Finavon Castle Water Salmon and Sea Trout Fishing on the River South Esk in Scotland

Nine Maidens

Where the current breaks up at the tail of Alder stream, and the old log croy juts out of the North bank, you come into the head of the enigmatically named Nine Maidens. The story goes that during the construction of the Bogardo track opposite the pool, the machine man uncovered 9 huge dressed stones. He was asked to rip them out of the ground, which he refused to do; his innate old Scots countryman’s sense of superstition being rightfully horrified at the suggestion. These stones were then referred to as the Nine Maidens after the Nine daughters of a nearby farmer who met an unfortunate end in the stomach of a giant serpent, according to one version of an extremely variable and confusing tale in ancient local folklore.

The pool benefits from being downstream of quite a steep gradient up into the tail of Pheasantry, and upstream of a section of water which does not have comfortable lies for travelling fish to rest. In big spates or in cold water temperatures salmon are reluctant to make the effort to swim up through the fast, broken current, often preferring to stay in the relative calm of Nine Maidens itself.

The logical way to fish the pool by whichever method is being employed, is to treat it as the tail of Alder Stream above. In low water conditions, the head of the pool, which is of considerable depth and benefiting from good cover both overhead and in the water, is the only part which will fish. In higher water levels, the mid-section and tail of the pool comes into play, and there are some fine lie boulders midstream, as well as useful lies underneath the North bank all the way down the pool. The pool does not really have a definitive end point, as it merely peters out into a shallow gravel flush which lies between Nine Maidens and Beeches, but in a good height of water there is at least 100 yards of fishing to be had from this pool in the heart of Finavon’s woodlands.