A museum dedicated to over two centuries of rod and line salmon fishing on the River Tweed in the Scottish Borders is proving a popular call for visitors to Kelso.
The brainchild of a team of volunteer salmon fishing experts and enthusiasts from the region, the River Tweed Salmon Fishing Museum is about as close to fishing heaven as you get.
It features over 2,000 objects that explore the history and heritage of salmon fishing on the Tweed, and its influence in the social and economic development of the eastern Borders.
The techniques underlying modern rod and line salmon fishing were developed on the River Tweed and date back to the mid 18th century. The sport is now enjoyed in salmon rivers across the globe and is estimated to be worth over £20 million to the Scottish Borders economy every year.
Objects on display range from maps, models, books, illustrations, film and photographs to rods, reels, fishing flies and a replica 19th century fishing bothy, complete with tweed-clad boatman.
Pride of place is also given to a newly-commissioned carving of a 69 ¾ lb salmon caught on the Tweed by the Earl Home, circa 1735. It is the sport’s largest British salmon for which there is credible evidence.
The importance of 19th century writers in increasing the sport’s popularity is also explored and visitors can learn about the lifecycle of the salmon.
The Tweed’s flora, fauna, bird and insect life is showcased as part of underlining the importance of caring for the river’s diverse habitat.
The River Tweed Salmon Fishing Museum took three years and over £70,000 to plan and create, with £35,700 of funding coming from the Fallago Environment Fund that shares the benefits of the Fallago Rig Wind Farm in the Lammermuir Hills with projects across the Scottish Borders.
The Museum has also benefitted from a £10,000 grant from the Scottish Borders Council Communities Fund as well as a number of private donations.
The attraction, to be staffed by volunteers, is open seven days a week from and will be free of charge for visitors.
River Tweed Salmon Fishing Museum trustee, Bill Quarry said; “This Museum is a celebration of a sport whose techniques were developed right here in the Borders and which are now used and enjoyed all over the world.
“As well as highlighting the fascinating history of rod and line salmon fishing, we hope that the Museum will also help to raise awareness and appreciation of the river, its heritage and fragility and of the need for all of us to help to play our part in its conservation.”
Fallago Environment Fund Chairman, Gareth Baird (top) said; “The River Tweed is famous for its salmon fishing but many people are unaware of just how important the Borders is in the sport’s history. The Fallago Environment Fund is delighted to help to tell this important story through the creation of a Museum that will inform, inspire and provide another great reason for people to visit the area.”
The River Tweed Salmon Fishing Museum is located in the Town Hall, in the centre of Kelso. It will open seven days a week – Monday- Saturday 9am-4pm, Sunday 10am-1pm. The museum will close between December 10 and February 1.
More information at www.salmonfishingmuseum.com
Photographs – Paul Dodds