Raising a Dram to Mother Nature

by Mike Crutch of the Logie Whisky & Spirits Shop

Day to day, and in normal circumstances, a day in the shop sees me happily surrounded by hundreds of bottles of whisky - uisge beatha, Scots Gaelic for 'water of life'.  If your Gaelic tongue hasn't been used for a while, or you've not yet resorted to taking the Duolingo course in the current lockdown, uisge beatha is simply pronounced 'oos-ger baa'.

Logie whisky shop outside
In the past couple of weeks, in the lands around Logie, another 'uisge' has been quietly returning after spending the winter in western Africa.  I'm talking about the wonderful iolaire-uisge (ready now?  That's spoken as  'ill-ler-ra oos-ger', not 'eye-o-lair' which was an incorrect, Anglicised name applied to the ill-fated troop ship post-World War One) - in other words, the Osprey.
Although iolaire-uisge literally means 'fish eagle', Ospreys are not eagles at all, being unique in the world of birds of prey by being in their own genus, or bird family.  We are very lucky here in western Moray that the birds breed with some density, and being uniquely fish-eaters can forage from Findhorn Bay, along the River Findhorn and a number of lochs and lochans through the area.  
Having been persecuted to extinction in the early 1900s, although it is likely that some Ospreys subsequently continued to breed in secluded spots in the Highlands, the true cornerstone to the current UK population has to be the famous nest at Loch Garten in Strathspey, in use since 1954.  Initial mixed successes were finally overcome by wardening and public access to the site, and since then Ospreys slowly spread as young birds returned to their natal sites to breed also.
The first Osprey nest of the modern era in Moray was located in 1966, and it's thanks to that foothold that the birds we see arriving back now - and drifting past Logie as they follow the river - are here.  Checking on a nest through binoculars between home and the shop to arrange some whisky and wine deliveries last week, my heart gladdened to see a female Osprey newly-arrived on her nest, and already arranging sticks and nesting material in anticipation of the breeding season.
So, as the temperatures become more Spring-like, and lockdown takes a lighter twist by all of us being able to enjoy sitting in the garden and watching and listening to everything Mother Nature has to offer, keep your eyes peeled - you may see an Osprey.  If you do, raise an uisge-beatha to the iolaire-uisge.  Sláinte!
Osprey cc Mike Crutch
The Logie Whisky and Spirits Shop is able to make deliveries in the Forres/Dava/Nairn triangle during the current public health lockdown.  For more details, see their Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/LogieWhisky/  
For further reading on Ospreys, local resident - and world-renowned conservationist - Roy Dennis has a website with blogs, podcasts and much more; and remember his book on Ospreys is also available at the Logie Bookshop when Ruth and Annie re-open.  All are best enjoyed with a dram!  http://www.roydennis.org/category/roys-blog/
For more of Mike Crutch's fishing Osprey photos and other images, visit his Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/a9birds/ 
Osprey cc Mike Crutch

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Raising a Dram to Mother Nature

Terms & Conditions for fishing on Logie Estate

  1. Fishing on the river is restricted to 2 rods per beat and is to be by fly only. All fishing is from the right bank. By arrangement with the neighbouring estate there is no left bank fishing on the Relugas Middle and Top beats.
  2. The fishing is split into two 2 rod beats, Logie and Relugas, with Relugas sub divided into Middle and Top.  Beats can be taken together or separately. Logie is fished Monday to Saturday, Relugas Middle on Monday, Wednesday and Friday and Relugas Top on Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday. Beats change at midnight.
  3. Fishermen must contact Logie Estate office on 01309 611300 a day or so before arrival to organise being shown onto the river. A map of pools, beats and access routes will be provided.
  4. Bio-security is important to the future of the river and anglers are asked to observe protection measures. The Findhorn District Fishery Board Conservation Code will be strictly observed. To summarise: All fish caught up to 14th May inclusive must be released. From 15th May, all salmon over 9 lbs / 4 kg / 28 inches / 72 cm are to be returned.  Below that measurement at least 70% of salmon and 50% of grilse caught should be released and a maximum of 1 salmon and / or 2 grilse per rod per week may be retained. In September all fish are to be returned. No gaffs or tailers are allowed.
  5. The Findhorn District Fishery Board Bio-security measures will be strictly observed and all fishermen in the party must sign the Bio-security Declaration. (Also available at http://www.fnlft.org.uk/downloads/)
  6. The Estate recommends that barbless hooks are used, fishermen are in possession of a disgorger and that knotless nets are used. All possible care should be taken when returning fish to the river, they should be handled as little, and gently, as possible and should not be removed from the water.
  7. The catch should be reported at the end of each day of fishing to Logie Estate Office on 01309 611300. If the office is closed, please leave a message on the answering machine with the date, weight and pool. Please also report a nil catch day.
  8. Dogs are allowed on the river but must be kept strictly under control at all times. The Estate reserves the right to ask tenants to remove dogs if they are considered to be out of control.
  9. Rod, line and fly size are dependent on prevailing weather and water conditions and personal choice. In general, maximum rod length needed is 13ft with a size 8 or 9 line, usually floating. Fly sizes range from 6 – 8 in the spring down to 12 or less in summer low water.
  10. Safety must be considered at all times. All beats have a variety of pools with some suitable for most heights of water. Little wading is necessary and river paths are good however the fishing is within the Findhorn gorge, access to some of the pools is quite steep and a degree of rock scrambling is often necessary when playing and landing fish. Please be aware that a reasonable level of fitness and mobility is required. A buoyancy aid for each rod is provided and should be collected from Logie Estate Office on arrival, and returned to the Estate Office (or to the outbuilding opposite if office is closed) on departure. Logie Estate strongly recommends that buoyancy aids are worn when fishing and not doing so is entirely at fishermen’s own risk. Please pay attention at all times, avoid slips and falls, wear appropriate footwear, look out for overhead electricity lines, watch the weather and pay attention to livestock. Take extra care if fishing alone.
  11. Anglers need to supply or hire their own equipment (except buoyancy aids, which are provided).
  12. Ghillieing/tuition is available by on a first come, first served basis. This must be booked in advance with the Estate Office and is subject to availability. A half day ghillieing/tuition is approx. 3 hours, full day approx. 6 hours. Please contact the estate office or check our website for current rates. Rates do not include discretionary tips.
  13. Rod, Reel & Line hire is available by on a first come, first served basis. This must be booked in advance with the Estate Office and is subject to availability. Please contact the estate office or check our website for current rates. A rod, reel and line set is for one person and is subject to a fully refundable damage deposit of £100.
  14. Aside from fishermen, others, including rafters and kayakers, enjoy this stretch of river and mutual respect and consideration is expected.
  15. Bookings are confirmed when initial payment is received. Subsequent changes in dates or number or rods are entirely subject to the Estate’s discretion and to availability. Change of dates, if accepted, incur an administration fee. In the event of a cancellation the tenant must advise Logie Estate immediately, whereupon Logie will endeavour to re-let. If a new tenant can be found the deposit will be returned less any expenses incurred for advertising, office costs, etc., and less any shortfalls in discounted list price. Until such time as a vacancy has been re-let the hirer is responsible for making any further payment by the due dates. Failure to do so may mean that the hirer forfeits any refund if the dates are re-let. If it is not possible to re-let, all payments are still payable by the due date(s). It is unlikely that a refund can be made for a late cancellation. Logie Estate recommends that fishermen take out relevant cancellation insurance.
  16. Subletting fishing is only allowed with Logie Estate’s permission.
  17. Logie Estate reserves the right to immediately withdraw fishing without compensation from anyone who breaks these or associated conditions, or flouts normal standards of behaviour or fishing etiquette.