Those of you with access to the Tarn webcams may have noticed that a swan has returned to the Tarn. Its been almost 18 months since we lost the last pair and the water has seemed strange without a resident cygnus. I well remember my first sight of the tranquil bowl of Newhouses Tarn when we arrived here from the south almost 20 years ago and I thought how wonderful it was to see the water set off by two majestic and serene swans.
I very much hope that our new arrival decides to stay and finds his or her self a mate.
It looks although we are in for a drier spell over the next few days so salmon fishing will be more of a challenge. Still, its not been a bad season so far with over 12 catches to date that I know of so the tally is likely to be quite a bit higher.
Those of you who keep an eye on the Locks weir webcams will see that the gauge is showing 50cm of water so right smack in the middle of decent salmon water.The weather here is a mix of sunshine and heavy showers with a light westerly breeze. Not impossible conditions for fishing.
It rained a lot last night and by early this morning the river was in flood. Consequently all the timber resulting from the removal of the tree under New Inn bridge has now been washed away.
Great water today for salmon fishing and if the river continues to fall overnight there should be some wonderful trout fishing tomorrow.
We are aware of the return of cormorants to the Tarn and plans are afoot to try to deter these predators from fishing.
Watch out as you cross Newhouses ford. The cobbles are being lifted, raised and relaid in sections which leaves a ridge at the leading edge of the replaced section.
I went down to New Inn first thing this morning and cut up the tree wedged under New Inn bridge. Most of the brash went down river on the flood that was still running. The larger logs are stacked under the west arch on the gravel bank and will go with the next full spate unless someone takes them for firewood. A really fun job, but I could have done without the audience standing on the footbridge making smart-ass comments.
The river really is in stunning form. Just a touch of colour, cold and fast flowing. Perfect for growing trout and for salmon seeking out the spawning gravels. It really is odd that so few members fish the river especially when conditions are so good.
Those planning to fish the Tarn next week should be aware that the cobbles on Newhouses ford are being reset starting on Monday. Contractors have told me that they will maintain access at all times, but expect some minor inconvenience until Thursday.
Whilst on the subject of the Tarn we are stocking for the last time this season next Saturday. Fish should arrive at around 10 am so it’s best to give the new arrivals a while to settle down before fishing.
A lot of rain fell in a short while earlier today and has brought the river to a level where a good flow is running under the west arch of New Inn bridge. This minor flood has also stripped a large bough from a tree at the top end of the garden pool and deposited it just above the bridge. I’m working tomorrow all day so will go down on Thursday morning and remove the timber to the bank. That’s provided the river is not in flood again.
There is a short piece about Horton school on More 4 at 9 this evening. A bit like bolting the stable door after the horse has departed, but nice to see familiar faces on TV expressing sensible yet passionate views rather than the usual “celebrity” tripe.
Once again I have been away from the blog for far too long. Sorry.
Last Sunday we went to a book fair at Ingleton and found a little gem. It’s a guide to the Craven area published in 1850 and written by a chap called Howson (an old Horton name). there is much of interest in this slim volume, but one section on Horton caught my eye. Howson describes Newhouses Tarn and talks about the Tarn being stocked with brown trout from the river. Who was doing the stocking and who was catching the fish he does not say, but remember that this is at least 30 years before the MAA were doing so. He even mentions that the need for stocking was because of an absence of a feeder in which fish could breed. It also puts back the formation of the Tarn to before 1850, a date which some authors have noted as being the date of its creation during a severe thunderstorm.
It may be that the stocking was organised by and for the Hammond family of Arncliffe who owned the land and the Tarn. Maybe not. Mike H may have a view.
I am inclined to believe Howson because his many descriptions of local caves and potholes are surprisingly accurate and free from the usual Victorian guff.
If you come across this volume in a second hand book shop it’s well worth an investment.
Yorkshire day, true to form, has been wet. Very wet. The river is not in spate,but is flowing strongly under the west arch of New Inn bridge. As a consequence fishing on the river should be very rewarding tomorrow between the showers.
We put 100 rainbow trout into the Tarn last evening and received a good soaking for our efforts. All fish seemed highly impressed with their new habitat and one individual got so exited that it left the water turned a victory roll and returned to the depths.
I was delighted and surprised today to receive in the post a packet of photographs sent by a former pupil at Horton school who must read the gibberish that I post here because I mentioned last week setting up an exhibition to mark the closure of Horton school. I shall of course write and thank you, but the images of the school in the early 20th Century complement other material that has come to light recently. I spent several hours over the weekend cataloging a couple of hundred items. These will now be digitised and that which is not restricted by data protection legislation will soon appear on dalescommunityarchives.org.uk.
At the last council meeting a couple of weeks ago a discussion was had about the number of blanks recorded by members visiting the Tarn. It was agreed by majority that we should put in an additional 100 rainbows at the beginning of August and monitor the result in terms of impact on fishing success and the health of the Tarn.
We shall be putting this stock in at around 5pm tomorrow evening which should be entertaining as thunderstorms are threatened tomorrow.
The river continues in stonking form thanks to the persistent heavy showers that are making this summer a bit of a washout. I stood by the garden pool yesterday afternoon dodging the showers and watching fish rising all the way up the pool from New Inn to Harber meadow. This pool would appear to be alive with fish.
A wet night and even wetter morning until lunchtime lifted the river to the extent that it was running strongly under the west arch at New Inn. Consequently there should be some decent fishing for a time tomorrow although the best conditions are probably right now.
I have been away from this keyboard for several days helping Sheila prepare an exhibition on the history of Horton school. The village school closed yesterday for the last time bringing to an end nearly 600 years of continuous education provision at Horton. The earliest reference to a school here that we have found is dated 1523, a will leaving money to “our ladies school at Horton”. Until 1876 the school was a free grammar converting in that year to an elementary which it has remained until yesterday.
The MAA in the early 20th C organised sports events and awarded prizes for the children. Times change, families are smaller, village populations age and small village primaries with their wonderfully happy and nurturing cultures become untenable. Very sad.
This morning I put 100 rainbows into the top end of the Tarn. They should hopefully lift the catch returns a bit.
When we arrived with the fish a large flock of duck took off in a flurry of wings and much complaining about being disturbed.
The recent wet weather is a bit of a pain, but it is keeping both the river and the Tarn in decent water. The Tarn is still crystal clear with no sign whatsoever of algae or the filament weed that has made fishing so difficult this past couple of years. Taking a lot of rooted weed out has certainly made casting easier, but I am beginning to wonder whether the resident fish have migrated to the weed bed at the top of the Tarn. Recent fishing returns have been much lower than my calculation of remaining fish suggests they should be. Let’s see what difference this stocking makes.