Wednesday, 31 March 2010

Errwood Reservoir Day Tickets Now Available at The Wine Shop

From 30th March 2010, anglers wishing to fish at Errwood Reservoir, will be able to purchase their tickets at The Wine Shop in Leek.

The reservoir occupies 85 acres in an area of outstanding natural beauty in the Peak National Park between Buxton, Whaley Bridge and Macclesfield.

Fishing rights to Errwood Reservoir include the three feeder streams that form the headwaters of the Goyt. There is ample parking and plenty of fishing just a few yards away. For anglers who do not enjoy a long walk, the close proximity of a gentle sloping bank is much appreciated. Friendship and a chat about angling supplement a fine fishing venue.

Regular stockings take place throughout the season of well finned, high quality Rainbow Trout from carefully sourced, approved suppliers. For the 2010 season it is intended to stock fish between 2 and 6lbs with a number of even larger fish to supplement each stocking. In addition, Errwood sustains a population of indigenous wild Brown Trout to 1 1/4lb. These are hard fighting, take a small fly at lightening speed and will test even the most experienced angler.

Please click here to visit the Errwood Fly Fishing Club website for more info

Day tickets cost £15 each for a 3 fish limit. Buy a bottle of whisky from us when you collect your day ticket and we'll put a dram or two in your hip flask!

Leonie and David

Monday, 29 March 2010

John Tyzack Masterclass Re-unites Pointon and Peter "Pollock"

Sunday 28th March 2010. Glen Pointon and John Tyzack had got their heads together to organise the first JT Masterclass of the Trout Season. We'd had plenty of rain over the previous days but the river Dove had settled back into good conditions, slightly up with the slightest hint of colour. I was to join the boys for lunch at the boards and transport them back to their cars at Dovedale at the end of the day. And so, at about 12 noon, I found the lads in fine form, I could here the laughter, swearing and potteries slang not long after leaving the lovely little village of Milldale.

Glen had got in touch with our old friend Peter "Pollock". Peter had joined us on our trip to Islay in September 2009, where he'd treated us to his culinary delights and also showed us a thing or two about angling. We discovered early on that he was very good at rock fishing for Pollock...and so we thought we were quite original by giving him the affectionate nickname of "Pollock". Anyway, it was clear that they were over the moon about being reunited, Glen not being able to conceal his feelings!

Glen was ready to provide the humourous anecdotes while all enjoyed their coffee. The story of the day was "Pointon's Peephole" much to the merriment of rest of the group. Please contact Glen if you have any questions about it as I am not prepared to repeat it's contents here.

The Masterclass 
(From Left to right)
Ads Booth, Guy (Orvisfan), Peter Pollock, Pointon, Wesser, and Tyzack. Brian was elsewhere at the time.

I can't remember  taking this pic but the content is, nevertheless, quite funny. I think Pointon had been responsible for the first round of coffees and bacon. You only need to look at what he appears to be doing at the back of the pic, and Brian's body language, to understand that something hadn't been cooked properly! I think he may have been "looking for Hughy".

Pointon had other problems too. He'd managed to loose both his wading belt and his shoulder straps for his waders. Consequently, they were being held up by his gut alone. This, many remarked, gave him the appearance of a small child with a very full nappy.

During the morning session, Tyzack had been giving the lads group tuition and all were talking about the great amount of benefit they had gained from this. All were eager to put their new skills into practice and between them, they had managed a few fish. Brian, unfortunately, had an accident with his Sage rod, and so, we had a quick swap around of rods and I decided to confine my fishing for the day to an evening session at Dovedale.

The afternoon was enjoyed at quite a leasurely pace. John spent a while with each member of the group, guiding, advising and consolodating their learning from the morning sessions.

Brian showed us how to keep cool whilst angling under extreme pressure, whilst being watched closely by 5 or 6 fellow fisherman, one of which, quite literally, fishes for England.

Pointon, usually famed for looking at the fish and not the camera, looks at the camera and not at the fish.
Over the last 3 or 4 months, every other word he has spoken has been "Grayling". He even looks a bit odd holding a trout!


Monday, 15 March 2010

Mark Unsworth of Islay Studios Photographs Dovedale

Mark Unsworth visited us in Leek last week and we had a stroll up Dovedale. Mark is a professional photographer and owns the Islay Studios on the Hebridean island of Islay.

Mark kindly offered to take a few pics of the conditions at Dovedale. A little bit different to mine aren't they! Thanks Mark, they're fantastic!


Sunday, 14 March 2010

Queen of the Moorlands Whisky Tasting Dates for Islay Festival of Malt and Music 2010

At last, we've set the dates for the Queen of the Moorlands Whisky tastings to be held at this year's Islay Festival of Malt and Music. We'd like to invite you to join us at one of our friendly, informal tastings, where you will have the chance to talk to us about, and more importantly, to taste, the fantastic new whiskies that we are about to bottle in time for the festival.

Each tasting event will consist of a tasting of 4 whiskies, at least 3 of which will be from Islay and at least 3 of which will be very rare, Single Cask, Single Malt Whiskies of the very highest quality. One of the whiskies will be The Queen of the Moorlands Rare Cask Islay Festival Bottling 2010 which is a fantastic 1997 peated Bunnahabhain from a sherry hogshead.

We only bottle a few casks each year and because the Queen of the Moorlands Whisky Company is not our main business, we do not have to have a full range at all times like many of the other independent bottlers do. We only bottle what we consider to be a fantastic example of each distilleries house style.

Every year, our tastings are becoming more and more popular because of the quality and style of whiskies that we show. If at all possible, and of course, weather permitting, we hold our whisky tasting outdoors which promotes a friendly and informal atmosphere where enthusiasts can have a chat with myself or with other members of our "Whisky Committee" who help choose which whiskies end up under The Queen of the Moorlands Rare Cask's a tough job but someone's got to do it.

If you are interested in attending one of our tastings, please email me as soon as possible (, and I will reserve a place for you. This year we will be busier than ever so please contact me ASAP to avoid disappointment.

The venue will be in Bowmore and we will confirm this as soon as we have more info. Tickets can be booked through myself and paid for on the day of the tasting at The Islay Whisky Shop. A refund of £5 will be given by The Islay Whisky Shop against the total price of one or more bottles of Queen of the Moorlands Whiskies tasted at the tasting, and purchased that day at The Islay Whisky Shop.

Queen of the Moorlands Islay Festival Whisky Tastings 2010

Monday 24th May 2010 4.30pm to 6.30pm
Wednesday 26th May 2010 4.30pm to 6.30pm
Thursday 27th May 2010 4.30pm to 6.30pm

We hope that we will see you at one of our tastings.

Please click here for more information about the new bottlings.



PS This pic shows a wee gem from the past..our famous Queen of the Moorlands "OurBeg" Single Cask...sadly, it sold out in a week!

Friday, 5 March 2010

Conditions and Tree Work at Milldale

Had a couple of hours at Milldale this morning and it was great to be fishing in the sun for a change. At the top end of the LADFFA stretch there were no fish to be seen. The river was absolutely gin clear and I knew it was going to be another tough day's fishing at the back end of the Grayling season.

It was interesting to see the lads at work on the tree management. The work has opened up one or two new swims where previously a cast would have been extremely tricky. I was quite amazed at the amount of work that had been completed at the Milldale end of our stretch compared to what I saw a couple of days ago at Dovedale.

Conditions were incredibly difficult, in my experience, you need a little more colour in order to catch a few fish.

I did manage a couple of small fish but they were very hard to find. The only place that I saw fish was around Ilam rock and these were all trout that were frantically feeding. I paused for a bite to eat on the footbridge and tucked into a pork pie, I was amazed when a large trout smashed at a flake of pastry that I had accidentally dropped.

It was a joy to be fishing with my 6 foot glass rod and I think it will by my choice of rod for Dovedale and Milldale in the season to come.

Thursday, 4 March 2010

John Mac Lellan Joins Kilchoman Distillery Team

Great news...we've just been told that John MacLellan, Distillery Manager at Bunnahabhain for the last 12 years, is leaving to step into the new General Manager position at Islay's newest distillery, Kilchoman.

John takes up the exciting position on the 3rd of May and Leonie and I wish him all the best for the future.

Well done John! Keep an eye on our cask of Kilchoman!

Click here for the Kilchoman Distillery website.


David and Leonie

Wednesday, 3 March 2010

New Queen of the Moorlands Bottlings Chosen for Islay Festival of Malt and Music 2010

Last Friday night I met up with Gordon Richards, Jane Jervis and Adrian Shufflebotham to nose, taste and to ultimately select the next whiskies to be part of our Queen of the Moorlands range of Rare Cask whiskies....and what a treat it turned out to be.

We were to taste 4 whisky samples and select whiskies to be bottled in time for the forthcoming Islay Festival of Malt and Music and for the tastings that we do there. One of the whiskies would also go on to be our Queen of the Moorlands bottling especially for the Festival. As far as we know, we are the only independent bottler to bottle a whisky especially for the Feis Ile.

We decided that we would be bottling 3 out of the 4 whiskies that we tasted. All will be bottled at natural cask strength, without any colouring or chill filtering. They will be bottled straight from the cask as always. These whiskies are bottled from one single cask and are therefore extremely limited in number. There will be around 200 to 300 bottles of each whisky, and when it has gone, the flavour unique to each individual cask will never be repeated. Each bottle will be hand labelled and individually numbered.

One of the three whiskies was chosen as our Islay Festival Bottling 2010, and this was to be the Bunnahabhain 1997 heavily peated from a sherry hogshead...wonderful stuff!

Queen of the Moorlands Rare Cask New Bottlings 2010 Tasting Notes

1. Queen of the Moorlands Rare Cask Bowmore 1999 10 years old

Nose: Sweet, light and heathery at first with slowly building peat
Palate: Again sweet but incredibly smokey with a very oily mouthfeel
Finish: Smooth, medicinal, peaty and very long

Max 200 bottles available. £49.99 per bottle

2. Queen of the Moorlands Rare Cask Laphroaig 1996 13 years old

Nose: Light peat smoke followed by red fruit and spice
Palate: Very sweet, phenolic, bonfires, oily mouthfeel
Finish: Huge peat smoke aftertaste that lasts forever

Max 200 bottles available. £59.99 per bottle

3. Queen of the Moorlands Rare Cask Bunnahabhain 1997 12 years old Islay Festival Bottling 2010

Nose: Classy and rich with raisins, smoke and the seashore
Palate: Smooth with vanilla, olorosso sherry notes, fruit and nut chocolate, raisins and hints of the sea, oh and lots and lots of peat smoke
Finish: Rich and clean, the sweetness and peat smoke lingers for an age

Max 300 bottles available. £59.99 per bottle

All of these whiskies are still in cask at the moment, awaiting to be bottled shortly, but if you would like to reserve stock, please don't hesitate to contact us to secure a bottle or two of these fine drams. The Bunnahabhain in particular will sell very quickly.

We don't ship overseas but if you live on Islay or if you are visiting the island during the festival, we can take payment and arrange to deliver to you between the 22nd May and June 5th.

Don't forget we'll be holding our whisky tastings during the festival week where Adrian, Jane and I will be happy to talk you through the new whiskies.



Monday, 1 March 2010

Hard Day on The Severn Produces Pointon's PB

It had been 3 weeks since my last fishing outing, 3 weeks since one of my best fish producing sessions since I decided to take up fly fishing a couple of years ago. I was looking forward to getting out and Glen and I had arranged to meet up with John Tyzack and Roger Bryant for a return visit to the fantastic Upper Severn....and what a day of contrasts it would turn out to be.

I'd set my alarm for 6am with the responsibility of providing Mr Pointon with his alarm call. On the 5th call, I'd managed to awake him from his slumber and by 6.40am, he'd picked me up and the van was pointing towards Wales, well, sort of once Glen had negotiated a dubious detour around Stoke. After a huge breakfast (as ever) we arrived at the bridge pool on the river where we'd fared so well on our previous visit, the colour of the water being the first obvious difference, it was green.

There were no fish to be seen, and after a fruitless half hour, we decided to make our way upstream, having been given a little more info by local anglers as to where we might find a lunker lady or two.

The fishing was incredibly hard but Glen managed to find a good fish in some fast, shallow water.

This lovely Grayling of 2lb 4oz gave our well spoken angler friend a right scrap, and we shouted encouragement and abuse at him as he tried to land it. All of us green with envy at his success...Roger and I steadily closing in on him, desperate to poach his swim.

Within minutes though Glen had found the big Grayling's partner, and so he landed another, slightly smaller but beautiful fish of just under the 2lb mark.

Both John and Roger landed a few, smaller fish between them, but all agreed that the fishing was incredibly tough, especially me, given the fact that I was coming to terms with the fact that it was looking incredibly likely that today, I'd be on a dreaded blank.

Tyzack, determined as ever, skillfully endeavoured to reach the parts that other anglers cannot reach with fantastic technique, exploring rarely fished swims that must have held fish, but still, there were very few takes.

We spoke to a few of the local anglers about the tough conditions and the common theme seemed to be that freezing cold water had been released from Llyn Clywedog Reservoir, further upstream, and this had killed the fishing, the previous days angling also proving to be relatively tough.

We'd walked miles and taken very few fish, but it was great to be out with the lads and encouraging to see the first tell tale signs of spring being just around the corner, you could smell it in the air.

As ever, Pointon provided the laughter, reeling off, new, unrepeatable stories that had us all in tears. The fishing had tested us to the limit and we were even reduced to having a stone skimming competition, Pointon clearly embarrassed by the skill shown by myself and Tyzack, both of us producing skims of 10 bounces or more to his pathetic 2 or 3 bounces.

But...he caught a couple of lovely lunkers, and I blanked.

Well done ****