River Tweed Opening Day: A Celebration of Tradition and Community

Feb 15, 2024 | Blog, News

The River Tweed opening day on February 1st in Kelso marked a momentous occasion, celebrated with enthusiasm and pride by the local community, anglers, and enthusiasts from across the region. As Head of FishPal, Will Draper had the pleasure of attending this splendid event, which was not only a tribute to the rich fishing traditions of the area but also a vibrant demonstration of community spirit and dedication to the preservation of our rivers and the sport of fishing.

Will Draper – Head of FishPal writes: “We were delighted and proud to attend the River Tweed opening day on February 1st in Kelso. It was a fabulous day, blue and sunny, and the picturesque town centre made a great backdrop for the traditional march down to the river, replete with bagpipers in full regalia, local dignitaries, and a group of young fly fishers too. The Duchess of Sutherland poured the customary dram of malt into the river and made a creditable first cast in windy conditions, and the river was declared open. Fly fishers descended on the river in large numbers and it was not long before the first springer was captured. For those more inclined to the warmth of a fire and a comfy armchair, the Ednam House Hotel hosted a first Tweed film festival. In the evening, after drinks and a good natter at the local fishing shop Fin and Game, we got suited and booted for Kelso’s answer to the Oscars: the River Tweed Awards dinner. FishPal was honoured to present the Boatman of the Year award, and there were similar gongs for the best beat, hut, and so on. Of particular note was a special award for two ghillies who had heroically saved a group of kayakers in difficulties in heavy water late at night.

FishPal’s involvement in the event extended beyond mere participation. We played an active role in the celebrations, contributing in three significant ways. Firstly, by being part of the judging panel for the Shopfront dressing competition, we witnessed the creativity and enthusiasm of the local businesses in showcasing their support for the event. Presenting the Boatman of the Year award was a privilege, allowing us to recognise the dedication and skill of those who are instrumental in providing memorable fishing experiences. Most importantly, our commitment to fostering the next generation of anglers was evident through our support for the River Tweed Foundation. Thanks to the generosity of our anglers, we donated £8000, a testament to our collective effort to nurture a passion for fishing among youngsters and ensure the sustainable future of this noble pastime.

In conclusion, the River Tweed opening day was more than just the commencement of the fishing season; it was a celebration of tradition, community, and the shared commitment to preserving the natural beauty and heritage of the River Tweed. As we reflect on the success of the event, it’s clear that the spirit of collaboration and the joy of fishing continue to thrive, thanks to the support and dedication of individuals and organisations like FishPal. We look forward to continuing our support for the River Tweed and its community, fostering a love for fishing in the hearts of many more to come.

Learn more about the River Tweed here: https://www.fishpal.com/Scotland/Tweed/

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