Past, Present and Future of Fishing at MG
The history of fishing on the River Tweed dates to the 12th century, and this magnificent stretch of water has seen incredible change over that time. Not limited to adapting fishing practice but also political challenges, as Berwick-Upon-Tweed has changed ownership from Scotland and England 14 times!
Salmon fishing used to be one of the most lucrative industries for the Scottish Borders and Northumberland, with around 800 local men being employed in salmon netting at the end of the 18th century. In the 1960’s there were over 30 netting stations before this practice changed dramatically in the 1980’s. In 1987 there was an organised buy out of netting stations on the river and ever since there has been more emphasis on conservation of wild salmon as fishing stocks dwindled at the turn of the 21st century.
The River Tweed now has around 45 well managed salmon fishing beats that collectively catch between 5,000 and 7,000 salmon per year. At Milne Graden, we catch between 120 and 250 fish per year, including Atlantic salmon and sea trout.
The Milne Graden beat is 1.4 miles long and consists of 9 pools, each with their own unique character and fishing experience. The beat is managed by our estate team and has a full time ghillie, known as Kev the Hat due to never having been seen without his trusty cap.
Kev helps our guests to be in the best position to catch a salmon, no matter whether it is the first time in the river or if they are a seasoned professional. The visiting fishermen not only get the thrill of trying to land a catch, but they get to enjoy the unspoilt estate surroundings and abundance of wildlife including kingfishers, otters and dippers.
The original round Littlehaugh Fishing Shiel has been converted to include a fitted kitchen, wood burning stove and flushing loo (quite the luxury in the fishing world!). This bolthole adds to the experience of fishing at Milne Graden as it certainly warms you up in the chilly winter months and is the perfect spot for an al fresco lunch in the summer.
Just as the river has evolved over the years, we continue to work to increase access and education about this magnificent part of our estate. The River Tweed is one of the most famous salmon fishing rivers in the world and we are extremely lucky to have an input on its conservation for future generations.
This year we have launched a new website and social media platforms which will be home to the Milne Graden Fishing stories. We hope that this new online presence will allow more people from near and far to become aware of the river and to learn about fishing, the nature within and around the beat, and the people who so passionately conserve it.
Our hope it to continue developing this digital presence in the future and encourage fishing enthusiasts to enjoy experiential holidays which combine the wonderful cottages and country pursuits available at Milne Graden.
At a time when people are being actively encouraged to re-engage with nature, to step away from their screens and increase their social time, we hope that people will fall in love with one of the oldest country sports and raw beauty of the River Tweed.
Check out our new Milne Graden Fishing website – www.milnegradenfishing.com.