You can see that fiddling and fishing would go together, rather like Burns’ whisky and freedom. (Not sure what goes with shooting – bagpipes, probably).
Anyway. I had this reel, no pun intended, written for our daughter which was a cracking tune for dancing, except the composer Paul Anderson put it on a mini disc. But of course I’d forgotten that a reel tune in itself is quite a short piece of music and if you want to dance to it you have to keep repeating it or string it along with others.
And as the Reel of the 51st, one of the most popular dances, goes on for ages, we weren’t going to get very far with eight bars on a mini disc.
And then I remembered Pete Clark, the fiddler from Birnam across the Tay from Dunkeld, who had briefly taught our daughter the fiddle and had put out a marvellous CD recorded at Blair of him playing the very fiddle that had belonged to the 18th century Perthshire composer Niel Gow.
So I sent Pete the music and he said as he was about to go into the studio he’d splice the tune into a full 51st set along with all the usual suspects like The Drunken Piper and The Ale is Dear.
And sure enough, back came the CD and it’s terrific, with our tune in the middle. But with it in the post came an extra CD called Caught and Released which Pete had just recorded with the accordionist Gregor Lowrey from Argyll.
Caught and Released is the result of what has now become the duo’s annual “Troot Tour” – a week of fishing for brownies and fiddling for their suppers at hotels and with friends across the north-west highlands. One of the tunes is named Bruce Sandison’s Two Step after the Sutherland angling writer, and another Sedgehead, which commemorates the time on Loch Craggie when Gregor managed to embed a large sedge fly in Pete’s forehead. (Rather than cut the trip short, he cut the line and fished the rest of the day with an extra eyebrow.)
This year they started at Dundonnel and ended up at Knoydart – so there’s a tune, The Old Forge named after the pub in Knoydart – and caught 105 brownies and a 1.5lb sea trout in the week.
The best brownie was 1lb, but most had to go back. Hence the title Caught and Released. They use dry flies because it’s much more exciting and favour Sedgehogs and “wee black gnat parachutes”.
They talk about taking a fish smoker and even a freezer on these expeditions, but have so far forgotten.
There’s a picture inside the CD case of a fine brownie in a net alongside the legend “Nae troots were harmed in the making of this recording.” Good notes on the tunes as well.
• www.pete-clark.com; www.gregorlowrey.com
Search for a job
Search for a car
Search for a house
Weather for Edinburgh
Wednesday 22 May 2013
Temperature: 3 C to 13 C
Wind Speed: 23 mph
Wind direction: West
Temperature: 5 C to 11 C
Wind Speed: 23 mph
Wind direction: North west