Replace your divots

Contributed by Donald Walker (copyright)

My creel this week reveals a story from 1992. This was before I came to live in Cumbria, and that year my wife and I decided to take our holiday in Scotland, with my very good friend Geoff and his wife. This was to be a golf/ fishing holiday on the coast of the Firth of Moray, at a little fishing village called Portnockie. It's a serious long way to this place I can tell you, well it was from Bradford anyway! A little white painted cottage overlooking the harbour. It may have been old, but it had all the mod cons, even somewhere to park the car.

I bought a weeks fishing on the River Cullen nearby, and tried to catch fish for a day or two, interspersed with daily rounds of golf. Idyllic you say? Well it would have been if I'd been catching any fish. The golf was okay, I was doing a par 4 in 8 strokes, not bad perhaps, for a non-player. (Beginners luck). The fishing was another story. I did catch the odd small trout but when you are fishing in good rivers, you expect to catch big fish. They were there, I saw them, but I just couldn't get one.

Back on the golf course, which was a mixture of sand dunes and cliff top, I recall a problem at one of the holes. It was at No9 hole, one of the cliff top ones. The tee was on the edge of a ravine, and you had to hit the ball right across to the green on the other side, so there was no fairway. My first attempt saw the ball go down into the ravine, impossible to retrieve. Right I thought, this needs a bit of wallop to get it across. I placed another ball and addressed it with great determination, and as I made the stroke, I struck the grass six inches behind the ball and dug out a huge divot, which with my ball went down into the ravine. Whoops! I'd just read a notice saying, "Replace your divots" There was no way I could do that, so sorry! to the golfers reading this, we just had to leg it.

One day, later that week, I was on the beach digging for bait for a spot of sea fishing. It was raining. My friend Geoff was holding a large umbrella over me. However, he decided to go back to his car about half a mile away, and on the way he had to cross a shallow river, which ran over the beach. From there I could hear him calling and he was waving me to come to him. As I approached I could see he was excited and pointing into the umbrella, which was upside down. I could see something in there; it was a large fish, a sea trout. Haven't I been trying to catch one all week, and my friend simply scoops one right off the beach with his brolly. Well I knocked it on the head and went back to my digging. Half way back my friend was shouting and waving again, I thought oh no he has never got another, but he had, it was even bigger than the first one. Well I knocked this one on the head, and I suggested that we legged it, as I wasn't sure about the legality of it all. Later we cooked the fish; jolly good eating it was too.

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