When anglers shuffle off this mortal coil and present themselves, rod-poised and ready before the Pearly Gates, the lucky ones will be invited to spend eternity fishing, and, in my opinion, the paradise St Peter has prepared for them will look a lot like Sutherland.
Sutherland is blessed with thousands of lochs and lochans, full of hard-fighting wild brown trout, scattered amidst some of the world’s most dramatic scenery; the sudden shock of Suilven and glorious Conival and Assynt and mighty Ben More, the highest mountain in Sutherland; the gentle shoulder of Canisp, towering over Cama, the crooked loch and long, wind-swept Veyatie.
Salmon and sea-trout crowd rivers and estuaries. Tumbling Highland streams rush from remote moorlands through deep pools and silent glides, heather-edged and rowan-graced, wonderful spate streams such as the Naver, Borgie, Dionard, Inver and Kincraig. The rivers of the Kyle of Sutherland, Carron, Shin, Oykle and Cassley, flow swiftly from Sutherland’s heartlands to mingle at Bonar Bridge with the waters of the Moray Firth.
The wild lands Cape Wrath where, at Durness, the angler will find four of the most challenging limestone trout lochs in Europe, Caladail, Borralie, Croispol and Lanlish; where the water is crystal clear, the trout hard fighting, circumspect and utterly beautiful.
A map of the north of Scotland is like a Mona Lisa to trout fishermen. From east to west the canvas is filled with lochs and lochans and deciding where to start is an agonising a decision. This is the land of eagle, otter and wild cat. Red deer will mark your progress over the moor and black and red-throated divers will haughtily observe your efforts. Get there if you can and experience all that is best in angling.
It is impossible, within the confines of this space to do justice the quality of fishing Sutherland has to offer visiting anglers. To find out more, locations, map references, detailed descriptions of rivers and lochs and access information, seek out a copy of a book that has become known as the Scottish anglers bible: ’The Rivers and Lochs of Scotland’ written by your correspondent, Bruce Sandison.
‘Rivers and Lochs of Scotland’ (ISBN number 978184502333-1) is published by Black & White Publishing, Ocean Drive, Edinburgh. There are 81 pages devoted to Sutherland, based upon OS Maps 9,10, 15,16 and 17.