Award for Fish & Fishers of the Lake District
Medlar was delighted that Fish & Fishers of the Lake District by Keith Harwood won the Bill Rollinson Prize of the Lakeland Book of the Year Awards 2015. It also received some great press reviews, extracts from a few of which follow:
'He begins with a survey of the species involved, ranging from top predators (pike and ferox trout) via the salmonids of Derwent and Eden, to those ultra-rare relics of the Ice Age vendace and schelly. Quoting widely from previous authors (his book is agreeably anthological in places), Mr Harwood also describes the evolution of techniques such as trimming for pike (or 'hound fishing'), otter boards and the deep paternoster . . . In his round-up of individuals who have been inspired by plying these waters, Mr Harwood mixes the famous with those of more local repute . . . This agreeable work is full of quirky delights. Tinned vendace roe is apparently a delicacy in Finland; 'belbing' is the Windermere term for the rise of a charr . . . Nicely produced by the admirable Medlar Press, this book is well researched and great fun to read.' - David Profumo, Country Life
'Harwood is a stickler for detail and his obvious interest in the history of angling shines through in this informative, entertaining and well-written insight into one of our most celebrated national treasures. If the Lakes are your thing, buy this book.' - Andrew Flitcroft, Trout & Salmon
'Keith Harwood has written a book that will entertain fishermen while engrossing those who have little interest in the sport. For the angler who loves to practise in a wild environment, there is perhaps no finer place in the country, and Harwood approaches the Lakeland fishing culture from every angle, portraying the characters, the styles of fishing and the equipment, and the fish species themselves, many of which - the Arctic charr, the vendace, and the Schelly - are particular to the area. It's alive with anecdote and rich with illustrative passages from classic (and lesser-known) fishing tomes of yesterday. It reveals a side to Lakeland about which few of us will know much. Very accessible, very entertaining and very enjoyable.' - Cumbria Magazine
'Any angler who fishes anywhere in England's Lake District, whether an obsessed fly-fisher for salmon, sea trout and brown trout, or serious pike man, or bait-fisher who likes to wet a line now and again, will miss so much if they do not have this volume on their bookshelf . . . Keith Harwood has skilfully woven together the threads of rivers, lakes and mountains, fish and fishing history, great characters of the past and just a soupcon of his own great experiences to produce a great book. I would add this to my list of Great Reads.' - Malcolm Greenhalgh, Fly Fishing and Fly Tying.
'Angling in the Lake District goes way back and in the process it has attracted its share of characters, the best known, perhaps, being Wordsworth, Arthur Ransome and Hugh Falkus. Until now the most recent book which dealt with the subject in any depth was John Watson’s The English Lake District Fisheries, the most recent edition of which was published in 1925. Quite a bit has happened since, not least the arrival of the Freshwater Biological Association in the late Twenties, whose famous office at Ferry House on the shore of Windermere was once home to a young Fred Buller . . . Keith breaks his subject down into two sections, the first dealing with the fishes of the lakes; while the second, much longer, treats of the fishers. A short section on commercial fisheries - mainly for char and pretty much of historical interest only today, although traditional char fishers can still be seen on Windermere - is followed by an enjoyable series of vignettes which tell the story of about as varied a bunch of characters as you might care to meet. These begin with Adlington and Hutchinson, the forgotten hook makers of Kendal, and include such folk as John Waller Hills, author of the delightful A Summer on the Test, who grew up around the Lakes. The most interesting of all the bit players in Fish & Fishers, though, is John Wilson, better known as Christopher North, a man who was only slightly less crazed than Thomas De Quincey. North was responsible for some of the worst outrages in angling writing ever and if his style had been an ounce more overblown his pen would have exploded and killed him outright. Then there is John Davy, Humphry’s younger brother, Beatrix Potter and William Nelson, whose Fishing in Eden must be one of the most memorable titles on angling ever published. A great book to while away the winter months with.' - Andrew Herd, Waterlog