Thursday, April 26, 2012

A change from my usual haunts.

My girlfriend Lillian surprised me last week by announcing she had booked a nights stay for us in the supposedly haunted Chillingham Castle, Northumberland.

Chillingham Castle. Very scary place.

As well as looking forward to seeing her scared out of her wits for 24 hrs I also knew I could squeeze in a couple of hours fishing! A quick look on the castle website informed me that a permit could be purchased for the River Till that runs through the castle estate. Lillian also wanted to visit the Holy Island of Lindisfarne on the way home on Wed so I had a look at Google Earth and liked the look of Seahouses harbour for a spot of fishing.

We arrived on Tues afternoon and were shown up to the "Grey Apartment" where we would be spending the night. We ditched our overnight bags and explored the parts of the castle that are open to the public and had a walk around the beautiful gardens. No paranormal activity in these areas.

The Great Hall. Original name.
Very nice but must be a right pain to maintain!

After that it was time for some fishing related exploration so we took a walk up to the lake. This was leased to a local angling club so I thought there would be plenty of fish in it. A short walk up through the woods and we found the lake. No ghosts here either.

Not a big water but the fish were very active.

We started watching for signs of fish and straight away we could see a few trout rising but frustratingly I couldn't return with my gear as access was restricted to members of the local club only. We walked back down to the castle and I got a permit from the estate office for the River Till and we made the short drive along the road to reach it. We had a nice walk along the bank and I enjoyed a couple of hours fishing with three small brownies showing interest in my lures but as ever I didn't manage to hook any of them. I think I may start fishing small flies on a bombarda setup and will try this soon.

Much like the Water of Leith brown trout their Northumbrian cousins gave me the run around.

We headed back to our apartment and had a candlelit dinner. I thought that the atmospheric lighting would get the spirits in the mood for a bit of mischief but they must have been watching Barcelona v Chelsea down the village pub. Off to bed we went. I nodded off straight away and enjoyed a good night's sleep and whilst Lillian didn't, due to being terrified, she told me that nothing strange had occurred so all in all our short stay in this "haunted castle" had been a bit of a disappointment for her!

In the morning, before we left Chillingham, we headed up the hill behind the castle to see the wild cattle that are thought to be the only remaining survivors of the wild herds that once roamed the forests of Great Britain several hundreds of years ago.


Back down the hill and off we went to Seahouses so I could have an hour or two fishing in the harbour. The tide was almost fully out when we arrived so not ideal and as I jigged around edges of the harbour wall there was no sign of any fish. I tried bouncing my lure back along the sandy bottom too but again there was no sign of any fish. I decided to leave the harbour and go explore the rockpools to the west to see if I could catch something there. I hoped it might even produce a new species for me but instead these two long spined sea scorpions taken on some and Gulp! Fish Fry would have to suffice.

Nicely marked red, beige and turquoise long spined sea scorpion.
Small, plain and brown. Still beautiful though with fins flared!

Back in the car and we headed north to the Holy Island of Lindisfarne that is cut off at high tide. We drove out over the causeway and spent an hour visiting the castle, walking along to see the ruins of the priory and having a late lunch in one of the many cafes in the small village.

Lindisfarne Castle. Built using stone taken from the Priory.
Could have been a bit more ambitious and built a bigger castle then.

No time for fishing unfortunately before we had to leave due to the tide cutting the island off. Lovely area and I'd like to revisit in the future and skip the ghost hunting and do a bit more fishing!

Tight lines, Scott.

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