Daily Archives: August 19, 2013
The tide of success is flowing fast and strong for Raemoir House Hotel at Banchory, and its owners give a lot of the credit to the Dee. Its fast becoming a favourite haunt for visiting anglers looking for a great hotel which delivers top quality service, value and culinary excellence.
“Being on Royal Deeside is one of our main advantages and to some extent explains why we have done so well in such a very short time,” said Neil Rae who owns the 20 bedroom hotel with his wife Julie.
The Raes’ successes have been among the most remarkable in the Scottish hospitality industry. They only bought Raemoir in 2010 yet in the next two years it captured the title of Scotland’s Best Country House Hotel – the first time that double had ever been achieved.
In the 2013 Scottish Hotel of the Year Awards Raemoir won the Chefs’ Team category and the North East Regional categories for top Country House and top Romantic Hotel. It was one of three shortlisted for the 2013 Scottish Rural Restaurant of the Year and is a finalist in the 2013-14 AA Wine Awards.
Its Executive Chef, David Littlewood, won the 2013 Scottish Chef of the Year competition at ScotHot, the country’s biggest catering and hospitality show. Judges in the competition in Glasgow included world famous chef Albert Roux. “David impressed us in every aspect,” President of the Scottish Chefs’ Federation Kevin MacGillivray summed up afterwards on behalf of the judges.
A Masterchef of Great Britain, David has won numerous other accolades including Grampian Young Chef of the Year in 2002, Grampian Chef of the Year in 2007 and a Medaille d’Or at the Scottish Hotel Awards in 2010.
Raemoir sits in 11 acres of secluded lawn and parkland surrounded by 3,500 acres of hill and forest, a 25 minute drive from Aberdeen. Its dining room, historically the Oval Ballroom, is one of the most splendidly atmospheric in the Highlands. The hotel was formerly the residence of Lord Cowdray, owner of Pearson Longman Press, publisher of the Financial Times.
Two distinct buildings house the 20 individually decorated ensuite bedrooms – the main Georgian mansion and The Ha’ Hoose which dates back to 1715 and is currently the subject of research by Historic Scotland.
Fishing is important for Raemoir which is also on Scotland’s Whisky, Castle and Golf Trails and the hotel offers fisherman’s rates for groups of 3 or more anglers.
“We have all the facilities anglers would normally expect at an hotel,” Neil Rae said. “Added to that we have a secluded, elegant, historic building and one of the most exciting kitchen teams in the UK.
David Littlewood also believes location is one of Raemoir’s main strengths – and that includes its proximity to the Dee.
“Here you feel you’re in the middle of the Highlands yet if you turn left at the end of the drive you’re in one of the most switched-on cities in Europe,” he commented. “Turn right and in the same time you’re in the middle of the Cairngorms watching herds of red deer or golden eagles, or fishing for the king of fish on the Dee.”
RAEMOIR HOUSE HOTEL
Banchory, Aberdeenshire AB31 4ED
Many years ago a well respected Dee Ghillie said to me ‘when we have water we catch lots of fish, but when we have low water then salmon become very difficult to catch’. I have never forgotten this comment and it then leads you to another matter of consideration, are there many fish? Well the feedback from my sources suggests that there are salmon and grilse coming in on high tides but they are not being captured in good numbers; salmon fishing can be a fickle sport at times. FishDee beats have reported 70 salmon and 13 sea trout for the past week. Park reported 11 with Ballogie and Crathes reporting 5 apiece. In low water angling effort is considerably reduced and with the fine summer weather there are a lot of other attractions in Deeside that visiting anglers take the time to go and visit, perhaps concentrating their fishing effort to a few hours in the morning and evening.
Correspondence has come this week from Clive Miles commenting ‘Hi Ken, I wanted to share another excellent week with you and the FishDee website. Our hosts, Leslie and Geoff Lockett both took several fish between them, the highlight being Lelly’s fish caught with a full audience on Lummels Pool. The core guests (including 6 kids and 3 dogs!) were Colonel Angus and Rachel Philp, Patricia and Clive Miles staying at Ballogie House – fantastic accommodation and just a short trip to the beat. Geoff caught a fresh 5lbs fish on a Silver Stoat, 10lbs stale fish on a Pot Belly Pig and 2 Sea Trout, Clive caught 3 fish, all fresh, 6.5lbs, 21lbs (his record to date), 6lbs and 1 Sea Trout all from Lummels, all on Park Shrimp! Embarrassingly, he also lost 2 fish in Irrigation on a Silver Stoat. Colonel Angus took a Sea Trout for the week. A fantastic week on Aboyne – thank you so much to our wonderful hosts and all those on Deeside who make it such a great community for a family Holiday.’ I asked Clive if he could provide information about the 21lb salmon and he advised’ 21lbs cock very slightly coloured, measured rather than weighed, caught at approx 0930 on Monday morning, floating line, really gentle take followed by a steady fight using the faster water to put the pressure on me when playing it. I was determined to release in the water and was by myself when I caught the fish, so no photo, just measured from butt to join 1 on rod.’
Leslie Lockett with a grilse from the Lummels
Please remember I need your help to write this weekly column, write with any news of catches or anecdotes with images to firstname.lastname@example.org Tight Lines to you all! Copyright FishDee. Ken Reid © FishDee Ltd.
SALMON & GRILSE: Ardoe and Murtle 1, Kingcausie 2, Culter 2, Altries and Lower Drum 3, Upper Drum and Lower Durris 4, Park 11, Lower Crathes and W Durris 3, Crathes 5, Little Blackhall and Inchmarlo 1, Upper Blackhall 1, Cairnton 3, Commonty 2, Sluie 1, Ballogie 5, Carlogie 1, Dess 4, Aboyne Water 3, Aboyne Castle 1, Craigendinnie 3, Waterside and Ferrar 3, Dinnet 1, Deecastle 2, Headinch and Cambus O’May 2, Monaltrie and Lower Invercauld 4, Crathie 3, Total 71
SEA TROUT: Ardoe and Murtle 1, Culter 1, Tilbouries 1, Upper Drum and Lower Durris 1, Park 2, Woodend 1, Carlogie 2, Craigendinnie 1, Waterside and Ferrar 1, Deecastle 1, Monaltrie and Lower Invercauld 1, Total 13
At this time of the year when sport is slow we need something to change for the salmon to become more responsive. Ideally a good lift in river levels brings new fish forward and gets other fish that have been resting a while to continue their upstream migration. Ghillies are suggesting that numbers of fish this year are not as plentiful as we have enjoyed the last few seasons during our wet summers. Will we see any significant change for the week ahead? The week ahead sees weather forecasters suggesting sunshine and some rain on Wednesday and perhaps Saturday/Sunday with an air temperature maxima of 20 degrees Celsius and overnight lows getting down to perhaps 7 degrees Celsius. River levels have dropped back to low summer levels. The Sepa gauges are currently between 4 inches at Mar Lodge and 7 inches at Park. Tides will be building during the week from 4.1 metres to 4.7 metres-big spring tides which should see new fish coming forward.
Always observe the sound advice offered by your Ghillie and fish the spots they recommend diligently and stealthily. No doubt small Cascades, Park Shrimps, Stoats Tail flies and red Frances flies will catch fish this week and really make an effort to tie a half hitch to your fly and fish it more square than a conventional 45 degree downstream cast. This alters the presentation of the fly to the fish and does seem to make some respond when they see it. Long leaders and small flies are really necessary to help winkle some out. If you need more flies or other equipment please visit Somers of Aberdeen, Orvis in Banchory, Strachan’s of Aboyne and Countrywear in Ballater. Another must visit place at lunchtime is the Kincardine O’Neil Post office for a super range of sandwiches and fishing flies.
With the good level of rod availability on FishDee if you are considering a visit for a few days then please remember to look at the good range of accommodation on offer in the where to stay section on the FishDee website. Remember to ask for Fisherman’s rates if you are coming in a group of 3 or more anglers for stays of 3 days or more. There is a quick online survey about hotel accommodation provision on the FishDee daily catches page and the feedback from this indicates that anglers are very well looked after and getting excellent value for money so take advantage of what’s on offer and come and fish the Dee.
Finally an important thing for you to remember when you arrive on your chosen beat. All anglers and Ghillies are being asked to ensure anglers have their waders and any landing nets sprayed with a mild disinfectant prior to commencing fishing, even when they are fishing different River Dee beats during their week on the river. It’s a condition of the River Dee Conservation code and must be strictly adhered to; all beats have supplies to ensure this is carried out prior to entering the river. It’s a quick procedure that will help the river and prevent ingress of unwanted pathogens and non native species entering the River Dee watercourse. We also want to prevent the transfer of the highly problematic ranunculus from the lower part of the river to the upper part. Please remember to write with any news of catches or anecdotes with images to email@example.com Tight Lines to you all! Copyright FishDee. Ken Reid © FishDee Ltd.