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Stuart Fraser takes a close look at the popular Scottish venues that are highly influential in inspiring successful techniques and flies.
Markle Fishery lies slightly to the north of the village of East Linton, in East Lothian, and is one of the most established fisheries in Scotland.
Standing on a rocky mound at the very heart of the fishery lie the fragmented walls of Markle Castle. Although the village of the same name is long gone, the castle is all that remains of a historic and bloody era. For it is in this very spot that the saltire is alleged to have been born to the nation, or so the legend goes.
The hillside of Markle or ‘Merkill’ as it was better known in the 1300s, was where King Angus, leader of the Picts, rested his army while being pursued by King Athel and his English Saxon masses. Crossing over the nearby ford, King Angus looked skywards above Athelstaneford to see clouds forming a white cross. Inspired by the sign, Angus took this to be a good omen and went on to defeat King Athel’s army.
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The name Athelstaneford is said to have derived from ‘King Athel killed stone dead at the ford’ and Merkill is said to have come from ‘a miracle where the clouds formed a cross in the sky’.
After this historic event a white cross on blue was adopted as Scotland’s banner and Andrew as Scotland’s patron saint.
Nowadays, the only battles that take place in front of the ruins are with the huge fish that lie within the watery depths of the fishery.
What’s On Offer Present owner Jonathon Swift took over the running of Markle in the early 1990s, when it fell in to a bit of a decline. Jon was, and has been, ably assisted by Jimmy McLachlan, who has become a very knowledgeable manager. Over the years the fishery has built up a reputation for quality, big fish. Jon and Jimmy agree that their aim is to offer the angler value for money, as well as a friendly family atmosphere.
At the moment there are three lakes available – two fly pools and one bait pond.
Markle is the main fly water and depths vary from six to 25 feet. Monastery is a slightly smaller fly lake and depths vary from eight to 14 feet.
Kinloch is the bait/coarse pond and has an average depth of about six feet. Although it’s the smallest loch it has trout and carp up to 20lb, plus tench and rudd. The fishery covers around 10 acres in total.
Fishery records are an 18lb 8oz brown trout, taken on a black-and-green lure by me – that was a very good day – and the largest rainbow was a 24lb beauty landed by local expert Jack Hay, of Haddington. VENUE
Local expert Gordon Scott with an enormous male brown trout, his best to date from Markle at 13lb 3oz.
FACT FILE: Markle Fisheries East Linton, East Lothian EH40 3EB Contact: 01620 861213 E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org www.marklefisheries.com www.totalflyfisher.com