Save Millport’s Marine Biology Station

Anyway, Willie Yeomans was on the text tonight going on about Millport – he was going on about some “Save Millport” campaign. I did not have a bloody scooby what he was on about and I told him that I could probably find better circles to cycle in however he got all mouthy about it so I decided to do some looking up.

via BBC


A scientific research centre on the Isle of Cumbrae could be set to close with the loss of up to 30 jobs.

Staff at the University Marine Biological Station Millport have been told it could shut by the end of 2013.

The Higher Education Funding Council for England has withdrawn the £400,000 which it gives the University of London to run the station.

A partnership deal to run the site with St Andrews University fell through over a lack of capital investment.

Diane Robertson, finance and administration manager at the Millport station, said staff were “devastated” at the prospect of closure.

‘Fragile economy’

“This will have a big impact on the island’s community,” she said.

“The Island of Cumbrae is a designated fragile economy and we are the largest employer of people who are resident on the island.”

Ms Robertson said the station employed 30 staff, boosted by about six seasonal summer workers, to accommodate about 2,000 UK and international students each year.

She said a “lack of funding and investment” over previous years had led to the current problems.

“Staff numbers have reduced by about 20% over the past few years, due to people not being replaced on leaving or retirement,” she said.

“The station has been running down a bit.”

Ms Robertson said the situation was unfortunate as the station had already raised £1.6m towards its future redevelopment, which the University of London would have backed with a further £1m if the present funding crisis had been averted.

“Over a period of about 15 years, that money would have turned things around, but because the funding has been withdrawn the deficit will be too high,” she said.

Ms Robertson added: “The University of London has been covering our deficit, but with the withdrawal of funding from the Higher Education Funding Council for England, it will be unable to continue to do so.

“The university and St Andrews had talks about a joint management venture but the deal has fallen through.”

Joint ventureShe said that without further investment, the station could close by the end of 2013 or possibly by July 2014.

In a statement, the University of London said: “The university’s Marine Biological Station at Millport (UMBSM) has historically relied on a grant from HEFCE (Higher Education Funding Council for England).

“The university has now been formally notified by HEFCE that this funding will be withdrawn.”

It said no decision had yet been formally taken to close the station.

“However, unless a solution is found in the next few weeks that secures the long term viability of UMBSM, it is expected that the decision to close it will be taken at the university’s board of trustees meeting on 30 January,” it said.

“The university will give the maximum possible notice of closure, if that is the decision of the trustees.

“At that point, a timeframe for closure would be agreed. Staff are being informed of all decisions as and when they are made.”


I know times are tough for everyone however taking away funding for something that provides training, research, jobs and ultimately effects everyone who has a passing interest in water and what happens in it (you me and you’re granny) is kinda dumb.
They have set up a facebook page for your support.

Strangest photo on Urban Fly Fisher of 2012 is…

I was wondering why its testicles were so small...

I was wondering why its testicles were so small…

At 12.27 I realised…

And now a holiday message from our sponsor – Lord Kelvin!

lordkelvin speaks

You are correct, I have not been fishing in ages. Have a dream instead…

It has been noted in the comments that there has been a lack of actual fishing over the last month or so. One would think that I have not been fishing with a rod and line at all and that thought would go in fact be correct. The miserable weather, trout on the dry being off the radar and the fact that any half decent Grayling fishing is bloody miles away has dampened the spirit somewhat of this urban fly fisher.

Pike is still on the menu however with the dark evenings and the weekends being taken up with fatherhood the chances to pick up a rod are few and far between. Saying that, I took the oldest boy down to the canal a week or so ago and spotted something interesting. I just happened to be looking at a spot of water under a bridge when out of the water emerged a long green back – it looked a bit like Jaws taking the boy from the surface.

This is where it occurred..

This is where it occurred..

Anyway, I marked the spot and went off to dip the water for some nymphs. This was productive and the boy proudly showed off his catch before hitting me over the head with the net.

Cheers little dude...

Cheers little dude…

I may not be able to bring you stories of real life trips however I can bring you a story about a dream I had the other night which has stayed with me. In my dreams I appear to visit two rivers (do any of you guys do this?) one is bigger and one is smaller. On this occasion it was the smaller one. In my dream there is always a nice familiarity about it as if I have fished it often even though it is totally fictional. It appears to be on a steep slope as there is lots of tumbling pools and riffles, lots of pocket water with small pools where you just know if you place a fly it will be snapped up by a hungry brown trout. On this occasion I had someone with me, no idea who it was however I remember feeling that I wanted to show off this small stream and was full of those nerves you get when you want a guest to do well on somewhere that you know is full of potential however there is always the possibility that it could be poor due to conditions or just plain bloody minded belligerent trout.

A photo snapped in from my mind..

It was a warm summer day and the light was breaking through the trees, there was plenty of fly life on the water and it felt good to be out fishing. Something I like about wee streams like this is the way you can get in and there may be no way out for several hundred yards as you make your way up. Each step you take brings into view a new pocket or puts a fresh perspective on an old one that you can fish the next time. You know how it goes, from a certain point of view a small bit of pocket water looks like nothing and when you pass it you find it is actually a good foot deep and a trout darts out of it. This stream seems largely untouched at least not many folk fish it as nobody was met the whole session.

Some pools were deep…

So that my friends is the wee stream that my mind makes up when it has been starved of fly fishing for trout. They say you only dream about stuff you cannot have and the scenario I just described to you will not be happening anytime soon. Saying that it will soon be January and then in February we will have people talking about the Salmon season again. It does not look like a cold winter is going to hit us so here is hoping that possibly just possibly on the 15th March I may just catch a trout on a fly.

In the meantime, if you guys are reading this on Friday the 21st you should be aware that we have just passed by the Winter Solstice .The seasonal significance of the winter solstice is in the reversal of the gradual lengthening of nights and shortening of days.  Different cultures celebrate this in various ways, it just so happens we have Christmas around this time.

Annually this time not only marks Christmas it also marks the point in the year that I look out my JVice and start tying up some flies in preparation for the new season.

I am looking forward to it, I know I am because my dreams are telling me so.

Have an Urban Highland Cow why don’t you!

It was behind a fence, so I was reasonably safe!

They all had the classic "fuck you" horns.

They all had the classic “fuck you” horns.


Haunted by foxes!

I encountered it in a Bed and Breakfast in Pitlochry – the look of pure absolute evil. Its eyes were attached to a head that had been wrenched off its shoulders and then had a  hapless duck stuck between its jaws.

Stare of Death

I have never been freaked out by a stuffed animal so much in my puff.

I happen to like foxes as well.

Over the last several years my neighbor has been feeding  a fox and then its cubs. during the day the fox will lounge about outside his house  waiting for him to come home from work. If he is late  the fox will stare in at the window. It is totally unfazed by people passing by and has little fear of cars. We watched it grow a huge growth however it seemed to survive and now on a winters night we see two of its cubs out dancing around as well. Obviously we do not have any chickens or we would be freaking out.

During the summer I was driving along a new stretch of Motorway and witnessed something that has strangely stayed with me for the last few months. It was a baking hot day and the motorway was its usual busy self when in the distance I noticed something in the middle lane. It was coming up pretty quick as I was doing around 70 however the image has stayed with me and I think about it whenever I see a fox. There, sitting in the middle lane was a fox. I say sitting however the best description would be sprawled as its legs and lower body were at the wrong angle, also there was a large patch of red on the road which I suspect were a lot of its intestines. The fox was still alive and did not appear to be in any distress. It was sitting watching the cars coming towards it and then veering out the way as the drivers realised what it was. Of course nobody wanted to hit the fox as it may damage their car however I kind of wished someone would so that any suffering it was in would be over. For a few miles I tried to find the phone number of the RSPCA however it was damn near impossible for some reason, the memory of which has left me.

So the image of the fox sitting serenely watching the cars driving around it waiting for its death on a lovely summers day has haunted me for the last few m

Kelvinography multi tool..

For new readers Kelvinography is the name of spotting stuff named after the Kelvin. There are a few examples around Glasgow. 

I have not added this to my Christmas Amazon Wishlist  as I have  another funky wee multitool however here we have one named after the kelvin.

Kelvin.23 Multi-Tool – Black

I have no idea why they called it the Kelvin 23

Tamanawis – You Crazy!

Tamanawis has always been an erratic poster.

It feels like just the other day that I was fishing with him however on the phone a few weeks (months ago) he told me it had been years. That frightens me, to think the years are sliding past.

I found some photos from a few years ago…

We had a crazy weekend – this is from the Tummel.

Another from the Tummel

I walked into the car park in the morning – this was the sight that met me!

Back in August he posted this intense video which still thrills me when I hear and watch it.

When I was trying to get the pubic hair of my pals pregnant friend to tie up some wooly buggers he was the only one willing to handle the merchandise.

We need to meet up soon dude!


The usual Christmas book…

As usual I am gonna recommend this book on the Kelvin if you do not have it already.

Glasgow’s Other River: Exploring the Kelvin