Sunday, 18 May 2014

A Frog that....

Photo 01 - swimming deer halfway across the loch.
A frog that....

An event in late afternoon yesterday brought the following old Chinese proverb to mind – “A frog that comes up from a deep well will be surprised by many things”! The meaning being, that when in unfamiliar territory you will encounter many new experiences.

Yesterday me Les Henderson,  Mike Christie and Les Robson were having the usual post mortem discussion covering a myriad of topics when Les Henderson pointed out a pair of Deer coming to the loch side about 100 metres upwind of us and I thought they were about to quench their thirst.

They were both Bucks and the first one carefully stepped into the water waited a few seconds then pushed off into the loch and proceeded to swim. At first I thought it to be a spell of recreation but the buck continued into the body of the loch and it became clear that he was intent on crossing the loch. The second one had become aware of our presence and decided not to cross at this time.

Photo 02 - There were 9 ducklings now only eight.
It was absolutely thrilling to watch the deer effortlessly make very good progress across the loch, they are extremely competent swimmers! In no time the swimming deer exited the lock and with a vigorous shake to remove water from his coat and toddled off up the bank. I have seen deer browsing and drinking on the loch but seeing a deer swim the half mile across the loch was a first for me. An absolute joy to see one of the secrets of nature, just one of the many pleasures afforded to real anglers, a spectacle to behold absolutely priceless!


Some deer facts you may not know – they can run at 30mph, 40mph in short bursts. A running deer can clear an 8ft fence with ease. A deer if forced to do so can swim over 2 miles to escape a predator. A kick from a deer can knock you out or cause severe abdominal trauma depending on where it kicks you. Respect!

Oh and if you are unlucky enough to hit one whilst driving the car they can cause thousands of pounds worth of damage a fact to which I can attest!

Photo 03 - Welsh Poppies
Our update on fishing guides and casting instructors!

Our first advisory page was very well received with over 1500 views in a very short time. More importantly it brought about some significant changes that will benefit all anglers who would wish to use the services of these people. We currently have proposals in hand to bring this less than satisfactory situation to an end by means of a submission to Marine Scotland through the Scottish parliamentary system.

The situation in this country continues to be an embarrassment to anglers in that currently one may operate as a fishing guide or casting instructor without having any public liability insurance, any formal qualifications, any vetting by Disclosure Scotland and any emergency first aid qualifications! As evidenced by comments received from our initial advisory page there will not be many who see the above as a satisfactory situation. If an angler comes seeking a day with one of these people and pays out nearly two hundred pounds for the “privilege” it is surely not too much to ask that if he were to suffer a cardiac arrest his guide or instructor would have some idea of actions that could potentially save his life! Booking a fishing guide should be akin to hiring say an electrician where any person with an ounce of savvy would immediately opt for one that is fully qualified and registered with an overseeing body.

Our advice if you come upon an instructor or fishing guide web site that lists no qualifications is quite simply to go and look elsewhere! No if or buts, an angler paying good money should expect a comprehensive and robust experience currently there are no regulations in place to ensure this happens! The minimum qualifications one should look for are

(1) APGAI it is very easy to check successful qualification for this award just go to the list of those who have qualified for the APGAI award if they are not listed they are not qualified! 

(2) An emergency care qualification provided by a number of agencies. You should look for a certificate that assesses competence in common medical emergencies and you should also check when the last refresher course was attended. You should expect attendance at refresher courses on a yearly basis.

(3) A certificate that certifies that the person you are dealing with is of sound past character. Full disclosure from Disclosure Scotland would be a good example of validating character.

(4) Evidence of the person holding public liability insurance should be insisted on.

Do not be afraid to write to these people and ask for the above assurances after all you are paying them! We currently do not allow any of these people to operate commercially on our lochs, it is likely that this will remain the case until regulation of these people becomes mandatory under statute!

Photo 04 - Wood Anemone
Remember that it is possible for you to have a day with a guide and catch only a few Salmon parr, but that’s just fishing albeit an expensive days fishing! As we stated on our initial advisory page local knowledge is a prime factor and if you can establish contact with a local club secretary you will gain some excellent advice free of charge and you may find this a better option.

The bottom line is this – if a guide or instructor has not the enthusiasm, will or professionalism to obtain relevant qualifications then booking such a person could cost you dearly! If for instance your day turns out to be wholly unsatisfactory then if the guide is a member of APGAI/GAIC then you have a body to which you may seek redress. If of course your guide has no allegiance to an organisation your chances of redress are poor indeed! As with all commercial transactions if you feel you have not had value for money you should insist on a refund or another day at no charge!

It reflects very poorly on Marine Scotland (the overseeing body) that they have not thought to this point in time to seek statutory regulation for these people. Similarly Visit Scotland who encourage people to come to Scotland seem content to tolerate visiting anglers to be subjected to potentially poor service with no regulation. In most other developed nations statutory regulation is mandatory as it should be!

When this situation comes about and believe me it will, anglers will have confidence in that whoever they choose is qualified to a minimum standard giving you peace of mind. Until this day however the onus is on you the hiring angler to ensure that the person you intend hiring has the relevant qualifications for your peace of mind and enjoyment of the day.

Extract modified and taken from our submission to the Scottish Parliament.


The wider world in my view!

The Pfizer carry on!

I must admit feeling a little depressed on hearing Lord Snooty pontificating on how his government is open to foreign investment. Learning nothing from the Kraft/Cadbury takeover he seems determined to allow this takeover to take place. But then what could you expect from a bunch of posh boy clowns?

Pfizer has no interest in securing long term employment or maintaining the research laboratories. A company spawned by the actions of right wing capitalists their only interest is maximising profit at any cost! Yes the more appealing aspect of this takeover bid is the wish by Pfizer to pay less tax than they currently do in the United States.

Obviously the Pfizer portfolio is diminishing the golden cheques coming in from the development and marketing of Viagra which is now open for other pharma to produce generically. Taking over Astra Zeneca gives them a host of new developments from which to produce the next wonder drug and significantly reduces its competitors. No pharmaceutical company comes with a moral and social conscience built in, profit whatever the price is their only god!

The bunging fools that are the Con – Dems need to wake up quickly and stop this takeover which will only leave this country poorer as production and research is gradually moved back to the United States. All it would take and it is a real possibility that the tax rate in the USA is lowered to compete with other countries. One politician said that any guarantee from Pfizer is not worth the paper it is written on and he is perfectly correct!

There could be a catastrophic loss of jobs as well as the loss of research establishments and employment given to sub contractors. The risks in allowing this takeover to proceed are just too great. Astra Zeneca appears to be a successful company more than capable of developing their own future. Far better to allow them to go forward on this footing than put their fate in the hands of a serial closer of companies, surely even Lord Snooty can see this!

European elections

This is a nerve ridden time for all politicians particularly for the Tories and the Lib – Dem puppets as they await crushing losses. The competition is between Labour and UKIP. It’s as if the almighty is taking retribution for past wrongs, the Tories delaying the recovery for years by strangling growth and the puppets leaving a trail of lies and deceit! Yes it’s just what they deserve; none of them have served this country well with persistent bungling and downright deceit being their bywords! A number of Lib – Dems are calling for puppet Cleggs head after what is likely to be a total wipe-out for the puppets! Roll on Thursday!

A very poor society!

Yes reported this week that the 1,000 richest people in the UK have increased their wealth by a staggering £69 Billion! Yes when the lower earning parts of society scratch around trying to feed their families by making use of charity and foodbanks the rich coin it in! This is the society the Con-Dems are creating sounds to me like a very poor society!

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