Fishing ‘n’ Shooting around Colislinn

Within 20 minutes of the Teviot, 30 minutes of the Upper Ettrick and 45 minutes of both the Border Esk and many of the most famous beats on the Tweed, Colislinn is perfectly positioned for some of the best salmon and seat trout fishing to be found anywhere.  Note, the salmon fishing closer to Colislinn is all late season, so if you’re looking to catch a ‘springer’ or anything before the Autumn you’d be best off heading further downstream towards Kelso.

The most useful source of information about fishing is Fishpal, As well as giving details of historical and recent catches (updated daily in high season), fishing can also be booked through the website.

One of the most respected casting teachers around, Eoin Fairgreave (also a terrific guy with a great store of fishing anecdotes) runs a spey casting school in the grounds of the classy Roxburgh Hotel for beginners, or for more experienced fisherfolk looking to tighten up their spey loops  Eoin gets very booked up during peak season so if you’re looking for a lesson any time in the Autumn best to book ahead.

The Roxburgh also has a championship standard golf course and clay pigeon shooting – though for clays we tend to go to the excellent Braidwood, about 25 minutes away (beginners welcome, guns and tuition provided if needed, a huge range of traps to choose from, and a great way to entertain teenage lads for a few hours)

There are many lochs in the area with brown and/or rainbow trout.  Most of the publicly accessible ones are run by the Hawick Angling Club.  Within 15 minutes of Colislinn are both Acreknowe and Barnes lochs. The latter is in a spectacular location up in the hills near the site of the old Stobs Army Camp – best not to drive too close unless you’re in a 4×4, and best not to bring dogs during lambing season.  Permits can usually be obtained either through the Club, which is located in the Sandbed area of Hawick (this side of town for Colislinn), or in Libby’s Pet Shop in the High Street, which also stocks a small range of fishing tackle.  Other contact details for the Hawick Angling Club: 01450 378907, or 07988 900602, or  The Club also owns some association water on the Teviot.

Sadly, because of the acidity of the water and the huge spates, both caused by the Wauchope commercial forest that was planted several decades ago, the Slitrig Water (a tributary of the Teviot, itself the major tributary of the Tweed) that runs through Colislinn now holds very few fish.  We do see an occasional brownie and in late autumn some very tired salmon come up to spawn, which tend to shoal near the bridge.  We’d ask you, please, to leave both alone.  However a lot of fun – under adult supervision – can be had by youngsters with nets and jars collecting various forms of fry and bugs. And if they catch something bigger … we’ll have been pleased to have played a part in introducing them to one of the greatest sports in the world!

Finally, if you find yourself short of fishing tackle the best shops in the area to buy kit are in charming Kelso. The brilliant John Norris in Penrith,, are also old hands at mailing stuff out speedily to anxious fishermen short of a rod tip or with a leak in their waders.

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33% OFF! Last Minute Easter Break Available


Due to a cancellation Colislinn will be available for Easter – 30th March to 7th April 2013

At a third less of the usual cost!

Please get in touch with Charlotte on or 07799 053 330

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Stuart Hogg: the latest of 45 Scotland Rugby Players born in Hawick

For those of you who missed last week’s Scotland game against Italy, here is the undoubted  highlight of the match featuring Stuart Hogg, one of the most talented rugby players of his generation to come from Hawick.  And he is only 20 years old!

We are not alone in thinking that this guy is genius.  Here is heart-warming article about him in the Daily Telegraph.


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Badger Watching at Colislinn

There are lots of badgers around Colislinn.   With several setts at less than a mile’s distance from the house, it makes for an easy but fascinating evening expedition, particularly with kids old enough to keep quiet for an hour or so; definitely better than telly/ipad/xbox!  However, for a successful badger watching session there are a few rules to be observed:

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Places of Interest near Colislinn: Stobs Military Camp, Hawick 1903 – 1959

Whenever we drive past Stobs, it is to go and see an amazingly well-preserved bronze age fort at Newton Hill Wood or climb a hill that has particularly lovely views over the Slitrig valley, so we do not pay much attention to the dusty remains of the camp site on the right that is now only used by the occasional boy racer.

Something almost unimaginable nowadays in this quiet corner of the Scottish Borders is that for over fifty years there used to be an enormous army camp about a mile south of Colislinn at Stobs that housed up to ten thousand men at a time.  They trained here in the bleak hills in preparation for most of the armed conflicts that Britain got involved in during the first half of the 20th century.

For anyone with an interest in military history please have a look at this fascinating website on Stobs Army Camp:  These guys are much better at telling its story than I am; there are lots of photos, letters and other documents of great interest, not least a section on German prisoners of war who were interred here during WW1 and who ended up baking the daily bread for the camp as recorded by a Scottish soldier:

“We have five thousand German prisoners here and they have a better time of it than us. They bake all our bread, carving an Iron Cross on it. Some of our boys don’t like it but to my taste it seems all right. We have about 15 thousand of our boys here”

It is the painstaking work of the Scottish Military Research Group who have done a wonderful job in recording the lives of those who passed through it.

Colislinn and Stobs

I have been told that officers were billeted at Colislinn during WW2.  From the Stobs website it is clear that the conditions in the camp were pretty basic, with soldiers sleeping in tents and officers in wooden, later Nissen huts, so Colislinn must have been an appealing alternative. The dining and drawing room floors in Colislinn are riddled with ancient telephone and electricity cables with sockets  screwed into the floor at regular intervals.  Presumably they were made into offices.

Another mark the officers left on the house are the bullet holes in the weathervane on top of one of the turrets and who knows, it could have been the German POWs who used the old bread oven still visible in a field immediately west of Colislinn.


Regiments known to have trained at Stobs (more details here):

Black Watch, Lanarkshire Yeomanry, Glasgow Yeomanry, H.L.I , Kings Own Scottish Borderers, Royal Scots Fusiliers, Scottish Rifles 

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This year’s Hawick’s Cornet is Ross Nichol

The first rideout of the Hawick Common Ridings is tomorrow, Saturday, 5th May to Bonchester Bridge.  The riders will Leave Hawick at 1.00, pass right by Colislinn and arrive  at 3.30 pm. They leave Bonchester again at 5.30 and arrive back home at 8.15 pm.  This year Ross Nichol, the newly chosen Cornet, will be at the head of some 100-150 riders.  This is what it looked like a few years ago:


For the uninitiated, the Cornet is the eligable young man who heads the Common Ridings, as explained on the Colislinn page about the Common Ridings.  If you are interested in and want to know more about the fascinating traditions around common ridings in the Scottish Borders, read more here:

Best of luck everyone, hope you have good weather tomorrow!

BTW, I am pretty sure that Cornet Andrew Douglas Haddon (1910) lived at Colislinn!


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Fishing is like Marmite

We happen to love both, but while Marmite is easily available in every food store, finding the right location for fishing can be somewhat more complicated.  Of course there is wonderful fishing nearby Colislinn in the various Borders rivers, but this can get quite pricey.  Luckily there is the Hawick Angling Club, an august organisation that recently celebrated its 100th birthday.  They sell the necessary permits on behalf of a number of landowners and on this website Fisharound you get an easy overview of all the lochs, reservoirs, etc where one can fish for about a tenner a day, rather than the hundreds of pounds often necessary to catch a salmon.

The place I am keen to explore further is Acrenow Reservoir, which was originally built to supply water to Stobs Army Camp (promise to do a blog post on that as well).  When we first moved to the Borders we used to go swimming in it, but someone complained and we sort of forgot about it.  Recently though we have started walking around it because the scenery is so beautiful, and often wondered whether there was any fishing to be had.  On one of these walks we discovered a sign saying ‘Fishing Available’.

This is very exciting and as soon as I have an opportunity I will go down with my rod in search of a few brownies, (or, as I have just read on the Acrenowe Reservoir web page a large brown monster trout weighing 3.5LB!!)  Fisherman’s tales?  No doubt you will demand photographic evidence…

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How to Tell if a Tree is One Hundred Years Old

One  of the things that has always fascinated me was how to gage the age of a tree without cutting it down and counting its rings.  Until we started coming to Colislinn in 1994 I did not really have any idea how one could work this out by just looking, as their size depends on the soil, situation, fertility and probably  a couple more things.  The ‘aha!!’ moment came as I saw an old photograph of Colislinn, about 4-5 years after it was built in 1896 which I have now managed to get on the Facebook page  Continue reading

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