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Finavon Castle Water Fishings, Finavon, Forfar, Angus, DD8

Under Offer £450,000

Property Description

Key features

  • About 1.75 miles double bank fishing
  • About 0.22 miles single bank fishing
  • Fished as 4 rotating 2 rod beats
  • 22 named pools
  • 4 substantial fishing huts
  • Good vehicular access with parking
  • River bank and solum owned
  • Ghillies Cottage
  • 10 year average 125 salmon/grilse, 108 sea trout
  • EPC Rating = E

Full description

Tenure: Freehold

An opportunity to purchase a 50% share in the fishings and in the Finavon Castle Water Fishings business.


The Finavon Castle Water Fishings are situated on the middle reaches of the River South Esk about 5 miles north of Forfar in the county of Angus.

The old road bridge at Finavon marks the upstream boundary of this wonderfully private mostly double bank beat. There is easy access to Finavon by road, rail (Montrose Station with sleeper service - 18 miles) and by air from the airport at Aberdeen, Dundee or Edinburgh. The river is largely tree lined affording great seclusion to fishermen; trees are managed to secure shade where needed and space for ease of casting. Fishermen can drive to the river's edge and leave their cars in the safe parking areas adjacent to each of the four fishing huts without risk of damage from grazing livestock.
The landscape of the Angus countryside is spectacular; rich farmland lies either side of the river set against a backcloth of hills, the grassy hills of Finavon to the east and heather clad hills of the Angus Glens to the west.

Locally, Brechin and Forfar offer a wide range of shopping, business and leisure facilities together with primary and secondary schooling.


The fishings, originally forming part of the extensive Finavon Castle Estate were purchased by the present owner jointly with another passionate fisherman in 1985. Between them they set about developing the fishery, opening up and restoring recognised pools and developing a number of new pools. As a result, the waters became more effectively fished and both salmon and sea trout catches increased.

In 1992, the two partners decided to split the water and go their separate ways, further improving the beats allocated to them. The arrangement worked well and then later, due to unforeseen circumstances, an opportunity arose for the present owner to put the whole fishery back together again. Subsequently the water was developed into four beats each fished on a rotational basis by two rods. The Finavon Castle Water is now considered to be one of the top ranking beats of the River South Esk.

50% Share
The fishings are currently run as a business by the owner. An opportunity exists for an investor to purchase a 50% pro-indiviso share in the Finavon Castle Water Fishings, land, islands and the Ghillie's Cottage, Tyndal's.

The investment made by the purchaser will secure a 50% interest in the property. A new partnership (in a form to be agreed between the parties) will be created with the purchaser having a 50% share and the owner and his wife each having a 25% share. The business will be managed as before with fishing surplus to the joint owners' requirements being let to defray running costs.

River South Esk
The River South Esk rises high up on Cairn Bannoch in the Grampians. As it reaches Glen Clova, the flow slackens and the river meanders through the Glen, being joined by the Rottal Burn and the Burn of Glenmoye before reaching Cortachy Castle; the Rottal Burn being an important spawning ground for salmon and sea trout. Below Cortachy, the river is joined by the Prosen Water coming in on the right bank and transforming the South Esk into a respectable size.

The river flows south east towards Shielhill Bridge, much of it between steep wooded banks which tighten into a gorge. Above Inshewan, the river flows easterly on towards Brechin, passing through the attractive farmlands of Angus with the Finavon Castle Water featuring below the Finavon Bridge. Below Brechin the river flows through fertile arable land from Kinnaird to Bridge of Dun and beyond into Montrose Basin and finally out in the North Sea at Montrose.

Land Owned
Along the entire length of the fishings the river bank is owned in varying widths, thus giving the owner exclusive brown trout fishing rights from the south and north bank where the salmon fishing is owned.

The Catch
10 year average (2006 - 2015): 126 salmon
109 sea trout

The Finavon Castle Water Log Book
A magnificent leather bound log book has been compiled by the current owner. Records for Finavon Castle Water date back to 1887 and photographs comprise both historic and present day shots providing an invaluable numerical and pictorial record of the fishings.

The River South Esk supports a high quality salmon population and is designated a Special Area of Conservation (SAC) in the interests of Atlantic Salmon (Salmo Salar) and Freshwater Pearl Mussel (Margaritifera Margaritifera); the latter abundant in the River South Esk, representing the south eastern range of species in Scotland. Special Areas of Conservation (SAC's) are strictly protected sites designated under the EC Habitats Directive.

Obstacles and Netting
In recent years dykes and weirs on the South Esk have been destroyed or adapted giving free passage to running fish. In the past, fish held back on the lower reaches by water temperature barriers resulted in excessive catches, particularly below the dyke at Kinnaird.

Salmon netting practised both 'in river' by net and coble and by stake nets along the coast accounted for many thousands of salmon and sea trout up until 2015. Since then, as a consequence of the Wild Fisheries Review, the Scottish Government has introduced a regulation to prevent further mixed stock coastal netting. It is anticipated that the River South Esk may be one of the major beneficiaries of this new statute.

Tyndal's Cottage
The ghillie's cottage is conveniently situated in a quiet location at the end of Milton Lane within walking distance of the river. The cottage, built of stone, harled and painted white under a slate roof is currently occupied under a Short Assured Tenancy by the Finavon Castle Water ghillie, Iain MacMaster.

The accommodation comprises a porch, hallway, living room, dining room, 3 bedrooms and a bathroom. The house is partially double glazed.

There is a single garage with store and rod/wader rack facilities situated adjacent to the west gable of the cottage and a small timber shed in the garden used for storage.
The garden ground surrounding the cottage is laid down to lawn and shrubs; with hedges and a dry stone dyke providing shelter and privacy.

The property which has full oil fired central heating is served by mains electricity, water and private drainage to a septic tank.

Council Tax - Band D
Energy Performance Certificate: EPC Rating available from Selling Agent

There is good vehicular access to each of the fishing huts. Access to the Red Brae Hut on the Milton Beat is via a track, which runs from Tyndal's up to the Red Brae Pool on the south bank.

To reach the Bogardo beat, fishermen follow the public road to Bogardo. Just beyond the entrance to Fortesk Tower following a sharp right hand bend uphill for c 100 yards a track on the left is taken which bypasses Fortesk Tower and carries on down to the river through farmland. On reaching the river, the track continues between wooded river banks and arable fields to the Bogardo Hut and beyond to the Dacha at House Pool.

On the left bank there is currently good vehicular access from the A90 (T) through Haughs of Finavon Farm by informal arrangement with the farmer. On reaching the river, the track divides heading upstream to David's Tree House on the Castle Beat and downstream to the hut on the Indies Beat.

Particular to these fishings are the excellent footbridges which give considerable advantage to fishermen eager to cross the river without having to travel by car to the opposite bank.

There are two footbridges below Castle Stream giving access to the north bank pools including Tyndal's. Further downstream the old aqueduct, now owned, has been converted with steps and handrails to provide a convenient river crossing to the south bank pools.

Local Amenities
Fishermen come from all over the world to fish at Finavon. This is such an accessible beat, those short of time and based in London can catch the sleeper at King's Cross and be at Montrose Station by 7.30am, rod in hand and with time to snatch a quick breakfast at Peggy Scott's Café on the A90 (T) at Finavon and be on the river by 9.00am. Fishermen frequent various haunts but the Finavon Hotel and the popular Drovers Inn at Memus are hard to beat for a bar lunch or evening meal. There is no shortage of places to eat for those unwilling to make up a picnic.

Fishing Huts
There are substantial, fully kitted out huts on each beat, David's Tree House perhaps having an edge on the others in its elevated position overlooking the Pheasantry and Kirkinn Pools at the centre of the Finavon Castle Water. The huts vary between timber built huts on stilts to a well camouflaged container with trellis cladding at Indies. Each hut caters for a fisherman's basic needs and on the Castle Beat there is a 'tree bog' (a composting loo) discreetly hidden amongst trees upstream of David's Tree House. At the House Pool on Bogardo, the Dacha provides a shelter and ideal vantage point for observing wildlife and fish entering the pool.

Rough Shooting and Duck Pond
Besides the fishing, there is rough shooting to be enjoyed along the wooded river banks and duck flighting on the pond situated close to the Castle Beat car park.

The owner enjoys a good relationship with neighbouring farmers and on occasion they combine forces to shoot over the river banks and farmland. The ground is well suited to a family shoot where pheasant, duck, woodcock and pigeon will often be amongst the bag.

Wildlife, Flora and Fauna
The Finavon Castle Water is a haven for wildlife. It is not uncommon to see roe deer crossing the water whilst fishing; kingfisher, dippers and sandpipers flit up and down the river, otters too can appear and sightings of osprey are no longer uncommon. There are many more birds and animals besides, not to mention the numerous species of wildflowers. It is very much a naturalist's as well as a fisherman's paradise.

The Fishings
The current arrangement whereby the 8 rods rotate in pairs over the four beats works well ensuring an exciting variety of water during a week on the river. The system is entirely flexible, catering for any size of party. For example, rods fish a beat in the morning and move to another beat in the afternoon, working their way up and down the river. The following pool descriptions summarised from the owner's 'A Fisherman's Guide to the Finavon Castle Water' give a comprehensive account of how best to fish each pool and improve a fisherman's chance of success.

Milton Beat
Two rods both banks 800m (7 pools) from A90 (T) bridge to suspension bridge. Access through Milton of Finavon gate and down track to Red Brae hut. Excellent high water spring and autumn salmon fishing. Considered to be the top Finavon Castle Water night sea trout beat and also good grilse low water streams. All fished off the south bank except Tyndal's.

Bridge Pool
Fished from the south bank. Fishermen enter water above 'V' shaped cauld below A90 (T) bridge. Fish streamy water under north bank carefully, at times dibbling the fly. Clamber over cauld close to south bank, wade onto mid-stream gravel bank (mind boulders!) and move downstream covering north bank lies under trees past finger groyne. Fish well into tail, especially for sea trout at night and salmon in good water. Fishes best in medium water and low water.

Fish only from north bank. Wade across shallow but strong stream at power line. Enter water above webcam boulder (or walk up north bank from suspension bridge) and fish whole pool. Do not attempt to wade across to fish the north bank of Tyndal's in medium to high water levels. Easy wade, but careful when crossing boulder groynes. Good lies in top 25m for salmon, grilse and sea trout. Excellent night sea trout. Wade quietly in low water or at night into tail for salmon in good water. Fishes best in medium water or (grilse and sea trout) low water.

Easy wade from south bank. Fish pool very quietly! Enter water at south bank rocky groyne and wade out no more than 3m. Fish carefully using different angles and speeds of retrieval all way down into bay below willows. Fish lie in runnel and under willows. Top pool for sea trout at night and very good for spring and autumn salmon. Fishes best for salmon in high water and for sea trout in low water. Fishes from the bank in high water, fish can be close in to the side. The bend at Willows into Upper Boat is too deep for wading.

Upper Boat Pool
A good tactic is to fish this pool through and continue down through Volcano to the tail of Lower Boat Pool. Fish from the bank and in low water by wading carefully. Enter at Volcano and wade 50m upstream under south bank. Cover lies under north bank alders down into Volcano glide. Good salmon in high water and in low water sea trout at night. Fish quietly! Fishes best in high water.

Productive small pool especially in glide and downstream of rocky 'finger'. Enter above south bank rocky 'finger' and fish the squeeze of water under the north bank carefully. Very good holding area for salmon and sea trout down to small north bank groyne 25m below. Bring the fly round onto the 'dangle' and hold for 10 seconds. Fishes best in medium water and low water. Volcano is a productive pool in all heights.

Lower Boat Pool
Enter water below or continue from Volcano and wade quietly down to the tail. Very good lies for salmon all way especially in small bay half way down. Many big lie boulders along north side under trees. Excellent high water salmon fishing at any time in season. Low water sea trout and grilse good but keep very quiet! A top pool in high water conditions. Fishes best in high water.

The Flats
Enter water just above 'V' cauld and fish streamy dub immediately below, dibbling and square casting. Get the fly down! Then an easy wade quietly downstream for 60m to another 'V' cauld at head of Castle Stream. Mainly a low water pool but salmon can be caught in high water too on south bank side of main current at head of pool. Fun night fishing for sea trout but be very quiet. Also grilse in low water.

Castle Beat
Two rods both banks 600m (6 pools) from suspension bridge to Aqueduct bridge. Access through Haughs of Finavon Farm and along track to car park at David's Tree House (exclusive use of Castle Beat fishers.) Excellent spring and autumn salmon, summer grilse and sea trout. Good grilse low water streams. All north bank. Wading generally easy apart from lower Red Brae to Kirkinn.
Craigo Stream
Enter river above stream immediately below suspension bridge and fish obvious lies in streamy water under trees to rocky break opposite Milton Beat Hut. Good for grilse in summer freshet and famous for surprises at night! (18lbs salmon and 7.5lbs sea trout here in low water at night). Fish delicately but get the fly down in deeper fast stream under south bank.

Red Brae
Probably Finavon Castle Water's most famous pool. Enter river at Craigo Stream cauld and fish all way down as far as you can easily wade. Fish stream to Lemno Burn confluence with care: many lies for salmon, grilse and sea trout (at dusk) under south bank in this section. From Lemno down be sure to cover fish by getting fly down and holding it in stream. Best lie is at end of wall where current deflects. Dub below wall is a hotspot for spring and autumn salmon and sea trout.

Enter river above bench or continue from Red Brae. Really tail of Red Brae but history separates it. Tricky wading but worth it. Very nice high water lies and good night sea trout in low water. Fish obvious lies at groynes, but don't neglect tail where there are deceptive lies. Worth spending time working out how to fish it without disturbing fish. Fishes best in shadow or at dusk/night.

Enter water upstream of log and boulder 'V' and fish down to the tail making sure your fly fishes water on the south side of main current. Best lies at head of pool (for dibbling too) and in tail. Because of its position opposite David's Tree House this pool has been fished more in the last 3 years. Well worth concentrating on lovely streams, especially at dusk and dawn.

Nine Maidens
Enter river at 'V' cauld tail of 9 Maidens. Pool in 3 sections getting progressively better as you wade down. Fish every corner and swirl all way down until your fly is swinging across the head of Haughs (If someone is fishing Haughs please give them precedence). Worth trying riffling hitch. Beeches is a 'Big Fish' pool and can be productive in all conditions except high water. Salmon, grilse and sea trout fishing all good in right conditions. Keep fly moving especially in lower part of pool and vary angle, depth and speed.

Indies Beat
Two rods both banks 400m (3 pools) from Melgund Pool (where track enters Indies Wood) to tail of Indies Pool (ford). Access through Haughs of Finavon Farm and along track to car park at Indies Hut (exclusive use of Indies Beat fishers.) Excellent spring and autumn salmon, summer grilse and sea trout. Good grilse low water streams. All north bank apart from Melgund which may be fished from both banks. Wading generally easy and sometimes unnecessary.

Melgund Pool
Fish from north bank at head of pool, but be careful to keep your profile low to avoid scaring fish. No need to wade upper part of pool. Fish deep in the head stream, almost under your feet at times, so vary both angle and speed of retrieve and linger on the dangle. Melgund is a good holding pool, so fish upper part of pool very carefully. As pool widens out you can wade but be careful not to trip over occasional boulders. Fish all the way down to 'V' cauld at the head of Frank's Stream. Tail of Melgund, especially boulder lies south bank trees, holds sea trout in low water and is a great cast for salmon in high water and medium water. Wading is not advised from the north bank in Upper Melgund or the south bank of lower Melgund.

Please note that when no-one is fishing Melgund from the Indies side (north bank) Bogardo Beat rods may fish the Head of Melgund Pool from the south bank only. This is a give and take arrangement on the same basis as for Tollmuir Pool (see below). Indies rods have preference on Melgund Pool.

Frank's Stream
No need to wade upper section. Start at bushes beside 'V' cauld at head of pool and fish streamy dub below with care, varying angle, depth and speed. Try dibbling or riffling hitch. Fish down to bushy north bank groyne and then wade tail. Cover whole pool all way down, concentrating on great lies in south half of stream, especially under trees. Then fish tail with great care because salmon and sea trout stop there, especially in glide under south bank trees in very tail of pool, very good fishing at dusk and at night. Very productive in all heights but a very large spate.

Indies Pool
Enter river at 'V' cauld north bank and fish whole pool all way down into the tail. In low water at night can be superb for sea trout. In high water or medium water good for both salmon and grilse. Main lies are at head of pool in low water stream for salmon and grilse. Further downstream in upper section excellent fly water for salmon and, where pool widens out into tail really good high water salmon and low water sea trout fishing. Indies is a good pool for beginners and very easy to fish. Long casts are needed to cover the whole tail in high water. It fishes at its very best when sea trout shoal in the pool, but a period of low water is needed for that to happen. In high water the tail of Indies is, like Lower Boat Pool, the place to be! Fishes well in most conditions.

Below Indies Pool
We have cleared bank-side trees and obstructions to enable Indies Beat rods to fish Tollmuir Pool. This is a Bogardo Beat Pool fished from the south bank. Bogardo Beat rods have preference, but if no-one is fishing the pool Indies Beat rods may fish it. Please do not fish Tollmuir Pool if it is being fished from the other bank. Tollmuir Pool has been under fished and offers some excellent riffly fly water in the head stream and in the tail. The dub in the centre of the pool is a holding pool for salmon throughout the season. Keep your profile low by keeping to the water's edge below the high bank; otherwise you will frighten every fish in the pool!

Bogardo Beat
Two rods mostly both banks 250m (2 pools - Haughs and Harry's Bar) in upper section from Aqueduct to 'V' cauld at head of Melgund Pool. The lower section is approximately 500 metres long and starts below the tail of Indies pool down to south bank marker at tail of House Pool. The Bogardo access track is for the exclusive use of Bogardo Beat fishers excellent spring and autumn salmon, summer grilse and sea trout. Good grilse low water streams. All south bank. Wading generally easy and sometimes unnecessary.

Upper Section: 200m of South Bank Fishing (2 Pools)
Haughs (pr. Hoks)
Enter the pool at the Aqueduct (this may be difficult in high water or medium water). And fish the pool all the way down (150m) into the tail. Wading is easy after the upper section. Lies are generally under the north bank but at the head of the pool there are some boulder lies midstream. Haughs is excellent for salmon and sea trout in high water or medium water and can be good for sea trout in low water. It is a pity about erosion at the aqueduct but we are working on a way to overcome this problem.

Harry's Bar
Enter the pool at the little rocky groyne just below Haughs tail, and fish streamy water carefully under the north bank overhanging trees (which is why there are fish in this pool, so don't curse too much as you lose another fly!) and right into the glide into Melgund Pool. There are lies throughout, but the lower part is best. The pool is only 50m but is on occasions productive for salmon, grilse and sea trout, especially in medium water and low water. In high water it is nearly unfishable.

When fishing through Harry's Bar, provided no-one is fishing the north bank of the pool Bogardo Beat rods may fish the head of Melgund Pool (down to but not beyond the over hanging willows). Remember that Indies Beat rods have preference in Melgund (See below for similar arrangement with Tollmuir Pool).
Lower Section: 500m of South Bank Fishing (5 Pools)

Martin's Cut
Fish from south bank for the whole of its length. There is no need to wade. It is important to avoid showing your profile to or throwing your shadow over fish lying in this pool. It is a very fast and quite deep 'runnel' which fishes best in medium water or low water. Salmon stop here, because there is plenty of dissolved oxygen in the water. It is also relatively quiet and undisturbed giving fish security. The key tactic here is to get the fly well down, especially in the head of the pool.

Tollmuir Pool
This pool is tricky to fish, and under-fished as a result. Enter the pool from the gravel at the tail of Martin's Cut and wade down the top of the pool fishing your fly carefully over the riffled neck of the pool. Deepens sharply into main dub, where it is necessary to fish from bank, but well worth doing so as your fly searches out deep water between large boulder groyne on north (north) bank and the squeeze formed by a short south bank groyne. Below the squeeze wade into tail and fish right down into the tail until your fly is 'lipping' the cauld. Pool with potential in medium water and low water for salmon, grilse and sea trout at all times of the season.
Note: If no Bogardo rod is fishing Tollmuir Pool from the south bank, Indies Beat rods may fish the whole Pool from the north bank only. Bogardo Beat rods have preference on Bogardo Pool, so, please respect the spirit of arrangements for both Melgund and Tollmuir Pools. Thank you.

Steps, Willy's and Tom's
Enter below Tollmuir tail and fish through the stream and tails of the Steps pool down to the Marcus side (north) fence. Grilse and sea trout best in low water and medium water.

Tom's Pool - Low water and medium water fishing the likely spots from south bank. Pool ends 20m above fast stream into House Pool. Grilse and sea trout.

House Pool
Enter the pool at head of pool opposite giant oak tree. Nice wading all the way for 100m but then pool deepens into tail, but still wadeable. Good medium water and low water pool with main lies all down the north bank. Especially good for salmon and grilse in the top third of pool. Overall length 250m with good salmon and sea trout lies in tail. There's at least a morning's fishing in House Pool! Best practice catch and release. The fish is kept in the water as much as possible.

The Ghillie
Finavon Castle Water fishermen are fortunate to benefit from the guidance of self employed ghillie, Iain MacMaster. There is no obligation to recruit a personal ghillie but fishermen seldom regret employing this knowledgeable 'master of his craft'. His ability to find time to look after the fishings and fishermen is second to none; fishermen return year after year to this water and many have become personal friends of both owner and ghillie.

The purchaser will be obliged to support the continuation of Iain MacMaster as a freelance contract ghillie.

Rates and Assessments
Finavon Castle Water Fishings NAV: £13,600
Castle Hut RV: £1,070

Fishery Board Assessment: £13,600
@ .50p/£ = £6,800

Note: Fishing hut rates are eligible for 100% under the Small Business Bonus Scheme.

Local Authorities
Aberdeenshire Council
Arduthie Road
Aberdeenshire AB39 2DQ
Tel: 01569 768300

Angus Council
Angus House
Orchardbank Business Park
Angus DD8 1AX
Tel: 08452 777 778

Fishing Authorities
Esk District Salmon Fishery Board
Woodside Croft
St Cyrus
Angus DD10 0DP
Tel: 01674 850164

Any offer should be submitted exclusive of VAT. Any prospective purchaser should satisfy themselves as to the incidence of VAT on the transaction.

Acreage: 50.16 Acres


From Edinburgh take the M90/A90 (T) to Aberdeen bypassing Perth, Dundee and Forfar. About 5 miles north of Forfar before the bridge over the South Esk at Finavon, cross the dual carriageway and follow signs to Milton of Finavon and Bogardo. At the end of the village turn right up a private road; Tyndal's Cottage is situated on the left opposite Milton of Finavon.

If travelling south on the A90 (T) from Aberdeen to Dundee, bypass Stonehaven, Laurencekirk and Brechin. About 7 miles south of Brechin, the Finavon Hotel will be seen on the right, continue for half a mile and take the next turn on the left to Milton of Finavon and Bogardo.

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Listing History

Added on Rightmove:
14 July 2016

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