Sunday, 27 October 2013

Club AGM!

Photo 01 - Willow bundles ripped out at Riskinhope!

Club AGM!

We have set a date of November the 13th for our club AGM. The meeting will be held at the Tibbie Shiels Inn commencing at 19.00hrs. Any member having items for the Agenda should forward them to me by the 3rd of November for inclusion. It is regrettable that we had to postpone the AGM but the East European problem demanded our exclusive attention!

Poaching update!

The last few weeks have been relatively quiet on the poaching front. It may be that the fish thieves have moved to pastures new or even better turned their illegal activities into something legal and beneficial to society. Of course we cannot be complacent but the relative calm is reassuring!

                                      Photo 02 - The fence at Riskinhope in a sorry state!
Not the expected outcome!
Photo 01 shows the devastation that took place at the top of Riskinhope with regard to our bank stabilisation works! On the advice of the Wild Trout Trust we bedded in willow bundles with iron stakes to try and stop the erosion that was taking place. We assume the damage was caused by high water flows and clearly this method is not robust enough for the violent flows experienced at this right angle corner and something more heavy duty is required! This method continues to work well at Kirkstead bu is clearly unsuitable for this particular area at Riskinhope. The state of the fencing work continues to deteriorate in no way attributable to the installing contractor!

Had we the resources we would implement a more industrial method using a hydraulic pile driver and larch logs but we have not the resources to tackle the problem this way. We will contact the forestry people controlling Bowerhope and see if we can source some logs to allow us to implement a medium duty structure using heavy metal rods and quarter inch fence wire to try and erect a more resilient structure!

Some of the metal poles remain in place but in three instances the finer gauge fence wire simply snapped unable to resist the pressure caused by the flow of water. The poles will need to be secured more robustly probably requiring insertion at an angle under the bank wiring in the individual logs stapling the wire onto them and using heavy duty restraining pegs on the sides of the banks. If this method fails however we will have to concede defeat as the only option after this is mega industrial stabilisation and we have neither the tools or resources to implement this!

Tree planting!

We have three hundred trees to plant and we have marked the 9th of November as the date for carrying out this work. We will have a small number to plant on the banks of Riskinhope with another load at the Graveyard swim. I will see Jim Mitchell of Henderland to seek his views an planting the remainder along the banks of the Megget. It may be that the high water flows encountered here would make this task a waste of time! If you can help out give me a shout!

Oh yes, they are there!

A return received from Jim Trainer (The Rangers Publicity guru?) today having fished the loch yesterday states that he and his mate had 4 small Perch and two Brown Trout of 1.5lbs and 3lbs which they were at pains to point out were returned immediately unharmed! Similarly Les Henderson fishing at the boathouse managed a 3lbs Pike in the morning and an 8lbs one in the afternoon! Right thinking anglers reaping the rewards our wild loch has to offer, just great!

Harvest time!

One of the pleasures of being an angler is that you have maximum exposure to all that Mother Nature offers especially in the autumn when she offers her fruits for harvest. Fruits, nuts, berries and fungi are usually present in great abundance allowing us to savour the delights she offers. St Mary’s loch is well known to fungi hunters as a store of great fungi in particular the Chanterelle’s, the Bolete’s and some other more rare varieties!

I have most years been able to gather a modest selection to taste what a real “mushroom” should taste like but this year the larder appears to be bare. Yes on several foraging hunts I came up with one small Bolete and a couple of Puffballs!  The explanation for the lack of fungi is simply overharvesting! On many occasions I have noted groups of foragers diligently hunting down these fungi, the very best that Mother Nature has to offer! Indeed if your only experience of fungi is the insipid plastic supermarket mushroom then you do not know what real mushrooms taste like!

It is clear that the influx of East Europeans has had a detrimental effect on the stocks of these gastronomic delights in the UK! The problem may or may not be the harvest of specimens for commercial gain as compared to the plastic variety these gems command an attractive price among those who know their monetary value. It may also be that the sheer numbers foraging are depleting stocks rapidly. Picking on a commercial basis however must be frowned upon as the area cannot support such activity! Of course determining whether or not someone is picking on a commercial basis is nigh on impossible! Foragers should simply pick enough for their own needs and try not to rape the area. Noted on the BBC’s Countryfile last week the problem is countrywide and it appears other than personal restraint there is no effective solution to the problem of overharvesting. A few projects are underway to restrict foragers from certain areas to allow for replenishment of species we shall just have to wait and see what happens over the next few years!

Photo 03 - Another straining post at Riskinhope about to be unearthed!
The wider world in my view!

Bungling aplenty!
It’s been a pretty poor couple of weeks for the inept Con-Dems with bungling aplenty! The ridiculous “immigration van” has now rightly died a death! Lambasted by all who believe in fairness and equity this childish stunt did nothing whatsoever to resolve the perceived problem and embarrassed us on the world stage. Butcher Thatcher would be Theresa May had to partake of a sizeable portion of humble pie this week as she announced the farce was to cease forthwith!

Similarly Lord Snooty he that does not know the price of a pint of milk was forced to cobble together inane policy on the ever building problem of energy prices as yet more of the companies impose huge rises on the public at a time of maximum usage! Yes Snooty who originally advocated switching suppliers which only leads to a change in the name at the top of the bill is now frantically pontificating about ditching some of the “green” taxes to try and bring prices down for “hardworking families”! Expect many more words of wisdom from this windbag but crucially no meaningful action whatsoever!

The “bedroom” tax has now been unequivocally exposed as yet another failed policy as it continues to punish the poor and disabled and bring in paltry amounts of revenue! Cash strapped councils are finding more and more people drifting into rent arrears passing the brunt of the financial pain on to local councils! Dithering Ian Duncan-Smith was forced this week to announce the delay in the introduction of the universal credit system, another lame duck policy being made up as they go along. Yes the policy has more holes in it than your average tea strainer and yet again it is the poor and needy that will suffer for their bungling!

Working on behalf of “hardworking families” the incompetent Con-Dems plan to introduce a £200.00 levy on foreign tourists to prevent NHS losses to NHS tourism! You just couldn’t make it up! This has got to be the best travel insurance on the planet! Expect a huge rush in those who seek to benefit from health tourism at this bargain basement price.

Prepare for a huge amount of bungling on the high speed rail project as agency after agency comes out and ridicules the amateurish proposals vastly under costed and ill thought out as is usual for Con-Dem policies! The actual cost is expected to be underestimated by a factor of three and will effectively choke off the north of England and Scotland!  Couple this with the information coming out that the Royal Mail was valued at 3 times the price that the buffoons sold it off at and that it is predicted that the one pound first class stamp will become a reality next year! Alas this is only the tip of the iceberg as far as blunders are concerned, the posh boys mission of rewarding the rich and punishing the poor continues!

Free schools!

These schools are now firmly under the media spotlight following the exposure of a Muslim school that was operating at a devastatingly low level giving no benefit to their pupils whatsoever! Did you ever hear of such nonsense as allowing unqualified people to pose as teachers? Our expose on unqualified fishing guides and casting instructors highlighted the reasons why qualifications are essential! What further compounds this situation however and raises it to a higher level is that the very education of children is at stake!

Imagine an unqualified headmaster appointing a load of unqualified teachers, you would not end up with a school, simply a building housing unqualified people trying to teach children god knows what! Teaching as all teachers know does not comprise simply of having knowledge of the subject being taught. It must comprise of a knowledge of how to teach, of how to control a group of sometimes boisterous pupils with diverse needs, of being able to encourage stragglers and encourage those with obvious promise as well as all the health and safety and personal health issues! Simply put teachers have been educated to understand and implement the teaching process!

Recognised qualifications lend a deal of reassurance to parents that their children are being taught by people who not only have advanced knowledge of the subject being taught but know how to impart that knowledge to their children! There is no benefit whatsoever in allowing unqualified people to try and teach! Over the last hundred years moves have been implemented to seek regulation in all the trades and professions which are as it should be! Qualification allows the end user to single out the wheat from the chaff, to take the first step in securing the best service possible! There is no argument for reverting back to allowing any Tom, Dick or Harry to carry out any job they think they can do. Only dimwits like Michael Gove and Lord Snooty support that view and perhaps that sums up the situation nicely!

The Grangemouth carry on!

This dispute gave us some worrying glimpses of what industrial relations were like in the beginnings of the twentieth century. Here in Jim Ratcliffe we have a man who has exploited from his employees millions of pounds to give himself the lifestyle of an Arab sheikh! There was no negotiation, no sense of teamwork, no sense of fairness, only in true capitalist style holding to ransom the jobs of thousands, the very life of the Grangemouth community and even pushing weak government into a position of guaranteeing loans for the plants survival!

This is capitalism at its best with those at the top amassing huge wealth and power whilst those at the bottom merely earning a living! This is not an equitable way of conducting business! The UNITE union were guilty of only following the wishes of its members firstly in calling for rejection of the companies ultimatum then after consultation with the workforce agreeing to concede to their demand! There is no place in modern industrial relations for bully boy greed ridden dinosaurs like Jim Ratcliffe who cannot see past his own bank statement and that of his shareholders! If ever there was an example of the failure of capitalism then this is it!

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