than the walk in, we managed to do it in just over six hours, and it didn't rain.

The trip was certainly worth it. The fish were well mended after the winter and fought way above their weight. The walk in was hard with the heavy rucksacks, mine was 20kilo, but once there the scenery was breathtaking. I would certainly go back, I don't know about George though (these young ones have no staying power)