I have a fascination with angling history and there are certain iconic waters that have a special place recorded forever in classic angling literature. One of angling’s greatest writers Hugh Tempest Sheringham wrote of Blagdon in his classic work “An Open Creel” published in 1910.
“On the first day I fished Blagdon conditions were unfavourable, the wind being cold and the fish sulky.” A hundred odd years later on my first trip to Blagdon I could write those same words. My trip to this beautiful lake with two friends proved fruitless with not one fish succumbing to my offerings in over nine hours fishing. Garry did manage a brace of rainbows and I did see a few fish caught so just have to concede that the fish beat me on this occasion.
I will return for certain one day soon as failure is something I like to rectify. So with no fish there was still plenty to savour. The old fishing Lodge standing proudly beside the lake with its distinctive Tudor exterior. The fine cased fish on display within and the old log fireplace where generations of anglers have reminisced.
To walk in the footsteps of H.T Sheringham seeing a valley that will have changed over the years yet undoubtedly still retains so much. Sheringham wrote of the nearby village of Blagdon. “ On the right lies Blagdon Village, scattered delightfully over twin spurs of Blackdown, a fortunate village, which seems to have grown naturally in the most becoming manner, not too crowded nor yet too widespread, a village whose very existence is an answer to those who cavil at the English nation for not being blessed with artistic sense. I have known rise from four- pounders missed because the angler was so busy admiring Blagdon village, with its grey church tower and wealth of fruit blossom, and one cannot praise it more highly than by that confession. On the left lie richly wooded slopes with a picturesque farm or two nestling among the trees. In front is the Lake almost as far as one can see……”.
Before breakfast I took a short walk around the village of Rickford. The old Methodist Chapel has been converted to a masonic lodge and overlooks a charming weedy pond that screamed wild carp to me but probably never held one.
The old Bristol Water gauging station straddles the brook that flows through the heart of the village past the pub and under an old bridge before meandering to emerge somewhere in the Bristol Channel.
An early morning walk in an English village is always time well spent giving a connection to the place and its ambience.