The Tweed – recreation, romance and history
The Tweed, one of Scotland’s great rivers, (in spite of the fact that its final few miles flow through England) is a magnet for those who look upon fly fishing as a sporting art form.
Taking life from a 1500 sq mile (4000 sq km) catchment area of wild Border uplands and fertile valleys, the Tweed, flowing 98-miles to Berwick and the sea, fully deserves its reputation as one of the world’s great salmon and trout fisheries.
It reputedly catches more Atlantic salmon than any river in the European Union and has been a favourite with anglers since the 17th century. Record books from the 1800’s show the numbers of fish being taken from the river numbering in their tens of thousands. Locally created ties such as Greenwell’s Glory and Jock Scott, together with scores of other colourful characters are cast across the Tweed’s bountiful, if moody, waters by thousands of fly fishers over the course of the season - one of the longest, running from Feb 1 to November 30.
Today the river is the source of very big business indeed and you could find yourself rubbing shoulders with some high profile fishing fans. Royalty and celebrities such as game show host Chris Tarrant, cricketer Ian Botham and the actor Geoffrey Palmer are Tweed regulars.
In Scotland fishing permits can range from £30 to £1,000 a day and stretches of the Tweed are among the most sought after. In October at the Junction Pool, where the Teviot joins big brother Tweed just outside Kelso, it can cost up to £30,000 a week for five rods to fish.
That’s serious money for serious players who are prepared to travel from all over the world to put their skills to the test on the Tweed.
But the Tweed has an appeal beyond angling. For almost 100 miles the river flows through some of the most beautiful countryside, with historic settings to match, in Britain. Forming part of the border between England and Scotland it has flowed silently seaward as men have marched to war across the centuries, witnessed castles and fortified towers reduced to ruins and thousands laid low in the killing fields of Flodden. From its source to Berwick-on-Tweed where it spills out into the North Sea, the Tweed – romantic, historic and recreational – is one of the Borders’ class acts.