So often, life’s most meaningful adventures lie just beyond our back gardens, the streets around us and a short drive with family, friends and our canine companions. Although our road to a returning to the ‘new normal’ has had its setbacks, we really have learnt so much along the way. Whether that’s the far-flung places we now aspire to visit, or the people we have missed so dearly, #TheArtoftheMiniAdventure is something we hope everyone will appreciate going forward even when we are able to travel further afield.
In our third instalment, we spoke to Scott Rutherford, our very own Web Merchant Women’s & Fishing at Orvis UK, as well as Michael Rescorle, one of our trusted Orvis Saltwater Fly Fishing Guides about what they have been up to at home and what they are looking forward to in the future. Hopefully we can inspire you for your next mini adventure and don’t forget, Orvis has everything your need for your next hike or fishing trip with our large range of outdoor clothing for men and women and fly-fishing gear.
Scott Rutherford – Web Merchant Women’s & Fishing Orvis UK
I consider myself very lucky to live in Deeside, Aberdeenshire, a stone’s throw from the banks of the River Dee. Rising in the Cairngorm mountain range, the crystal-clear water of the Dee flows through Aberdeenshire into the North Sea at Aberdeen attracting visitors from all over the World in pursuit of the prized Atlantic Salmon. As an obsessive Fly Fisher, it’s wonderful to have such an abundance of accessible fishing on my doorstep. From saltwater fly fishing on the coast to the many rivers, lochs and Stillwater’s we have it all. The events of the past year have meant that we have been unable to travel out with Aberdeenshire and anglers have had to stay local.
Now we are free and able to travel farther afield, I’m looking forward to returning to Shetland in pursuit of wild brown trout. Throughout the islands there are literally hundreds of lochs to choose from to cast your fly. In Shetland they say, “Don’t change your fly change your Loch!”. Leaving from Aberdeen it’s 12 hours overnight on the ferry, 13 if going via Orkney. Visitors fishing Permits can be purchased directly from the Shetland Trout Anglers Association website or Visit Shetland in Lerwick. Almost all the lochs hold fish and average around half a pound but there are much larger specimens landed every year. Fishing is generally from the bank however Boats can be hired from the Association for a nominal fee. A wide variety of flies will work in Shetland but I tend to stick to a selection of traditional loch flies including the well-known Kate McLaren, Zulu, Clan Chief and Soldier Palmer or a team of Sedge-hogs cast out and stripped fast through a bit of a wave, which is not uncommon, Shetland being known for being a tad breezy! During the Summer (Simmer Dim) it is possible to fish right through the night. Due to its northerly location and the time of year it stays light right through the small hours. It is a truly wonderful place to fish; Anglers can access lochs from the roadside or choose to walk to some more remote locations if you enjoy a hike. The people are welcoming and the food amazing with plenty of local dishes on the menus.
I am also looking forward to this year’s Orvis Saltwater Fly Fishing Festival 3rd– 5th September 2021. It will be great to be involved and meet the Guides and Competitors. Chichester Harbour and Hayling Island offering a variety of marks and different species, this is sure to be a great weekend.
Michael Rescorle, Saltwater Angling Coach and Guide
Having been born and raised on a Cornish dairy farm which was within sight of the sea, and having spent 28 years in the infantry, it’s no surprise that I am happiest in the outdoors. Fly fishing both fresh and saltwater, hill walking, sightseeing, skiing, et al, you name it and I have done it. Lockdown deprived me of access to several of my pursuits so it was tough going but my goodness it made me realise what can be achieved without recourse to cars, planes or trains.
During the first lockdown my very heavy mountain bike got hammered pounding the roads 3 – 5 hours per week and I discovered country roads and lanes I’d never contemplated before. And they were completely free of traffic so I was free to belt along in my Bradley Wiggins skin-tight outfit – not a pretty sight for a man of my age I might add – to my hearts content. To be honest I was a bit miffed when lockdown ended because I had to share the roads with various noisy, smelly and badly driven motor vehicles. The heavy bike was replaced with a much lighter one, so I was ready for lockdown 2 and 3 raring to go even faster and over longer distances.
Winchester is one of the most beautiful and historic cities in England and I feel lucky to live just a few minutes-walk from the city centre and the river Itchen. Again, during lockdown, I discovered places to walk, grab a takeaway coffee and explore that I would not normally have contemplated.
July 2020 was earmarked for a 2-week fishing trip hunting King Salmon and wild rainbows on the Kanektock river in Alaska. But, understandably, the local community, home to Yupik Eskimos, shut themselves off from the outside world to prevent Covid-19 getting a stranglehold. While the US vaccination programme has now accounted for 100 percent of Alaskans, frustratingly, there’s no air corridor for Brits to travel so the trip has been postponed again. Phew! Roll-on 2022. The only consolation is that those Kings and bows will have had another year to grow so will be even bigger. My Helios 3D 8 weight will have a severe test next summer.
The easing of restrictions allowed the Orvis Beginners’ Weekend to take place in 2020 so that was a much-welcomed break. Guiding attendees and watching them catch good sized bass and mullet, and hearing their stories of ‘the ones that got away’ over a pint in Chichester, was great fun.
Looking ahead to the rest of 2021, the Orvis Saltwater Fly Fishing Festival, which is due to take place in early September, will provide another opportunity to get away, Again, coaching and guiding will be great fun. That will be followed by the UK Saltwater Festival in St Mawes Cornwall 2 weeks later. I do not need much of an excuse to holiday in my home county, so I have booked a week in a holiday let immediately after to catch up with family, most of whom still live there, to explore the beautiful coastline and of course, to catch fish.
2022 promises to be a cracking year. Fiona and I are planning a spring getaway, maybe in the UK, but if travel restrictions allow, maybe to Copenhagen or St Petersberg. Then there’s the now twice postponed fishing trip to Alaska. I cannot wait to get in amongst those King salmon and to add further excitement, a friend has just told me that 2022 will be a humpie year. Humpback or Pink Salmon, swim up the Alaskan rivers every second year so the postponement and all those re-bookings will be worth it. Again, I can’t wait.