I think that it will be about two years ago that Hans, a fish friend, said to me: “You know, there is a loch with the name Loch Ruard”. I did not know. The loch lies in Caithness. Between my other English books stood the book of Bruce Sandison: Rivers and Lochs of Scotland and there it was on page 106.
“Remote and lovely. An outstanding place to fish. The walk is an easy thirty minutes.”
Once I shall fish in that loch. Last week I was there with my eldest son. We did make a trip from my house in Alkmaar in the Netherlands, with the boat to Newcastle and then 625 km through Scotland to the caravan that we had hired in Watten in the middle of Caithness. On Sunday we fished Loch Toftingall, on Monday we fished Loch Marle and Loch Sarclet. On Tuesday we fished in Loch Cherigal and Loch Meadie. We could buy the permits at mister P. Sinclair at the Strathmore Lodge Westerdale. It was a walk of about half an hour to Cherigal and again half an hour to Meady. There was no track so we must find our own way trough the bog. There was also a little bit of rain in the morning.
Wednesday was the day. It was raining the whole day till 4 pm. On Tuesday I had a phone call with mister Ian Black the keeper of Loch Ruard. We should met at the border of the Loch. On our way we passed two lovely little rivers or burns. We also saw two deer, standing in the heather, looking at us. Five minutes later two (famous) Grouse flied up from the ground. We walked in our rain suites, in my backpack was the splitcane Rod, specially made for me by Joost Stolk. A wonderful Rod, 7 foot splitcane for an #5. The easy thirty minutes was a hard walk of an hour. We tackled up at the loch side and I had a Claret Hopper and a Black Pennel on my leader. First cast, first trout a little one. It took the Hopper. Later I changed the BP for a Zulu. At about twelve o’clock we met Mister Ian Black at the fish cottage. He said that he would leave the door open when he went. So we can eat our bread dry, because it was raining, sometimes hard and also sometimes a drizzle.
I caught a total of 17 trout, most of them about 20 cm ( 8 inches) but also a few of about 30 cm ( 12 inches). The take the fly with bright and spirit as Bruce would say. Most came to the Claret Hopper but a few took the Zulu.
At five o’clock we call it a day and went back to the car. My son has to put on his chest waders because one of the burns was full of water. It was a beautiful day despite of the rain.
Next day we went to the Pulteney distillery, where we learnt a lot of Whiskey.
The last day we fished Loch Watten from a boat. It was a bright day and we managed to rise a few fish. The last drift but one we caught each a trout of about 40 cm ( 16 inch) and they were beauties.
We had a lovely time in Caithness and we thank Lesley Crawford for here advises in her Book: Fishing for wild Trout in Scottish Lochs.