Archive for April, 2015

Last Tuesday I came across a red-legged partridge on the way to play squash with Nick Edwards.

I suppose I should point out, for the sake of clarity, that it was me going to play squash with Nick and not the partridge. Having said that, Nick wiped the floor with me, as he does most weeks, and I imagine the partridge would have had about the same success had it decided step in for me.

It is not at all unusual to come across these birds in the kind of open country and scrub that they favour but I was pretty surprised to come across one on the path at the Club del Sol Tennis Club! Continue reading

Things have been pretty busy recently and it has proved difficult to squeeze in a little time on the river. But I did manage a trip last Saturday and again today and am very glad that I did.

We have had a sprinkling of rain recently and the river is just looking just lovely. I had the river to myself on both of my recent visits but for the black winged stilts and little egrets. I noticed I was walking on boar tracks today and can imagine these animals moving through the rushes at dusk and into the night. Continue reading

On Friday after work I took a little trip to Concepción Reservoir to see if there were any black bass knocking around. It had been a busy week and it just seemed to me that a couple of hours floating around a reservoir might well be the perfect antidote for the accumulated stresses of the week. The reservoir sits in what was once the river valley of the Río Verde and the surrounding terrain is very steep-sided. It is a mountain goat country here and it is not unusual to see these animals working their way among the scrub high above. Continue reading

Out with the camera

Pip and I were out walking with the dogs this afternoon and we decided, just for the hell of it, to have a photography competition. The idea was simple enough. Each of us would take as many photos as we like and then whittle them down to a shortlist of 5. Mum would be the judge and score our photos out of 10. Mum´s words are final. Everybody knows that.

The campo is just crazy with flowers at the moment. It is just lovely out there. It seems, in places, as though clouds passed overhead and rained paint – purple clouds, yellow clouds. The verges of the paths are overgrown and heaving with colour. sometimes the dogs, straying off the track would just disappear into the plants as though they had been swallowed by the campo. Continue reading

A sad story

We heard a sad story when we walked the Caminito del Rey. It was told to us by one of the guides and concerns three local young men.

You don´t need me to tell you that young men are full of testosterone and bravado and they get up to crazy stuff from time to time. Sadly, there have been a number of fatalities here which have been reported from time to time in the press. Continue reading

As you may be aware I walked the Caminito del Rey recently with my friend Julio and we were both hugely impressed by the place. The walkway is half way some way up vertical cliff faces and a question that inevitably pops into your mind is this: “why would anyone build a walkway in a place like this?”

It turns out that to understand the walkway you need to think about something about which I was previously unaware – a canal. Extraordinary as it might seem, and it is at least as extraordinary as the Caminito itself, there is a canal which was built through this inhospitable terrain. Continue reading

El Caminito del Rey

On Thursday I had a chance to walk through a stunning gorge along a famous walking path called “El Camino del Rey” or “Caminito del Rey.” The walk is named after King Alfonso XIII who walked this path, or more correctly the “old” Camino del Rey path, almost 100 years ago. It is a quite remarkable experience to complete this walk and I was lucky enough to walk it in the company of a good friend, Julio Rodriguez.

The walk is fascinating for all kinds of reasons. In addition to the jaw-dropping scenery, the history of the walk is fascinating as is the natural history. I am planning to consider the history and natural history in future posts on this blog, together with a sad story we heard from a walking guide. Continue reading

Chance encounter

One of the benefits of living so close to a decent fishing river is that you don´t need to plan a fishing trip long in advance. Sometimes, if you have a bit of time on your hands and nobody has any plans for you, it may be possible to leap in the car and just head out on spec. That´s pretty much the way things panned out yesterday. There was a break in the weather. The grey clouds parted a little and the sun started to break through. I took one look at the sky outside and said “Yeah! why the hell not!”

The river is just beautiful at the moment – cool and clear as a chalk stream. It is also brimming with life. Even so, large stretches of “pristine” water have been vacated by the fish and you may have to do quite a bit of foot work to come across them. I “surveyed” about a kilometre of lovely-looking water in a rather crude way by simply wading upstream pretty noisily watching for the fish that I would spook in the process. In shallow stretches an unseen fish will often give its location away when it bolts. I saw three fish in that section, all in weed cover, and there were some lovely runs which were unoccupied. Continue reading

Hooking Up

One afternoon, on the Mataura river, I spent a half hour or so carefully stalking a rock. Seen through the drifting film of water, it had disguised itself cleverly as a trout and its dark streamlined form faced expectantly into the current. Its broad back suggested it was a good one too. I figured it would go two and half pounds certainly, maybe even three. This is a good trout in any river and quite exceptional in many. In retrospect, it is good that I didn’t know its true weight. Had I then known that it was at least twice my estimate I would have been reduced to a quivering bundle of nerves and my casting technique, shaky enough at the best of times, would have completely fallen apart. Continue reading

Imagine sitting on an armchair in the middle of a reservoir. The armchair should be as comfortable as the one in your living room. You should be able to rest your arms on the sides and the back should be soft and supportive.

As it happens I have an armchair just like that. It floats, which is just as well since the bottom of the reservoir may be far beneath you! Okay, it´s not really an armchair, not technically, but for all intents and purposes it might as well be. It is certainly just as comfortable. It is a float tube. Continue reading