New Zealand Markets closed

Whisky, waders as Scots welcome salmon

 

On the banks of the River Tay in the Scottish highlands, a parade of pipers and a whisky-based blessing has helped mark the start of the country's salmon fishing season.

The ceremony in the village of Kenmore, which marks the start of the season on the Tay, has been held to celebrate the new salmon fishing season in Scotland for over 70 years, though on some rivers fishing begins a few days earlier.

This week's event saw dozens of anglers, many sipping glasses of whisky, cast lines in a bid to bag a big fish but, as of late in the afternoon, one participant said that he had seen only one salmon actually caught by anyone - a fact that neither surprised nor bothered him.

"It's kinda the highlight of the season. You know you're coming here not really to catch any fish. At the end of the day you're coming to savour the atmosphere," fisherman Leigh Kelly, 36, told Reuters.

"If you're gonna catch a few fish, you need to be nearer the sea to get at any, you know? The estuary here is right at the top of the river, so that's difficult. But it's good to be on the bank."

The event kicked off with a parade by the Vale of Atholl pipe band, who marched the anglers to the river, which was then blessed with the contents of a quaich - a traditional drinking vessel - of whisky being thrown into the river.

The salmon season on the Tay runs from January 15 to October 15.