Flying over Finavon

"We were all at that time engaged in the prosecution of a war which had gathered us from the corners of the earth. Our particular business was wrapped up in naval aircraft, which we flew to the best of our ability whither our Lords directed. We were at an advantage in our own temporary profession, for an air crew's hours of business are short, while the nature of their calling allows them indulgence in the matter of 'time off'. Thus, if one had flown a few hundred miles by lunch-time, there was often little objection to any well-designed plan which might produce, say, a salmon for supper."

From Terence Horsley's book, 'Fishing for Trout and Salmon' (with illustrations by Lt Colonel A.D. Greenhill-Gardyne, my predecessor as proprietor of FCW). The author was the fishing tenant at Finavon during the Second World War, when, as a Swordfish pilot in the Fleet Air Arm, he was based at HMS Condor outside Arbroath. He had a love affair with the South Esk, which is described in the first bulletin blog on this website. Terence Horsley was killed in a gliding accident in 1948.


Finavon Hill

Finavon Castle Water lies beneath the ancient vitrified fort of Finavon Hill. When I am fishing alone on Castle Beat I often think of the generations of people who have fished the river over the centuries. For the stone-age tribe that lived on the Hill above (see photo) the river must have been a source of valuable protein throughout the year. In the millennium before Christ the river banks at Finavon would have been well forested and the woods full of deer, wild boar and wolves. The area was extremely marshy, and braided channels, some blocked with huge fallen trees and accumulated debris, would have been a very different proposition for fishermen than the river of today. In those times the people would have made fish traps and used nets or spears to capture salmon and sea trout.

When fishing Finavon's pools I often feel the presence of those people from the Hill.

Today, Finavon is just as alluring for people who want to get away from the stress and demands of modern life as it was for the people who lived here two thousand years ago. Anyone experiencing a week fishing the twenty five pools of Finavon Castle Water will have the opportunity to relax in a secluded rural setting, with the prospect of an encounter with salmon and sea trout. People who fish the South Esk tend to return again and again. There is an intimate quality to this medium size river, with its well treed banks, crystal clear riffles and deep pools, which encourages loyalty. Some of our regular visitors have fished here for more than twenty years. They come back because of the setting and the privacy, but also because the South Esk is a river of genuine quality. Sometimes the fishing can be very good, but whether you are lucky to hit a 'purple patch' or not, it is more than likely that you will see plenty of salmon and sea trout showing in the pools.

Whether you are an experienced salmon or trout fisherman I hope you decide to come to Finavon because I can assure you a great welcome and an experience you will savour for many years.

Tony Andrews