Out on the river right to the very end

The fishing season draws to a close and Highbullen is decked in glorious autumn colours

The stunning, mild late September and early October weather revealed wildlife in abundance. The cloudless skies make the thousands of migrating swallows and house martins drifting south in an endless stream down the Mole valley appear to fly much higher than normal. It’s an ornithological tag-team, as our summer visitors leave, the winter migrants arrive almost instantly to adorn the golf course, especially Redwings and Fieldfares who feed and rest on the fairways in their hundreds.

These warm days have often been book-ended by a low mist which appears early in the morning and just at dusk. This can make spotting the grazing herds of deer difficult, although with the rut just around the corner, we’ll be hearing, and seeing more of them over the coming weeks as they start to cross hedges and wear them down, leaving tell-tale signs of their routine to all who pass by. There’s no doubt that golfers and guests will hear the distinctive bellowing from the wood below the 18th – the team are able to assist those looking for a helping hand to identify it.

The river has been in and out of condition a lot recently and it has been hard to get rods on the river as a result – but that’s not to say we’ve been without success to round off the season. In the final week I was surprised by 3 sea trout and 2 salmon all caught at last light! I even managed to squeeze in one last visit to Hermitage Pool as the sun rose, ready to fish with enthusiasm. It was truly beautiful as the mist hung just over the water surface, although this is not usually a good sign I took to it with gusto, spurred on by the 6 month wait before the start of the new season, but nothing!

The areas of the estate which have been worked on over the summer have been ferociously turfed by Oli and The Golf Course Team, while the weather holds. This includes the area around the new outdoor draughts and chess sets which are now all ready to bed in over winter ahead of sunnier times in the spring. We’re also seeding some areas, but our weather window for this is rapidly closing, with as little as a week or so left given that Highbullen was treated to a severe frost last Friday! Not good for the grass, but these frosts will kick true autumn into play by bringing the autumn colour to the trees, prompting sea trout to start spawning, and enhancing the intensity of the red deer rut – I believe the stags are more vocal after a frost! The grounds of Highbullen are rarely more beautiful than when decked in russet tones, we are fortunate to be surrounded by so much woodland, at this time of year the colours are quite breath-taking and are only set to become more vivid for the next couple of weeks.

Highbullen Hotel - Autumn 1



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