A Tall Tale

by Mark Councill of Logie Timber & The Boardroom for Storytelling Week 2020

By Mark from The Boardroom & Logie Timber

Mark Councill, in partnership with Alec Laing, runs Logie Timber and its showroom, The Boardroom at Logie Steading. This tall tale is of the life of a tree

A Tall Tale

A Centuries-Long Life Well Lived

My real name is Fraxinus Excelsior but most people just call me Ash. I grew up on the beautiful Logie Estate in Moray and have always felt so grateful to live there. As a young whipper snapper, the Scottish elements could be tough, and the winters harsh. I learned early to be tough, to rely on my family and neighbours for protection in storms, and to cherish the warm summer days. One thing I was always grateful for is that I was never thirsty, Scotland is generous with its water.

As I grew big, strong and mature I often heard people calling me graceful; I suppose the years were kind to me and my beauty thickened with age. I loved my lush green summer leaves and always dreaded the autumn... being tall and standing outside naked in Scotland takes some getting used to.

I graced the landscape for hundreds of years and believe me, I saw some changes in my time; war, floods, storms, drought. Somehow I always managed to stay strong, maybe I knew deep down how much the world needed me.

Over time I felt myself beginning to tire. Standing up tall all day takes its toll after a while. I noticed my scars were struggling to heal; I was getting tired. I suppose in life we all succumb to age some time and I survived for a lot longer than most. I knew deep down that the disease was making me weak and that life as I knew it was about to change.

Rebirth: A New Life

The surgeons from Logie Timber who worked on me were incredible; they respected my dignity, treated me with care and respect and helped me to find my new life. Don’t get me wrong, there were some tough times. Being stripped of your glory is not easy but I soon began to learn of a new kind of beauty within me; my inner beauty was even more vibrant than my exterior.

After several operations and time at the mill it was finally time to move to my new home and boy was I looking sharp. They moved me with such precision and care and before I knew it I was living in the Board Room at Logie Steading. I am now a perfectly crafted river table and my deeply rooted history at Logie shines through my delicate grain.  I get touched and stroked so much that I sometimes feel like a pet! I still see those people who helped me get to where I am today, they pop in a lot and often chat around me, I like those days. People often say they want to take me home, but this is and always has been my home.

River Table in the Boardroom closeup
Alec with River Table in the Boardroom
The River Table in The Boardroom Logie Timber

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A Tall Tale

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.