Sunday, 23 February 2014

The swims of St Mary’s part 3




The swims of St Mary’s part 3

This week Archangel gives us the lowdown on a further four swims on St Mary’s based on his personal experience.

The Bay of Plenty.

Situated on the far side of the loch this sheltered bay does sometimes live up to its name but don’t be fooled into thinking that this is a fish guaranteed spot because it’s not. As Lucifer says for that you need to abandon the true principles of fishing and live in your own wee world trading photos of soft engineered pike. This area is also home to summer perch and trout which is always n added bonus.

This area is not overly deep for normal casting distances with 20ft being the norm ideal for foraging pike. Towards the regulator there are a few sngs thanks to some big boulders but straight out or towards the top of the loch you shouldn’t experience any problems. Using three rods I like to place one straight out as far as I can and one about thirty yards out again just to the right and the third about thirty yards out towards the top of the loch.

I’ve had a few pike here the best being a 20lbs 2oz winter pike but more in the 6-10lbs region which seems the norm here. This is one of the few areas on the loch where I have had success spinning with various lures the best by far being an ABU Droppen the mepps type spinner with the rubber fish behind. I’ve managed fish to 9lbs with this lure and it is always my first choice on my rare spinning excursions.

Verdict – Nice sheltered area with possibilities for those who enjoy lure fishing – Nice.

Marina Weed Bed.

A very under fished area, possibly caused by boat activity in the summer months and the walk required to get there. I have tremendous success with summer perch here using Mepps of varying sizes. What I found was that on casting beyond the weed bed the lure was invariably attacked before it disappeared into the weed. The size range was from a few ounces to around 1.5lbs which is a fine wild perch. Trout anglers also cover this area as there is an abundance of food nestled among the weeds.

Towards the marina the bottom becomes sandy whilst towards the regulator there appear rocky outcrops of peaking stone which does snag a few lines. The depth straight out is from 10 – 50 feet rapidly deepening the more one moves to the regulator end. I always like to start about 15 yards from the last boat mooring point and am always prepared to exert maximum pressure to steer any fish away from these points because if you allow a pike to travel round the securing ropes then you have lost it without a doubt

I’ve had fish to twelve pounds here and on occasion have managed three or four pike which on St Mary’s is a rare feat indeed. I like to set a couple of baits just beyond the weed bed and the rest just before. Ledgering with a running line is the method I use most here and having had success with this method I do not see the need to change.

Verdict – Very nice and productive area – Recommended. 

The Sunken Hide.

Very easily accessible from the roadside it is just a few steps down some well worn paths to reach the lochside. Ranging from 10 – 40 ft deep for casting distances the loch deepens significantly the more one moves towards Summerhope point. Many weeded areas in this part of the loch means prey fish feed and shelter here and that being the case pike will also be present looking for a meal.

I have had some very nice fish from this spot mainly from about thirty yards out from the bank the best being 22lbs 11oz with many doubles as well. Occasional wading will be required if the level of the loch is up but generally casting out is no problem. Towards the boathouse the loch gets shallower with increasing rocky outcrops whilst towards Summerhope the bottom is much more forgiving. Unfortunately this is one of the areas populated by Muppets due to its ease of access, in the summer the soft grassy banks and sun grabbing location make it a favourite and with that goes increasing amounts of litter.

Verdict – A good area with occasional good catches.


The first Lay by.

Situated at the bottom of the loch the first thing you will see is a massive boulder in the middle of the swim. The area consists of a rocky area towards the bottom of the loch and unfortunately a rocky area towards the top end of the loch. Nevertheless the area is one that produces fish and judicious choice of tackle is important here. My preferred set up for here is to employ a ledger float to keep the line above the bottom and a pop up to keep the bait clear of the bottom.

The depths are from 5 -45 ft increasing rapidly over 25 yards out from the shore line. The swell here can be great during heavy weather and is probably best avoided. Many doubles from here but the twenties have eluded me thus far at this location.

Verdict – On its day a good productive area.


This week we will have representatives at the Tweed Trout and Grayling Initiative and the update meeting of the Flood Protection Scheme with regard to St Mary’s Loch.

The wider world in my view!

How fortunate we are!
What a fortunate group of people we are having the posh boys and puppets shape our future society! Yes if you listen in as they spout their dogma working for hardworking families, getting on top of borrowing and giving poor and disadvantaged parts of society the chance of a better life! The rhetoric sounds good, a government creating the foundations of a land of milk and honey!
Of course if you have been taken in by this tosh then you are indeed deluded! The diddys that are the Con - Dems seek only to perpetuate inequality keeping the poor and needy where they belong in the gutter or workhouse. Borrowing is up by 100 BILLION pounds though many will not be aware of this it is by use of manipulation of statistics that this point is avoided. they are trying to fool  people into thinking the economy is safe with them and by their efforts so far they clearly are not! When asked about what they have done they invariably reply that things are getting better but much more needs to be done!
Similarly look beyond the smokescreen where the poor and disadvantaged are supposedly cleansed of fecklessness  and sitting with the blinds down when the hardworking families set off to work. The use of food banks especially in Scotland rockets through the roof, the biggest one in Glasgow has actually run out of food so great is the demand! many sick and disabled forced to live as paupers due to a mistake in filling out a form! frankly no one should expect any different when a bunch of out of touch posh boys aided by lying puppets are allowed to run the country!
It's a shameful state of affairs as the poor are squeezed relentlessly whilst the peers of the posh boys revel in luxury! Even mild mannered clerics are speaking out about the brutal way the poor are being oppressed, and now in a low key statement the Posh boys and puppets are going to look at ways of helping the disadvantaged! A statement that shouts from the roof tops we got it wrong - again, competent only in bungling! Scotland has already judged these charlatans and found them wanting! Its now time for middle England to wake up and see the true picture!

Travel courtesy of a Pike rod!

The van was becoming a trifle difficult to start in the morning after sitting all night and thinking I needed to do something about it diagnosed dying glow plugs. I nipped down to the local motor factors and furnished him with the details he asked for and in exchange for forty quid he gave me 4 shiny NGK glow plugs. I dutifully headed off and gathered the tools I would need for the job.

It was a bigger task than I had envisaged with the manifold and associated trickery, air cleaner housing, and half the cooling pipes all having to be removed to access the plugs! Getting to the plugs, always on my mind were stories of snapped plugs leading to cylinder head removal and then sent to an engineer to machine out the snapped plug leading to a bill of 5 or 6 hundred pounds! The first one budged a few mill with that all too familiar dry screech which signified a problem that it was not going to be easy to wrench her from her long time home. I smothered the plug with penetrating oil and paraffin and moved on to number 2. Just like a spark plug she came out no problem, things were looking better.

Numbers 3 & 4 came out easily enough and my wallet breathed a sigh of relief, problem with these though were that although completely unscrewed they would not come out! Fingers then mole grips would not coax them out! My theory was that a film of carbon had built up stopping them from being removed completely. So plan B was put into operation with a shed door being tied to the inside of the bonnet. I then turned the engine over and 220psi soon ejected the offender’s one firing into the shed door and the other ricocheting off the door and landing god knows where!

Three out one to go, I dried off the soaked plug and got the blowlamp on to the job, ten minutes later the socket went on and again another screech and a few millimetres bringing much perspiration to my by now much furrowed brow!  Experiencing record weight loss as sweat gushed forth in the following ten minutes the bugger finally gave up and came out.

However in a final act of defiance she refused to exit where she had been since being assembled and again I had to forcibly eject her with compressed air and she soared into the air landing I know not where, but probably in a place where she will revert back to Iron Oxide and be reclaimed by mother earth!

Six hours later but I was on course to complete the job by sundown (actually there was no sun just rain!). I got the new plugs out and tried to screw them in but it rapidly became apparent these were not the correct fitment as they were 2cm short and 12mm in diameter as opposed to 10mm which was the correct size. 

When i phoned the factors they said sorry mate it seems there are two possible plugs for your engine and our van driver has finished for the day so that ruled out completion by the end of the day. On the way home I exchanged the wrong parts for the correct ones with a view to fitting them first thing. In no time night turned into the next day. The new plugs went in no problem and all the stuff that had to be removed now had to go back. For whatever the reason the manifold would not go back to where it should irrespective of logic, guile or violence and steam was exiting my ears with huge velocity as my blood boiled. Eventually I could take no more and exploded and picked up the socket ratchet and attempted to wallop the manifold but I missed and broke the top of the fuel filter housing which is made of a hard plastic not amenable to welding or bonding!

I tried every compound in my armoury to no avail; every attempt showed a noticeable leak allowing the engine to immediately start but flounder as air replaced the diesel! Whilst wafting for the various compounds to cure I managed to get the manifold on without having to resort to a persuader! By this time I was into the last hour of light and an idea came into my head.

A broken section of a Pike rod may contain a sufficient length of suitably sized tubing to insert into the fuel filter housing with an almost interference fit allowing a new section of petrol piping to connect at the other end. I quickly got measuring and cutting and assembled the structure and priming the system with fuel and on turning the key she started first time but more importantly kept going! Halleluiah, to the victor the spoils, the small section of Pike rod had saved the day, I was mobile once again!
Lessons learned? Always be prepared for the unexpected and if you have a short fuse before initiating carnage, step back, have a few draws on an electric fag or whatever is your poison but don’t assault your engine! She is still running and indeed running very well with the Pike rod modification until I can source a new or used part. I never knew that glow plugs did more than help with cold starting, they smooth out engine idling and generally contribute to optimum running of the engine. As always we live and learn!

Sunday, 16 February 2014

The swims of St Mary's part 2

The Swims of St Mary’s Part 2

Image showing this weeks swims.
We continue this week with a look at the various common swims around the loch as experienced by Archangel an experienced angler on the lochs. There are many areas that are not covered by this treatise but the more favoured ones will certainly appear. If you like the looks of an area and it feels “fishy” just go and fish it and find out for yourself!

The Boathouse

This is a well known swim that has given up many twenty plus specimens over the years. I myself have had many excellent fish here over the last ten years. Directly in front of the boathouse there lie significant amounts of rubbish in the form of old tyres and iron ware. It is very easy to get snagged up here and lose tackle so be careful. To the right of the boathouse the bottom is clearer with a soft muddy bottom with some significant weed growth ranging from 10 – 25ft in depth.

In the summer you can see huge banks of weed just protruding the surface and many fish have been caught here. A great place to troll just in front of the bank of weed over the years has seen many good fish caught. The area is usually a good place to try a stick float and some maggots for the perch with some heftier specimens appearing every year. You must keep to the boathouse side of the fence as beyond is Rodono’s garden. Depth is largely as above.

To the left of the boat house (The Selkirk end) lies a good area where many pike have been caught from ten to 70 yards from the bank. The depths here are from 10 – 45ft all depths giving up pike. The bottom is largely soft mud and further out has minimal snags the snags appearing the more one veers towards the boathouse. Large weed banks become apparent as one looks towards the Selkirk end and fish are often found here.

Verdict – a smashing swim when conditions are good, always worth a shot.

The Secret Swim

Although it is called such, everyone who has been around a few years knows where it lies. In the vicinity of a spawning area the area consists of a sandy bottom with the odd outcrop of underlying stone. Getting snagged is more likely the more one casts towards Summerhope casting straight out is unlikely to lead to getting stuck. We are talking here of depths ranging from 5 – 50ft with the latter being encountered on distance casts over 60yds. Many good fish have been captured here with some crackers in winter. Straight ledgering is all that is required even in summer. Various wedded areas out in front and trout anglers often catch here as well. Casting from some points on the bank can be difficult but with some judicious wading there should be no great difficulties.

Verdict – A very good swim that can lead to some big fish, a good winter spot, should always be on your list of venues.

The Village Hall

A large sandy bay ranging from 3 – 25ft in depth for over a hundred yards, this too is a known spawning area. There are long straggly weeds breaking the surface straight out and towards the boathouse end, whilst to the left there is a steep descent into fifty feet of water and deepening quickly the further out you cast. A short distance to the left is the deepest part of the loch at 154ft and you don’t want to be there although I remember it was reported in these pages that a 1.5lbs brown trout was caught in a gill net set for Arctic Charr at 148ft.

Many good fish have been caught in this area and it is a good productive area even in winter Lucifer having caught here twice on successive New Years day. Most anglers limit themselves to thirty to forty yards but the area is flexible enough right out to the max of 150 yds thereafter it rapidly deepens. I have caught a few on the float from this area and it seems amenable to most methods of fishing.

Verdict – Always on my list of venues to fish once you have caught a couple of good ones the attraction is even greater. Give it a go.

The Graveyard

The swim that lies in front of St Mary’s Churchyard where a blocked off tarmac road lies. This is a popular spot for campers due to the large flat area but probably less popular with anglers. There are no hindrances to casting here but the water gets fairly deep not far out from the shore. Depths can range from a few feet to fifty to eighty feet deep twenty yards out.

I have managed a few fish here but none above six pounds and always in less than forty feet of water. Ledger or pop ups seem to be best here. However what always springs to mind is the time when some visiting anglers caught a fish here they thought was close on thirty pounds and as they were able to give the club the tag number of the fish they were able to verify that the fish would have been between 28 and 29lbs using the spawn build up rate. So irrespective of what I think biggies have been caught here.

Verdict – Not a first choice venue for me but what do I know!

Once again a big thank you to Archangel for this most interesting summary of the swims of St Mary’s, look forward to part 3 next week! In answer to a query received about baits, records show that Mackerel is top of the list but not the soft devoid of oil frozen stuff from tackle shops rather the fresh whole supermarket version, it’s far superior!

The wider world in my view!

Of the current goings on!

Firstly the recent by election result brought a warm glow to my cold heart! Labour stepping ahead and showing the way and parasites on the Tories UKIP shoving the Tories down into third place. Perhaps most embarrassingly for Puppet Clegg, the puppets, for the sixth time in six by elections, lose their deposit. A right and proper punishment for a bunch of soon to be extinct lying collaborators!

The Bedroom Tax is now universally condemned as a failed policy, a policy which negates the human element in housing people! A policy which was poorly researched lest they would have found out that there is a desperate shortage of one bedroom houses leading to the very poorest in our society being penalised by 14% or 25% depending on how many “spare” bedrooms they have!

Only a clueless, rigid, equality busting Tory party could have implemented such a policy which unequivocally punishes the very poorest in our society whilst achieving nothing at all in terms of clawing money back into treasury coffers which after all was their primary aim! It was interesting to note that a few reports are now coming out with the conclusion that the inequality divide has dramatically increased under the policies of these idiots, not that most people would need telling, it’s on the news every day under a variety of guises!

Yes with the aid of the spineless puppets they are covertly dismantling the National Health Service allowing their posh boy pals in to cream off the lucrative components leading to a worse service to the users. It is shameful in the extreme! Not content they strip back public bodies such as councils to the extent that now they are asking the public to cut the grass in sports grounds and cemeteries! They are fooling no one, they are intent on removing all the services we hold dear, introducing systems based on payment all with the aid of the nefarious lying puppets!

Minister without a clue posh boy Gideon Osborne ramped up the rhetoric for the anti independence campaign by stating there was no way he would allow Scotland to use the pound! This was backed up by gormless Ed Balls and puppet Alexander! In a completely negative statement they stated that an independent Scotland would have to look elsewhere for a new currency.

However it looks like now the Scottish people are seeing these Westminster idiots for exactly what they are – a bunch of losers, out of ideas and forced to respond in completely negative terms treating Scots with utter derision! Yes Scots are tripping over themselves to put down these upstarts saying if the Scots were to adopt the Italian lira they would still vote for independence and believe me that would be a difficult one! Remember the bully boy from a few weeks back who was laid out cold? Keep that in mind as the story unfolds bullying never works, this will backfire on them, and looks like these buffoons could be the biggest asset yet to Scottish independence, oor Eck must be laughing up his sleeve!  Expect more detractors over the coming weeks but worry not they will make no difference!

In regard to the response to the floods Lord Snooty has yet again found to be wanting! How can you marry the concepts of cutting 97 million pounds of Environmental Agency money making redundant 550 staff directly involved in flood prevention with a speedy tailored and effective response? The response was ill targeted and feeble. In a poll published today 63% of people polled said the response was abysmal! Yes Snooty has now brought in the army and is frantically scuttling around praising the overburdened workers trying to get on top of this mess!

It won’t do, the man who is trying to be all things to all people as usual ends up chasing the game, as he has done for the term of his office. This administration can only see austerity and they cannot even get that right! They have no cognisance of the human element involved in these disasters. The bottom line is that true to form the bungling continues albeit now on an industrial scale. The question needs to be asked, can this country put up any longer with the aimless ideological nonsense relentlessly churned out by these fools! Independence looks ever more like a prudent choice!

The Archbishop of Westminster!

 Archbishop Vincent Nichols has slammed the Con – Dems for the way their welfare “reforms” are punishing the very poorest in society removing the basic safety net. Yes indeed here we have a right thinking cleric without guile who has the balls to speak out on these reprehensible policies. The Con – Dems would have these people begging on the streets for scraps the posh boys care to give! Of course they deny this and say their “reforms” are helping countless poor people. The most worrying aspect is however if lame duck failed Tory leader Iain Duncan Smith ever gets this universal credit sorted out yet more will be pushed into poverty!  . Thank god for good men like the Archbishop!

Of two prince’s!

It was interesting to see prince’s William & Harry “helping out” moving sandbags. Of course the silver spoon in their mouth’s allowed them to do this! Would it not be the case that many of us working class people had been there if our financial situation allowed it? I don’t know if this pair actually has jobs, I do know however that they get huge handouts from our taxes! Let’s have less of these publicity stunts it is gut churning to the oppressed working classes!

Sunday, 9 February 2014

The swims of St Mary's Loch part 1


The swims of St Mary’s Loch part 1

This week we introduce a treatise on the swims of St Mary’s loch as experienced by Archangel who has many years experience in fishing both the lochs. This of course is a personal view but will nevertheless provide helpful information for any anglers unfamiliar with the silent loch.

Over the years I have pretty much fished all over St Mary’s loch, it is a vast expanse of water with areas of greatly fluctuating depths and hence populations of fish. My most useful tool in my armoury is my trusty depth gauge which is attached to the line and cast out to where you intend to cast a bait. I usually make around 3 casts to get a feel of the area surrounding my bait. Incidentally I checked the accuracy of the device from a boat and compared it with a length of weighted rope which we measured with a meter rule. The results were within about 10% of the measured rule, perfectly adequate for my purpose.

Although I have caught Pike in approximately fifty feet of water I generally try and fish in water of less than 40ft in depth. Pike will go much deeper if there is a promise of a meal detected by scent but will not usually forage at this depth. With regard to baits, like Lucifer I favour the fresh supermarket mackerel as opposed to the soft tat available from bait stockists. Like most anglers on the loch I prefer to ledger or fish a pop up that however is not to say that other models of fishing are completely unproductive.

It’s difficult to single out a few swims I rate above others as each swim has its own characteristics and requirements to fish productively. The swims therefore are listed randomly.
Swim map showing Bowerhope swim.
(1) Bowerhope – now this is not the lawn like area in front of the steading but that which is just below the gate to Bowerhope heading to the foot of the loch. A good 3 rod swim, directly out in front is a rugged area but with no huge boulders making getting snagged less likely. To the left is a gently sloping area starting at around 10ft dropping over 25yards to around 70ft. Keeping your bait about 20yds out is a good compromise.

To the right lies a sandy bottomed weed bed with long stalks of weed willowing up almost to the surface in summer. This sandy area extends to the end of the bay and tapers off to around 40ft in depth at around 35 yards out so there is a good area to fish. In summer hold Brown Trout and Perch and as such will attract predators. On this swim the latter mentioned area is my favourite having gifted a few weighty Pike the best being a lovely 14lbs summer specimen.

Verdict – Good spot for summer fishing sport seems slow in winter.


Swim map showing Tibbie Shiels bay.

(2) Tibbie bay – this is another area that I enjoy fishing especially in the winter months. This area is part of the upper basin of the loch and comprises of much sandy weedy areas ranging from 10-50ft in depth. With this depth comes a habitat that is suitable for Pike feeding and spawning. The area also holds Brown Trout and Perch.


With the sandy bottom the area is relatively snag free with only occasional soft snags on weed and it is thought that after February Pike from all over the loch move into this area or the Village Hall area in readiness for spawning. Certainly a long time fisher on the loch John Conway and son Gary never seem to have failed in luring a pike onto his baits invariably first thing in the morning around 08.00hrs in winter.


I also have managed to tempt a few specimens in this area with the best being a 16 pounder. Alastair Moody who has the Tibbie has spent time in this area diving and has retrieved a few bottles and some fishing equipment he has also seen some very large Pike in this area.

Verdict – A good winter spot but don’t overlook it in the summer.


Swim map showing regulator swim.
(3) The Regulator – This is a precarious area for fishing with steep side’s big boulders and deep water. You will not be able to beach a fish in this area unless you are fishing on the shingle bank nearer to the roadside. Some of our older club members say that the Pike not being averse to an easy meal move into this area in September in readiness for migratory fish entering the loch. It does make sense that fish tired from coming through the regulator would make an easy meal for the thinking Pike.


The bottom in this area is not angler friendly with huge boulders everywhere being utilised when building the regulator. You should expect to lose tackle in this area. I have not savoured success in this area although I know of a few 20 plus specimens being caught here. Probably best fished in the autumn where records show most Pike are caught which is possibly evidence for the migratory fish theory above

Verdict – Speculative area I could not recommend or rubbish the area. 


Thanks to Archangel for this analysis of the swims look forward to the next series!                                          

            Part 2 next week.

The wider world in my view!

The enigma of Lord Snooty!

The man with more catchphrases than the bloke who presented the quiz show Catchphrase comes out with even more! Yes Lord Snooty pompously states that he loves the UK and pleads with the population of all constituent countries to urge the Scots to vote no in the upcoming referendum. Yes the man known mostly for the number of U turns he has presided over and joke policies he has implemented now says we will be stronger by voting no on the 18th of September. If the country votes no in the referendum then what we can expect is more austerity targeted towards the poor, more cuts on the underprivileged such as the working poor and pensioners, more joke try it and see policy and more tax cuts and bonuses for the rich bankers. I find it increasingly difficult to marry the concepts of a burgeoning economy and a massive rise in poverty and the use of food banks!

Clearly this deadbeat Con – Dem government has a blinkered view of the state of the country, they can only see what they want to see. They never mention poverty or the increase in the use of food banks probably because they are the cause of such events! On the same track talk on universal credit is very low key probably due to the huge overspend associated with its implementation which is now estimated to come in 3 years late and depressingly over budget due to complete and utter bungling by party clown Iain Duncan Smith!

Along the same lines the Tories were shown just what Scotland thought of the iniquitous bedroom tax when all but the token Tory presence in the Scottish Government voted to bring in extra cash to negate the effects of the cruel bedroom tax! Yes all praise to Salmond & Co for taking this socially correct measure I am sure the people of Scotland will be relieved to see the back of it!

Lord Snooty is quite content to sit on a pedestal in England and spout forth on how wrong it would be to go for independence! He will not take up the challenge of a debate with oor Eck on independence!  Yes as Eck said “he is Feart”! Mark my words Snooty will not debate with Eck because he is on a hiding to nothing  and for that reason he will not commit to this debate!

As the fight intensifies the issues become clearer, the bungling of the Con – Dems continues unabated! Along with the Lying Puppets they continue to punish the poor, alienate us in Europe, embarrass the country on the world stage, relentlessly increase the rich poor divide and promote the status of the rich and privileged in the country!

This is not a government, it is but a collection of random upper class fools who are filling up their days by bungling with the lives of the increasing numbers of poor in the country! Lord Snooty is probably the best ambassador for Scottish independence the Yes campaign have! A country should be viewed by the way it treats the poorest in society, the way this bunch of idiots treat our poorest is utterly abominable! I can’t see too many Scots opting for the status quo!

A puppet or a poor basher?

Yes Prospect magazine following a poll of voters has stated that of the 11 puppet MPs in Scotland only one would be left after the general election and that puppet would be the current Scottish Secretary Alastair Carmichael! Our current MP Puppet Michael Moore would be a casualty! In our constituency the choice is either Puppet Moore or Poor Basher Ballantyne currently a Tory councillor!

Normally I would opt for the Lib – Dems but I cannot bring myself to vote for one who deceived the electorate and subjected the poorer people in this country to a 5 year term of Dickensian punishment! It’s not much of a choice, a backsliding puppet or an elitist poor bashing Tory, normally both would be bypassed in favour of one who seeks to reduce inequality not increase it! With this in mind, I think I will happily opt for the SNP, a much more credible option! Best option though - we are totally independent by then and they can carry out their Bullingdon Club antics to their hearts content, for they will not affect an independent Scotland!
Of the rugby!
An embarrassing performance, Deja Vu comes to mind!

Of the flooding catastrophe!

There is much ducking and diving from Lord Snooty as to who is to blame for the shambolic response to what is a national disaster! The bottom line is that the Environment Agency is not an autonomous body, it operates under governmental direction! Add in the huge loss of resources to the agency brought about by Snooty and hey presto you have a disaster! Yet another screw up to add to the now very heavy millstone around Snooty’s neck!

Sunday, 2 February 2014

The many faces of St Mary’s!

The many faces of St Mary’s!        
 Photo 01 - The only thing different from last week - the snow!                            

St Marys Loch was formed as part of a glacial event in the last ice age many thousands of years ago, it was formed as part of a glacier that occupied the whole of the Yarrow valley, the initial loch was one from well above the top of the Lowes to the bottom of St Marys. It is thought the loch in those early days would have been much longer well above what is now the top of the Lowes and the current bottom. Over thousands of years the burns feeding the loch transported gravel and silt into the loch and gradually the water body was replaced by dry land reducing the size of the loch

In respect of fish population in the 1700s the loch was known to contain Brown Trout and a population of benthic Arctic Charr or Red Belly’s. The Charr in the loch were quite unique in that they lived in the depths and had evolved very large eyes to gather as much light as possible in the depths. Unfortunately following recent investigations carried out by Professor Colin Adams (Glasgow University) and Dr Colin Bean (SNH) the extinction of the species is now confirmed.

Around the 1700s local landowners introduced Pike and Perch as sportfish adding to the lochs population. The introduction of these species would undoubtedly have had a detrimental effect on the resident Charr they being a preferred prey fish of Pike. Although the effect was detrimental it was not this event that lead to the extinction of the Arctic Charr. From social records it was established that locals would every October place blankets on the floor of the channel that joins the now two lochs where Arctic Charr would come every year to spawn. Fish caught would be salted and stored for the winter and it was this fishing activity that finally did for the Charr!

The area of the Tibbie Shiels Inn was also part of the loch that was gradually filled up by debris washed in from the burns feeding that area. The same thing is happening where the Megget water enters the loch. Either side of the Megget area the depths are 110ft and 135ft whilst the depth in front of the Megget is only 85ft.

The collection of wood and hawsers tethering floating barrels opposite the Megget is meant to represent this movement of detritus but in reality it only serves as an engine tangling boat wrecking hazard! The Kirkstead burn at the foot of the loch is also gradually shortening the length of the loch. In thousands of years in the future St Mary’s loch will again be divided in two making three lochs in total! The loch as we know it is gradually disappearing!

Photo 02 - huge swell yet again.
These gravel washings can be seen at the mouths of every burn on the loch, at Summerhope the loch is narrower due to this effect and at the village hall the effects from the washings from the Copper Cleuch can be seen as the shallow areas directly in front of its entrance. In years gone by the loch was markedly different, often in January the loch would assume a yellow colour due to the proliferation of certain organisms since this happened in winter when the loch was at its coolest it could not have been due to algal blooms rather the effects of raw sewage discharges! The loch in some earlier times was a large cesspit with all human waste from the area being fed into the loch, of course this has now ceased.

Populations of migratory fish at one time were almost absent as the outflow was not as it is now, sometimes there being no perceived outflow rather the seeping of water through a huge gravel bank restricting the movement of such fish. Only when the regulator was built did fish have a reasonable chance of moving in and out of the loch although it is far from being ideal. The new arrangements mentioned a few weeks ago should refine the structure to maintain the passage of any fish that wishes to enter or leave the loch.

Yes the loch is one with many faces, as the flora and fauna around the loch constantly changes so do the characteristics of the loch itself St Mary’s loch has shown many faces in the past, many more will be seen in the future!


Memberships are now overdue, if you have not yet renewed then you should do immediately! You should address you application to our membership secretary Mr Robert Simpson 105 Halliburton Place Galashiels TD1 2JG Please do not delay as a cut off will be applied and the new member rates will be applied to all who renew after this point.

The wider world in my view!

Reasons to be cheerful!

With eight months still to go in the independence referendum the last six opinion polls showed significant gains for the pro independence side! The latest one shows support for independence now forging ahead at 40%! What is interesting is the reasons given for the support for independence. The majority of course vote for independence because they want it, but increasing numbers are voting for independence in order to ditch the Con-Dems and their poor bashing policies such as the bed tax!

In England the Tories are in disarray in Scotland they are almost as insignificant as the lying Lib-Dems. Labour in England seem to be directionless and in Scotland seem only to excel at embarrassing the national movement thanks to the inept leadership of Ms Lamont. The Lib-Dems both in Scotland and England are completely irrelevant and a guaranteed wasted vote!

People are now realising that independence is the only way forward. If you goal is more equality, more industry and a fairer socially focussed government then voting for independence is the only way forward!



Poor old Lord Snooty!

Most unusually for me I felt a little for Lord Snooty as he was again publicically humiliated and pummelled into yet another U turn by his backbenchers on the referendum bill! The poor fool was forced to abandon his flagship bill lest he be exposed as a weak fool! The French president left Snooty with no doubt as to where he and his wish to restructure Europe stands! Lord Snooty is but a poor fool, a spineless ninny desperately trying to hold on to power and at the same time appease his UKIP style right wing backbench MPs!

The writing is on the wall for Snooty on so many fronts, more and more financial analysts are seeing just how fragile the “recovery” is, they see consumer spending and a housing bubble providing the most part of the “recovery”! Manufacturing is well down and it is only when this figure is significantly increased can they see a proper recovery built on a sound base! Lord Snooty and minister without a clue Gideon Osborn are hoping that the “recovery” built on a house of cards holds until the next election in 2015!

Lord Snooty is no longer the leader of the Tories; rather it is a band of extreme right wing Tory back benchers that now dictate policy, the Tory party are once again in crisis! Just like in the Major years the self destruct button has been pressed! With such a weak opposition that is presented by Labour the Tories should be miles ahead in the opinion polls yet the average rating is that they are ten points behind! This is a despicable administration that specialises in spin poverty making and outright lying, the people of Britain deserve better; it may be however that unlike the Scots they do not have a choice! After all what is Labour other than a bunch of Tories with some leanings towards fairness and equality! Yes for the English the future looks dire, the choice is the kind of incompetence we currently have or a new incompetence as prescribed by Labour! Let’s get away from this mess, choose independence for Scotland!