Records show Caurnie Angling Club to have been in existence since 1925 when it was formed from the amalgamation of other local clubs including the Kelvin Valley Angling Club and Kirkintilloch Angling Club.
In 1943, the Burgh of Kirkintilloch granted the Club the lease of Antermony Loch, which was the local water supply. The Club has held the lease of the loch since then, albeit through several changes of ownership: Central Regional Council (1975); East of Scotland Water (1996); and the latest in 1998 when East Dunbartonshire Council obtained the loch. In 1998, a ten-year renewable lease was signed with East Dunbartonshire Council with a view to the Club making significant capital investment at the loch including building a clubhouse. This failed to transpire for a variety of reasons, but mainly because one of the buildings, the demolition of which would be necessary, was retained by the Water Board until 2005.
In early 2018 an extension to the ongoing lease of the loch by the Club was granted by the Council, until the year 2043.
Throughout the Club’s tenancy, its ethos has been the provision of quality, traditional trout fishing for the community, at prices all sections of the community can afford. Membership is open to all at a very reasonable cost. A full season’s fishing (205 days) costs around the same as four days on a commercial rainbow trout fishery. Day tickets are available in local outlets for non-members and visitors, and many bird watchers and locals visit the Loch. This benefit to the community is reflected in our large membership, currently over 200, with a thriving junior membership of over 30. This makes the Club one of the largest in Scotland.
Under the Club’s stewardship Antermony Loch is now one of the few local waters to offer predominantly traditional brown trout fishing, in contrast to the many local rainbow trout ponds, two of which are located within quarter of a mile of the Loch.
The Club stocks fish at scientifically recommended levels, to minimise harm to the loch. The Club also uses traditional algal control techniques such as barley straw bales
Over the years sympathetic management of the loch and its environs has produced a haven for wildlife. In addition to the fish, there a great variety of birdlife, plus abundant insect life and mammals such as; rabbits, stoats, pipistel bats, butterflies and moths etc. and in the summer we have ospreys and otters as visitors. To illustrate this diversity, below is a list of some of the birdlife recorded by one of our members: barn owl, blue tit, buzzard, carrion crow, chaffinch, coal tit, coot, curlew, goldeneye, goldfinch, goosander, great crested grebe, great tit, greylag goose, grey wagtail, heron, kestrel, lapwing, linnet, little grebe, mallard, mistle thrush, moorhen, mute swan, osprey, oyster catcher, peregrine falcon, pheasant, pied wagtail, pochard, raven, reed bunting, ruddy duck, sand martin, sedge warbler, snipe, song thrush, sparrow-hawk, swallow, teal, treecreeper, tufted duck, widgeon, wren, and yellowhammer
Recently, in addition to the other improvements, the Club has bought weeping birch trees, for planting at the lochside, built bridges over feeders, casting platforms and a special easy access jetty for less active anglers. The club has laid many metres of improved pathway to assist access for anglers and visitors.
The following account (original author unknown) has been passed down through the Club’s Secretaries. Roger Hughes writes that when he became Club Secretary, “back in mediaeval times”, he was handed a box of documents which included a history of the Club from 1925-1950. He has since worked to keep this updated.
The following document by an unknown author has been passed down through the Club’s Secretaries – Roger Hughes, Secretary 2011
THE SILVER JUBILEE OF THE CAURNIE ANGLING CLUB 1925 – 1950
The Caurnie Angling Club, Kirkintilloch, founded on May 9th1925, will celebrate its Silver Jubilee at the Club’s annual social evening on Jan 5th 1950.
Several of its founder members will be present, men who are justly proud of the progress the Club has made since its humble beginnings in the hard-up twenties.
The handful who first discussed the idea, reckoned it was high-time Kirkintilloch had an angling club. After all, their forefathers had whipped the waters of Dunbartonshire and Stirlingshire for generations past. But even they were surprised at the enthusiasm they encountered. In no time at all 122 local men had forked out a shilling each to become Caurnie’s first members.
The General Strike, in 1926, gave them, if anything, far too much time for fishing. The Club had no home water. Few could afford the expense of outings to distant waters. But no man ever sat at home on that account. Those who were ‘flush’, gave generously and showed they had in their breasts the true spirit of Izaak Walton.
The Club fished Loch Ard, the Corrie Dam, Banton Loch, the Forth, the Kelty, the Endrick, the Clyde, the Teith, Blackwater and the Isla. And right heartily were they welcomed wherever they turned up with their rods and their creels.
We hear much today of the good old days, when anglers were fewer, travel was more difficult, the poachers took only what they needed for the pot. Our streams and lochs, then, it would seem, were chockful of fish.
Yet the Caurnie Anglers, despite their high reputation, enjoyed many a day of lean sport. Four outings, which took place within the months of 1927 are worthy of more mention. They are described thus: ‘No fish – failure’. ‘No fish – but lots lost’. ‘No fish – but had a great time’, and ‘No fish – worst ever – couldny fish’. Against this, on two separate occasions total baskets of over 50 lbs of trout were returned. Did they worry? Not a bit of it. Nor did the committee lose any sleep, if any particular outing resulted in a financial loss. The fishing was the thing that counted. They didn’t give two shakes of a trout’s tail for mercenary matters. A deficit of 9/- on one occasion is recorded as ‘very good’. A profit of 2/- made from a Club social evening is described as ‘very gratifying indeed’.
However, when they DID get money through their hands, they certainly knew best how to spend it. 10/- profit was made from one venture. The committee immediately ordered one bottle of port, cost 5/6 to fill the Champions Cup.
On competition outings, there were always prizes to be fished for, so the ability of the more skilful anglers might be recognised. And what prizes!
For ¼ lb of fish in 1928, (a fourth prize) – 100 cigarettes.
For 3oz of trout, (a sixth prize) – 2lbs of tea.
For 1lb of trout – a roast from local butcher Tom MacDonald.
For 2lbs of trout – a canteen of cutlery.
It happened once when funds were low, that there were not sufficient prizes to offer at the next competition. Were they stumped? Not they. It is solemnly recorded in the annals of the club that the members of the committee themselves resolved ‘to work the town’. How successful they were in this effort can be judged from the next list of prizes. It includes an astonishing item – a half-a-ton of coal. And, believe it or not, it was won with 2 1/2 lbs of trout, caught on the River Blackwater by a Junior Member. Small wonder that the day came when a rule was passed that any Junior winning a competition should automatically become a Senior.
Later for an outing on the same river, response to an appeal for prizes was so good that 14 entrants (8 men and 6 boys) fished for 13 prizes. Every boy got a prize and 7 out of the 8 men. It seems a pity there was no ‘booby’ for the sake of the odd man out.
They were fearless men, the founders of the Caurnie Anglers. In 1928 they wrote to the Railway Company asking if it would be all right if members continued to use the previous year’s season tickets until they could get up-to-date ones. The Railway Company thought this was stretching things just a bit too far.
Throughout the years there was one question that continually irked Kirkintilloch anglers. They had to jaunt around, fishing their competitions wherever permission could be obtained. Yet they were barred from their own Town Council water supply – Antermony Loch.
The question was first raised in 1927 and an unsuccessful approach was made to the Council. In 1933 the Council took the initiative and wrote offering the lease of Antermony Loch on certain terms. These terms, the Club was reluctant to accept, and the opportunity was lost.
In 1937 another attempt was made to rent the Council water, but there were still difficulties in the way. In order to get a fishing water within easy access of Kirkintilloch, the Secretary in 1940 began negotiations for the fishing of the Glorat Waters, from Sir George Stirling of Milton of Campsie. Much good sport was had from these waters until the end of 1944, when they were given up on account of the ever-increasing trouble which was being experienced from weeds and poachers.
By this time however, the members of the Caurnie Angling Club had achieved their desire and were in sole possession of the fishing rights of Antermony Loch. Co-operation from the Town Council had enabled the opening ceremony to take place at the loch-side before a good turn-out on April 10th 1943.
The event was blessed by the presence of Council officials and that of the Rev. D. McMath, who has taken an active interest in the Club since the day of its first meeting.
The first fish caught in the loch was a pike. Not perhaps a happy omen. Later in the season another – a female weighing 33 lbs – was taken in the nets. It spawned when it was taken into the boat – just too late for its family to prey on the trout.
Their days of roaming over, the members settled down to a happy period of fishing their own loch. A completely new constitution was drawn up. New rules and regulations had to be formulated. A great deal of hard work went into the business of reorganisation. There was plenty to do, and never any lack of volunteers.
In the last few years more than £500 has been spent by the committee on boats, boat-house, nets, traps and all the other paraphernalia required to make the facilities as near perfect as possible.
£740/10/- has been spent on 21,000 trout (7000 fry, 5000 yearlings and 9000 two-year-olds). Nearly all were put into Antermony Loch. (Note from Roger Hughes – along with Antermony, the Club also leased Woodburn Reservoir, up the hill).
There are members, who maintain that all these fish must still be there, for nobody ever catches them. But they mustn’t be taken too seriously.
In the last five years, 3,200 trout have been caught in the loch, 11,680 perch, and just over 1,000 pike of which only two were taken last year. It is thought that few pike remain. The biggest trout taken in that time – a 6 pounder – was landed by Mr. R. Stevenston last summer.
Membership of the Club has now had to be limited to 150 members who pay £1 each, compared to the shilling of 1926. And there’s aye plenty on the waiting lists. Twenty juveniles are also permitted. Applications for membership come from people who live many miles away, but local men always get first preference.
To-day the Caurnie Angling Club of Kirkintilloch is in a healthy state. There are hundreds – nay thousands of trout in the loch. The equipment for the most part has been well looked after and is in good order.
Credit for all that has been done must go to many. Certainly, the original members who started what might never have been begun.
It would be invidious to name only a few of those whose efforts enable the club to look forward to the good prospects of season 1951. Some gave money – gave lavishly when the need arose. Some donated cups to be fished for annually. Some gave of their sweat and laboured over the jobs that benefit so many, but so few like to do. Some gave of their time, to work out the plan by which every member of the 150 has the exclusive right to one of the Club’s four boats for one day during each of the four different periods of the fishing season. No easy task.
But every man who has striven on behalf of the Caurnie Anglers has his own reward in the knowledge that he has helped his fellow men of Kirkintilloch to the further enjoymrnt of their beloved sport.
Long may their rods arc, to the spring of fighting trout.
Roger Hughes, the current Secretary, takes up the tale:-
They say that, ‘History is the lies of the winners’. Well I’m a fisherman, so I am expected to be ‘economical with the truth’, and in my prime I won a few of the Club’s competitions; therefore you are perfectly entitled to read the following, which is my version of the Club’s recent history, with a sceptical eye. Anyway, it’s not really a history, it’s more a series of random recollections.
Since contacting several of our senior members, some information has been forthcoming. Peter Comrie and Jim More provided old Membership Cards, which gives information on Office Bearers, subscriptions and rules. Dave Thomson provided some ‘tall tales’, and Dr. David Primrose, who joined the Club in 1962 and who, along with the Rev. Willy McLeod, has been one of our auditors since 1967, has taken the trouble to search the archives of the William Patrick Library. He has produced several leads to follow up and amongst his findings was that in 1927 a competition was cancelled because of the ‘Depression’.
I joined the Club in 1973, having applied, waited and then having been vetted at an interview. Membership cost £5. Names of previously active Club officers I heard mentionedwere, Jimmy Craig, Jim Forsythe and Ian Cooper. I was elected to the Committee in 1977. The Committee met in a wee room,upstairs in the Co-operative hall, at Broadcroft, on what is now the Kirkintilloch by-pass. Since the early 1980’s, the Committee has had its meetings at Lenzie Rugby Club.
In my early days on the Committee, the then Treasurer, Joe Perkins used to organise fishing outings. I only went on a few of these, but I gather from the then Secretary, Harry Miller, that my experience was typical. We started off very early and were driven in a mini-bus to a loch or river. The President and his cronies would commandeer any boats, leaving the rest of us to our own devices. We would fish happily, till it was time to return and then would go to the nearest town or village for a refreshment. When it was time to leave, the search of the town’s inns, pubs and hotels would begin, looking for errant anglers. This was a self-defeating strategy, because as the search party grew larger, those who had been searching longest, felt they needed a ‘quick half’ to sustain themselves and so became detached from the search party, requiring the search party to return to the establishment where they were last seen. The search of the hostelries in quite a small village could take a long time, and usually was only successful when alcoholic exhaustion had set in.
On one trip I was on, to an exclusive fly-only loch in Galloway, the bus-driver returned to the bus, with a sack containing 23 brownies caught on the diving minnow. To Caurnie members in those days, rules were elastic and subject to interpretation. I remember our late President, Jacky Stewart, in the 1980’s arguing that fly and maggot was alright on the fly-only Antermony Loch. In the Club’s boat shed, until very recently there was a small plastic dinghy that for years was kept in Jacky’s garden, filled with water and minnows for bait.
At this time a ladies angling club, the ‘Invicta’ club, were given the use of the club’s boats, free for one day a year, and a Club committee member brought them to the jetty, bailed them out, put in the oars, and put them away at night. Thank God for women’s lib.
Dr. David Primrose remembers AGMs being held under gaslight in the big Co-op hall. He reminded me of the perennial debates about bait fishing & spinning, which usually started off with a proposal to allow fishing with worms. This was followed by a number of amendment proposals, such as ‘only after June’ or ‘only when bank fishing’, or ‘only for pensioners’, or ‘only for Juniors, etc, etc until there were half-a-dozen amendments which were discussed round and round in circles, until someone proposed, ‘status quo’ and this was always carried, to the great relief of all, otherwise meetings would have lasted all night. Generally, the Committee was elected ‘en bloc’, with new members being drafted in to fill ‘dead men’s shoes’.
David also recalls the attempt by Ian Cooper to breed our own fish, which was heavily dependent on the efforts of a small number of members who attended the hatchery, built up near Woodburn, on a daily basis. Remnants of these efforts can still be found.
The Club held the lease of Antermony Loch and Woodburn Reservoir from Mid-Scotland Water Board. We had four wooden clinker boats and stocked annually with several thousand, 6 inch brown trout, letting them grow on to taking size, which was I believe 8 inches. Spinning was permitted throughout the year on Woodburn and until the end of April on Antermony. In the early 90’s Woodburn was drained because of fears for the integrity of its dam. For every trout caught on Antermony, you usually caught two perch. This persisted until the late 70’s when Errol Burchell and others, mounted a crusade against the perch, netting over 15,000 in one season, which were sold to a coarse fishery at Kilsyth. From the proceeds they bought 200 rainbow trout, which were introduced into Antermony. This policy of stocking with a small number of rainbows in the summer dog-days continues to today. Over the years the stocking policy has changed from stocking fish below taking size, to grow on; to stocking nominally at taking size, which resulted in a proportion of fish below taking size; to now, when we stock with about 3000 brownies above taking size at about 12 inches. When I started, if you caught a trout, you killed it. Now our records show more trout are returned than killed and the catch limit is reducing over time, in response to member’s wishes.
Throughout my 30+ years on the Committee, by the way I am not unique, other Committee members have longer service; the ethos of the Club has been accessibility to all members of our community. This has been achieved by keeping subscriptions as low as possible, currently £100, equivalent to four days on a commercial fishery, and to encourage Junior membership, currently about 35, with a subscription of £10. Senior Members,65+, pay £50 and Life Members, 80+, pay nothing. We have also tried to preserve traditional brown trout fishing, which is becoming increasingly rare in Central Scotland, There are two prices to be paid for this, first, brown trout cost twice as much as rainbow trout, and secondly, many new membersaccustomed to rainbow fishing have difficulty in adjusting to the reluctance of brown trout, to be easily caught and so after their first season, leave the club to go back to easier fishing on commercial fisheries. When questioned they usually say there are no fish in the loch. This is easily disproved by visiting the loch on a calm summer evening and watching the ‘evening rise’. You would believe that you could walk across the loch on the backs of the rising fish. To help new or less experienced members, we have instituted a Sunday afternoon session, where experienced members are available to take them through tackle selection, fly-choice, boat handling and where and how to fish the loch. The May session has developed into a wildlife barbecue, with bunny-burgers, squirrel kebabs, venison, fish,plus the standard chops, sausages, chicken legs etc, all provided by members. The fish smoking demonstration has been reviewed, after the table was set on fire, by Robert Malcolm. A further help for new members, is a list of ‘Mentors’ on the noticeboard, who will take them out fishing, to pass on their experience.
For most of its existence Antermony was a feeder reservoir for Woodburn, which was high enough to supply Kirkintilloch with its drinking water. As Woodburn emptied in the summer, water was pumped up to it from Antermony. In very dry summers this resulted in the level in Antermony dropping by several feet, reducing its area by about half. Now that Antermony is no longer used for this, the Stank, to the east of Boat-House Bay, usually shows 3 courses of brick throughout the year. In one dry summer I remember counting 21 courses, about 6 feet. Although at the time we moaned about losing so much water, in retrospect, it was probably beneficial by preventing the build up of nutrients, which have caused the loch to become eutrophic, with major algal blooms.
Over the years the Club has been blessed with many characters, who have enlivened proceedings. For most of my membership, Jacky Stewart was President and the heart of the Club. He was so valued that when he lost the place a bit, due to age and failing eye-sight, we had no hesitation in declaring him Honorary Life-President and electing a Chairman to conduct the routine club business. Jacky, was a Moulder at the foundry (look at the base of one of the old red phone boxes, if it says Kirkintilloch, Jacky probably made the mould for it); he lived for fishing; he never learned to drive, but managed to fish all over Scotland by cadging lifts; he fished with nylon as thick as rope and a line twice as old as himself; he never stopped talking during competitions – you could hear him all over the loch. Even in his 80’s, when he was virtually blind, he attended work parties, acting as an interfering, unnecessary and even now, years after his death, still a much missed, foreman.
Wattie Nisbett, another foundry man, had a wickedly dry sense of humour. I only once ever saw him at a loss for words. It was in the early 80’s at the Dance and Prize-giving Night, held in the Woodhead Hall at Whitegates. Wattie, who did not drink, had won the Summer Cup and had asked his wife to buy a bottle of whisky to put in the cup, to be passed round. Normally whisky from a trophy cup is barely drinkable, usually cheap stuff tasting of ‘Brasso’. On this occasion it was superb. On asking Wattie if I could have another ‘wee sensation’, which was graciously permitted, I enquired about the whisky. Wattie reluctantly told me that it was Royal Salute, which cost £28 for the bottle, a fortune in those days. His wife, who was not a whisky drinker, bought it because she liked the velvet bag that the bottle came in! Needless to say, I sat next to Wattie for much of that night. It was a delight to watch him fish the bank, very close in, with so little disturbance, it was like watching a heron. I remember when his ashes were to be scattered on the loch. His son tipped them out – into the wind! The ash scattering party rowed back,covered in Wattie. I still have one of Wattie’s favourite rods, a 9ft Marco (American Arms Company) and his landing net. (Bought from his widow, to remember him). Both Wattie and Jacky utilised their foundry skills to cast folding landing net mechanisms and several of our members are still using them.
Willy Grant was another character: puffing on his pipe at committee meetings, in those days we all smoked, it was so bad you couldn’t see the people at the back of the room. Regularly someone would bemoan the lack of fish in the loch. Insilence, we would all sit and wait for Willy to slowly remove his pipe and say, ‘There’s plenty of fush, it’s just that YOU canna b*****y catch ‘em’.
There are many more, all of whom have left some of their character in the Club and I’ve no doubt that we will remember some of our current members in the same way.
The ‘Silver Jubilee’ piece mentioned the dreaded ‘Boat Plan’.By my time, membership had grown to 196, there being 196 days available in our trout season, with the club’s four boats, each member could have a different boat pre-booked on four days in the season, one in the first quarter of the season, one in the second etc. This was accomplished at a committee meeting and involved having a slip of paper for each member and a calendar with four columns per day. There followed an immensely complicated and prolonged procedure, which inevitably resulted in several members being booked on the same boat on the same day. With additional boats we have been able to increase our membership. Fortunately, we have abandoned this system and now leave it to the Membership Secretary to work out the boat plan. I believe he visits a witch-doctor.
With additional boats we have removed this restriction on our membership
Throughout the years, the Club has maintained its boats, buildings and fishing by the goodwill of the members who make up the Work Parties. The work party traditionally get together at the loch on Sunday mornings in January, February and March before the season opens and on stocking days. Rarely do more than a dozen members attend and until recently it was all they could do to repair and maintain the wooden clinker boats. A few years ago, however, we entered the twenty-first century by buying six,13 foot fibreglass boats, each costing £2000. Since then we have obtained two more. These have transformed the work parties. Maintenance is minimal, giving members more time to attend to lochside vegetation control and repairing paths. Currently we are installing wooden tracks in the boggy bits. They also make barley-straw ‘sausages’, using a Christmas-tree wrapping device, which are use to control algae. We have also benefited from assistance of teams from the Community Service Unit of the Council, who have done a great job of maintaining the ground around the boat house and jetty, building paths, steps and even a bridge over the burn. They cut back some of the mature trees and put up bird and bat boxes. Along with competitions, I find the work parties particularly enjoyable, because our sport tends to be a solitary pursuit and these give us an opportunity to meet and blether with fellow members. A tradition has developed, thanks to Iain Black, at the final, Boat-Launch Work Party before the season starts, of providing pies and Bucks Fizz to toast the new season. Inevitably Iain buys too many pies and so the Pie Ceremony becomes a Pie Orgy, with some members gorging themselves on half-a-dozen or more pies soaked in brown sauce. In 2013, with a grant from the Proceeds of Crime Fund, we bought a wheelyboat and built paths and ramps to enable disabled anglers to fish Antermony.
The Club runs seven competitions for Members at Antermony; the Spring Cup, the Brown Shield, the Jewett Cup, the Summer Cup, the Brown Cup, the Autumn Cup and the Junior Cup. In addition, the Club Champion is determined by points gained fishing the competitions, and the Cafaro Trophy is awarded for the heaviest fish caught in the competitions. This year, Roger Hughes Secretary has given a Quaich to be fished for on the last Sunday of the season, ‘The Last Cast’ Competition. The Club Champion represents the Club in the SANACC National Championship Competitions and the next three positions represent the Club in the SANACC National Team Competitions. The Club competitions take place monthly and are fished from the bank.They are characterised by good natured banter and mickey-taking, masking fierce rivalry between the two or three competent anglers, who are desperately trying to win, while the rest of us just cast and hope and wander about having a natter. At every competition at least one angler falls in and joins the Caurnie Diving Team. The current champion, Eddy Donnelly, has gone in on threecompetitions, culminating with a most complicated dive. He was sat on a stool, with his back to the loch, pulling up a sock, when he toppled over, doing a back-flip into the water. We were all speechless, some with awe at his athleticism, but most with laughter. Two years ago the committee decided to have an evening committee competition, with a half-bottle of whisky as the prize. This competition caused so much argument about the rules that we have continued to hold it annually and are still arguing. John Harwood, who incidentally invented the Endrick Spider fly, donated a cup that one of his pigeons had won in a race. This is now of course the ‘Doo’ Cup, for the committee competition.
The trophies and prizes for the competitions are awarded at the annual Prize Night, usually on the Wednesday before the season opens on the 15th March. We used to present the prizes at the annual Dance held in the winter, but support for this fell away to such an extent that it was abandoned in the 1990’s. The Prize Night is similar to an old fashioned ‘Smoker’, with various things to occupy the attendees: a bar, a guest speaker,presentation of trophies, a bar, a quiz, ’Pies & Pakoras’, a raffle, a bar, demonstrations such as fly tying, a bar, and videos or DVDs and a bar. Very popular are the videos and DVDs made by Robert Malcolm, which contain films of Caurnie doings over the past 40 years. If you can get hold of one of these, you will find it a delight. Robert also ran the Club’s first website, www.antermony.com. Towards the end of the evening the congregation usually ends up in small groups drinking whisky and telling tall tales of deeds done and deeds to be done and criticising the Committee. The finale of the evening is trying to get the President, Davy Thomson, into a taxi.
As the years progressed, the Club saw a succession of water-boards transferring ownership and our lease, until the late 90’s when the East of Scotland water Board wanted to sell the loch, but only to a local authority. East Dunbartonshire Council led by a local Councillor stepped in and bought the loch, giving the Club a ten–year lease, due to expire in 2008. In 2005, a recommendation was put to the Council to sell the loch on the open market. Several commercial groups expressed interest in buying Antermony, but the Club mounted a strong defence, which drew support from many quarters, including councillors, MPs and MSPs. This culminated in a visit to the loch by the Council Committee, making the decision. They made no pretence of their surprise at the scenic beauty of the loch and the work carried out by the Club members and others to maintain the loch and its surrounds. As a result, the Club has been given a 25–year lease to expire in 2031. This has enabledus to invest Club funds to demolish the derelict pump-house, extend the carpark and to build a new fishing-hut for membersto use. It will also allow the Club welcome its Centenary at Antermony. In 2012 the council decided to sell the loch to the Club. A price was agreed, but a person with commercial interests in the area objected and the council withdrew its offer to the club and put the loch on the open market. After a traumatic year, the council decided to retain ownership and let sleeping dogs lie.
In recent years bureaucracy has pushed its interfering nose even into fishing. The Government now requires us to ‘Register’ the loch as a fishery, we have to have a ‘Licence’, to stock with brown trout imported from Stirling! We have to ask SEPA and pay for permission for the most minor bankside works and we have to beg for a ‘Licence’, to shoot invasive fish–predators such as cormorants. This is all done so that we don’t miss those precious moments, when you sit in a boat, with the sun setting, on a warm, soft evening, watching the fish rising, but completely ignoring your flies on the water.
So our future at Antermony now seems assured until 2031 andit is up to us all to keep on with the work started 85 years ago, when a group of like-minded men decided they wanted to form an angling club. We have inherited this and like them no doubt, we will have problems to face. I just hope that we will be able tomeet these problems effectively and to continue to live up to our motto and provide:
‘Quality, traditional fishing, for the community.’
Roger Hughes 8.7.13
The archive of Caurnie Angling Club records, photos, DVDs etc is held East Dunbartonshire Library Services.
Caurnie Angling Club History – Update 10.4.20.
In 2015 the Scottish Government proposed a Community Empowerment Act which would give community bodies the right to acquire ownership of ‘assets’, that they could use for the benefit of the community. The club began to explore the possibility of using this legislation, which eventually came into force in 2019, to obtain ownership of Antermony Loch. These efforts we somewhat pre-empted by EDC, which during preliminary discussions in 2018, offered to extend the lease on the loch until 2043 on condition that the club took over the spillway inspection and maintenance tasks and with the rent rising to £5000 pa over three years.
The club accepted this, but as of April 2020 still had not received the new lease. This new rent partially reflected the maintenance and inspection costs of the spillway, which was classified as a dam, holding back an artificial raised reservoir, Antermony Loch. Believing this to be nonsense, the Club Secretary presented a report to the Inspecting Engineer, which argued that the original designation in 1990, was an error, arising from mis-interpretation of a mid–20th century map. The Inspecting Engineer accepted this and recommended to SEPA that Antermony should not be classified as an Artificial Raised Reservoir and that the expensive (circa £1200pa) annual and 10 yearly inspections of the spillway should be discontinued. A request for a rent reduction to reflect this was refused by EDC.
In 2019 concerned that, despite the new lease, the club’s future at Antermony was not secure, Antermony Development Trust was registered as a charitable trust, with all adult Caurnie Angling Club Members becoming members of the Trust. The Trust submitted an Asset Transfer Request for Antermony Loch to EDC in December 2019. The outbreak of coronavirus led to closure of the loch in March 2020 and put a brake on the Asset Transfer Request.
In late 2021 we were advised that transfer of ownership has been approved and await the documentation.
Roger Hughes Secretary 2.1.22
EXTRACTS FROM MINUTE BOOK OF THE
KELVIN VALLEY ANGLING CLUB, KIRKINTILLOCH
20TH SEPTEMBER 1900 TO 16TH MAY 1919
Introduction, by Roger Hughes.
The Kelvin Valley Angling Club is believed to be a precursor of the Caurnie Angling Club, as the Minute Book has been handed down from Secretary to Secretary. Having no water of its own, the minutes mainly comprise making plans for competitions on various rivers and lochs in the area.
20.09.00 Meeting in Lifeboat Hall, to consider forming an angling club. This was agreed.
President- H. Melville. Secretary- Mr. Hunter. Treasurer- J. Drummond.
Entrance fee-1/-, for founder members. 2/6, for later members, plus 6d. per month.
27.09.00 Rules were discussed-including members in arrears could not fish competitions Mr J. Stirling elected Vice-President. Reference to the ‘Old Club’.
18.10.00 Membership 43 but only 27 paid up.
Some problem, unstated, led to President’s resignation and Mr.Ford replaced him.
Reference to writing to the ‘Old Club’ regarding stocking of the Luggie.
Agreed to give defaulting members one month to pay up.
Agreed to approach Dr. Armstrong to accept position of Hon. President.
Agreed to try to change venue to the Temperance Hall.
15.11.00 In Lifeboat Hall, Dr. Marr had sent a 10/- donation. Dr.Armstrong had accepted Hon. Presidency and given a donation of £1.
The Secry said he had spoken to the Secry of the ‘Old Club’, but could get little information from him. However he did learn that the price of trout from the Stirling Hatchery was £1/10/- per 1000 spau (?) and yearlings £2 per 1000. He also had received two subscription sheets for that cause. It was agreed that members be invited to contribute to these stocking costs and several did so.
Agreed to have a Smoking Concert.
13.12.00 Mr Melville reported that he had raised £2.12.6 for the Luggie Stocking Fund.
Discussion about banking the Clubs funds, but no decision made.
07.02.01 A bill from The Herald of 10/-, for printing was presented.
Agreed to hold first competition at Killearn in April with 1st and 2nd Class competitors.
Balance on hand £6.14s.1d
07.03.01 Discussion re the classification of anglers for the competitions – Jas Stuart demoted to 2nd Class. 33 in 1st Class and 17 in 2nd Class.
Agreed to spend £8 on prizes; 8 prizes for 1st Class and 4 for 2nd class.
A proposal to fish Loch Ard was made, this not accepted after it was argued that 2nd Class would not be able to compete at fly-fishing and that the expense would be too great.
Agreed to travel to the competition at Killearn on April 25, by train.
Agreed that two members would pay the monies raised for the Luggie Fund to the ‘Old Club’, the following night.
11.04.01 Decided to leave on the 8.30 am train to Killearn and return on the 6.14pm. Fish to be weighed in at the Lifeboat Hall that night. The Secry instructed to get cheap fares and a special carriage.
Mr Melville proposed that the Club admit Mr. Campbell of Boghead, Lenzie, it was decided to stick to the rules and to decline this admission.
It was agreed that two Committee Members audit the books and that an account be opened in the Kirkintilloch Savings Bank.
Agreed to get a ballot box and to have a prize giving social on the first Friday in May, tickets to cost 1/3.
02.05.01 Agreed to hold a spate Competition on or about 12 June, also agreed to hold next meeting in the Temperance Hall.
03.06.01 Discussion whether to extend to 3 Classes, decided to stick to 2 until end of season. Discussion about fixing a weight for 2nd Class members to fish themselves up to 1st Class. This was fixed but not recorded.
Agreed to have one prize, for every four members fishing in a competition.
Reference to a September Competition, with prizes to the total value of £4.0.0. It was settled that they would go in a brake to Fintry, to fish the Endrick, from the Falls to Dr. Ewing’s ground for the Spate Competition. It was carried that any member caught fishing private water or tributaries would be expelled from the competition.
20.06.00 Spate Competition Results-Summary
First Class-1st Prize- James Walls-11 fish for 1lb. 14 1/2 oz.less 1 penny-weight.
First class Heaviest Fish-Thomas McLeary – 71/2 oz.
Second Class: 1st.Prize-Jas.Brown- 7 fish for 1lb. 4oz.
Second Class Heaviest Fish – 6oz. less 1 penny-weight.
Weather: occasional rain, water low, slight to fresh wind. Minnow did best.
(2013: Roger Hughes-Caurnie Secretary: ‘I will update this further when I get the opportunity to go through the old Minute Book, which in places is quite difficult to read.’
PS Look carefully at the above: 11 fish for 1lb 14 1/2 ounces, Jackie Stewart would have been mad with jealousy.)
01.07.01 A ‘Social’ raised 3/6 for the club
29.7.01 It was proposed to have two prizes for every five competitors fishing a competition
26.8.01 Letter from Glasgow Tramway & Omnibus Company, giving terms for a Charabanc.
Agreed to go via the Crow Road to Fintry, leaving at 6am. Dr Armstrong’s Cup will take two months to make.
31.8.01 Third Competition:
Class 1st Winner J Walls, total weight 1lb 2oz, heaviest fish 6oz
Class 2nd Winner R Coats, total weight 7oz, heaviest fish 41/2oz
23.9.01 Annual General Meeting – Spent £15 on prizes
A deputation had been sent to see the ex-Treasurer, but he could not be found at home.
It was decided to see a lawyer regarding the recovery of the Club’s funds.
Hon. President: Dr Armstrong President: J Ford Vice-President: T Tennant
Treasurer: J McCash Secretary: H Melville
Prizes to be returned to the President, 14 days after presentation.
Classification of members to be by ballot.
22.10.01 Small attendance at meeting because it was on the same day as the local half-yearly fair.
The new Treasurer said that the ex-treasurer had made another payment to account of his defalcations of 4/-, leaving a balance of £2/0/7d.
Rules have been revised-
Entry Fee now 2/6 plus 6d per calendar month.
Wading continues to be banned in competitions.
Competitions declared off, if no one weighs in 11/2lb of fish
Reference to Linrigg Angling Club, fining members for taking 51/2” fish. Agreed that 6” would be the Kelvin Valley AC limit. Proposed that if smaller fish were weighed in, then their weight would be deducted from the actual weight of fish over 6”. This was so complicated that it was defeated.
Purchase of 100 return tickets to Killearn for £5, to be sold to members.
Big row about the Cup not being ready for presentation and not being fished for properly.
This became further complicated when the Treasurer pointed out that the alleged winner was in arrears of his subs & the Treasurer wanted the 11/6d prize money back
Election of new member – Andrew Young. It was decided to use the new ballot box for this, which led to an extensive delay, while they tried to work out how to use the ballot box.
23.11.1901 Meeting at the Lifeboat Hall. Vice-President, Thomas Tennent, presiding.
Everything proceeding well until the Financial Report, when the problem of recovering club funds from the Ex-treasurer arose, some in favour of enforcing collection others ‘in favour of extending the days of grace’. Treasurer instructed to issue a ‘final warning’. Mr McCash announced that he had had an ‘interview’ with Mr Armstrong, who had told him that the cup was now ready. He also said he did not want any ‘social’ in connection with the Club, held in a public house. This was agreed and that a social would be held, with tickets at 1/-, and further that ladies would be admitted to the social.
Qualification from 3rd Class Membership to 2nd Class Membership, would be automatic, upon catching 1lb of fish at any competition. Proposed new members names were selected using the new ballot box. Mr Beveridge of Campsie Glen wrote to the club about the cost of membership cards for Todhole Loch.
30.12.1901 Despite a small attendance, it was decided to proceed because all committee members had been carded about it. ‘The next business was in connection with a regular supply of trout to Honorary Members during the fishing season, it being pointed out that if some system was established trout might be got every now and again for distribution. It was then resolved that a Saturday should be fixed for fishing for trout entirely for distribution.’
A communication was read from the North British Railway Company relative to the enquiry for 100 return tickets to Killearn, declining to treat with the club.
24.1.1902 It was noted that four members of the committee were ‘conspicuous by their absence’. A Meeting with the Secretary of Todholes Loch at Fintry, who offered the following terms: One competition and open to the club for the whole season, £6/0/0. For twelve members, £2/0/0. For onecompetition for the club, £1/0/0. Cards will not be transferable and no night fishing. Legal baits may be used but no competitions on Saturdays. It was agreed to go for the 3/4 rate. During classification of members,the next item is crossed put but legible. ‘the only incident of note being at the result of our worthy Treasurer, Mr McCash being balloted into First Class, which some members appeared to take as a joke’. Five members were promoted to First Class, including Mr McCash, eight to Second Class and one new member placed in Third Class. With respect to the distribution of fish to Honorary Members, the Secretary reported that the local Station Master would allow a basket to lie at the station under his private charge. The question of the ex-Treasurers defalcations arose, but it was decided to wait to see if a member of the committee,who works with him can recover the money.
24.2.1902 Big debate regarding acquisition of fishing at Todholes Loch. Decided to hold a special meeting. The ex-Treasurers defalcation again arose with the current Treasurer saying that a further 6/- had been paid leaving a balance of £1/10/7. This was considered satisfactory.
3.3.1902 Special meeting to decide whether to apply for the fishing of Todholes Loch. It was agreed that the fishing rights be acquired for £6/0/0 to allow the 40 members to fish. The club would pay this, then members would pay by instalments. Any member caught fishing and being in default of his payments would be expelled from the club and ‘forfeit all rights and privileges as a member of the same’.
31.3.1902 An application to fish the Walnair fishings had hit a snag in that the ‘Old Club’ had applied to fish on the same day. Decided to hold a competition at Todholes. and to be ready to catch the brake at 5.30 am so as to start fishing at 6 am. Mr Tennent offered a 10/- rod as a prize.
The next meeting makes it apparent that the monthly meetings being minuted, are meetings of all club members, not just committee members.
17.4.1902 Committee Meeting. Agreed to spend £3/10/0 on prizes with £2/0/0 to be spent in Alexanders Stores.
Results of the Competition Held at Todholes Loch 24 April 1902
Class – Name – Number and Weight of Brown Trout – Prize
First – John Fisher – 5 – 1lb 9oz – Built Cane Rod (Value 10/-)
First – Jas Walls – 2 – 14oz – Umbrella
First – John McCash – 3 – 10oz – Reel + 30 yards of line
First – John Mcintosh – 4 – 9oz – Basket & belt
Second – Hugh Scott – 6 – 1lb 3oz – 13ft rod
Second – Thos Tennant – 3 – 1lb 2oz – Weekend Bag
Second – Jas Stark – 2 – 12oz – Reel + 20 yards of line
Second – Thos McLeary – 2 – 10oz – Fly Book
Second – Jas Brown – 1 – 6oz – Pipe
Second – Alex Syme – 2 – not weighed – Muffler
Third – Harry Risk? – 6 – 1lb 4oz – Rod
Third – Chas Miller – 2 – 15oz – Large clock
Heaviest Fish – Chas Miller – 8oz – Pair of Vases
Two prizes were left over for the next competition, a brass kettle and a small clock.
Members were classified according to their success in previous competitions
28.4.1902 A new rule was proposed ‘That any member proved to have exploded cartridges for the purpose of securing minnows to be expelled from the club’. A further proposal that;‘using Cocculus Indicus would attract the same penalty’.
(Cocculus Indicus is also known as the ‘Fishberry’. Its crushed seeds being used to stun fish)
10.9.1902 Members to meet at the Black Bull at 5am to take Mr Graham’s brake to Fintry, to fish the Endrick.
29.9.1902 AGM – Fish taking size to increase to 61/2inches
6.7.1903 Subscriptions raised to 7/6d with Admission Fee of 2/6d.
23.4.1903 Competition at Todholes Loch weighed in 57 trout for 16lb an average weight of 41/2oz.
(Following sparse and very brief entries, there is a gap from 1905 to 1911 in the Minute Book, followed again by only a few brief entries. It looks as though the club was struggling.) )
16.2.1912 The Secretary is instructed to write to a fishery owner saying that none of the club members, who planned to fish his water were among the group of Kirkintilloch anglers who had been prosecuted for illegal fishing.
12.8.1913 Subscriptions are proposed at 2/6d.
(From 12.8.1913. to the last minutes in the book on 16.5.1919 inclusive, there are only five sets of very short minutes, none of which mention the effects of World War 1, but which must have impacted heavily on the local community.)
16.5.19 The last minutes in the book are about a proposed competition outing.
Roger Hughes CAC Secretary 23.2.22