1. How did your South Uist Estate journey begin?
My journey started as a young angler learning to cast on the Bharp system and the hill lochs around Lochboisdale. My father was a joiner for the Estate and my helping around Grogarry Lodge during school holidays led to my first job. The owners at the time were very encouraging and I learnt about all aspects of sporting estate work including how the fishing was managed. In 1976 l left to try my hand in fish farming but I always kept in contact with the Estate and in 2005 I returned shortly before the community buyout. I then became Fishing Manager in 2009, building on the work of the late John Kennedy.
2. What is your favourite spot on the Estate and why?
The summit of Ben Mhor on a clear day is my favourite spot because of the spectacular views of our island and all the fishing lochs below as far as the eye can see.
3. What is your favourite part of the job?
I enjoy preparing for and the excitement of the anglers when they arrive. During February and March, we ready and deploy the boats. It’s satisfying to work alongside the changing of the seasons and feel the conditions improving in time for the start of a new fishing season.
4. What is your perfect day out on the Estate?
A day fishing one of the harder to reach hill lochs, Snigiscleit. And taking in the dramatic views from the surrounding hills on the way. The setting is so peaceful out there and the only sounds are birds, the odd sheep in the distance and the splash of trout. When I look up from my fishing line, I might glimpse a stag going over a ridge. That for me is a perfect day out on the Estate.
5. Best catch? When and where?
One of my best catches of late was in 2019 on Loch Bharp. I was fly fishing alone by boat with southerly gale force winds adding to the challenge and excitement of landing the salmon. I actually caught two salmon at different times; the kind of day you don’t forget.
6. South Uist Estate attracts clients back annually, what do you think draws them back each year.
Lots of things make South Uist attractive: the fresh sea air, the changing colours of the landscape, the wild ruggedness of the freshwater lochs, the quality and fighting spirit of the fish, the varied wildlife that passes by, the views, the peace and quiet, the food and the people you meet along the way. And then there is Grogarry Lodge, the setting and the experience.
7. Looking forward what excites you most about the/your future of/on the Estate?
South Uist Fishing continues to be an attractive angler’s destination and it is exciting to be part of the team that develops and protects the sporting experience. We work hard to provide access to the natural assets of the island, and I can say there are more opportunities to fish nowadays, so I look forward to meeting all the anglers who come to test their skills.