Learning How to Fly Fish in Scotland

river dee scotland cairnton estate

Don’t worry, this isn’t spam and I haven’t been hacked. The heading of this post isn’t an SEO ruse to get traffic from fans of leisurely aquatic pursuits; I did in fact go fly fishing during my recent trip to Scotland.
OK, so standing in a freezing cold river for a good four hours isn’t something I’d usually put myself forward for but the opportunity presented itself and I have promised myself to try as many new experiences as possible.

river dee scotland cairnton estate


fly fishing river dee cairnton estate

And so I was made to get up at 7am on a Friday off work and layer the hell up. I was coerced with a bacon sandwich and strong tea and driven down to Cairnton Estate to meet Brian who would be looking after us for the day. While he prepped our rods (minds out of the gutter, please), I mentally prepared myself to wear a pair of waders. These waterproof monstrosities are the most heinous thing I’ve ever had the displeasure of putting on, but they were just the icing on the cake. Underneath I wore tights, two pairs of socks, leggings, pyjama bottoms, a vest top, t-shirt, jumper, waterproof coat, plus a scarf and hat. All topped off with some big old gross boots hired out especially for me. #fbloggers, eat your heart out.

fly fishing river dee scotland cairnton estate

We drove down to a section of river and I was plonked on some rocks to practise casting a line. I was trusted to wield a 14ft rod, fling it behind me and whip it forward to drop a fly into the water in the way of a salmon swimming upstream. It took a while to get my bearings and as soon as I thought I’d got it, I’d bugger it up again. I lost two flies (I have no idea how), and was convinced I’d caught something when really I’d just attached myself to a rock.

fly fishing river dee scotland cairnton estate

Over the course of the day we moved to various parts of the river to try our luck in different pools, and I started to gradually get myself into the water. It wasn’t as terrifyingly, bum-numbingly cold as I’d anticipated thanks to being over-prepared, but the fear of falling in was so real. Many a swear was sworn any time I had a wobble or a rock wasn’t quite as sturdy as it had promised. We broke for lunch and settled in the river cabin by the log fire and I started to get pretttttttttty comfortable. I kind of lost my interest in the fishing from that point.

hot chocolate panini birdhouse banchory


fishing cabin cairnton estate scotland

I did try again, and I did give it my best shot. But my arm started to hurt, and the weather was actually quite nice, and Brian was happily supplying me with whisky, so I decided to sit our last pool out and enjoy the surroundings.

sunglasses and glass of whisky


fly fishing river dee scotland cairnton estate

I was surprised by how much I actually enjoyed the day (I’m sure the glorious sunshine definitely helped), and even though I’m not quite Robson Green yet, I wouldn’t be opposed to trying fly fishing again.
In another year or so.


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