Islay is gearing up to welcome hundreds of visitors from across the globe for a prestigious fishing event. The Bowmore Commonwealth Fly Fishing Championships will be held on four lochs on the island â€“ Loch Gorm, Loch Ballygrant, Loch Kinnabus and Loch Finlaggan â€“ from 15-20 June. Twelve teams of up to six members each will battle it out for the title of Commonwealth Champions, with Scotland aiming to defend their gold medal from last year. The teams are Scotland, Scottish Ladies, England, Wales 1, Wales 2, Isle of Man 1, Isle of Man 2, Canada 1, Canada 2, Australia 1, Australia 2 and South Africa.
Councillor Len Scoullar, Argyll and Bute Councilâ€™s Islands spokesperson, said securing the championships was a fantastic coup for Islay. 'Itâ€™s a wonderful way to put the island on the international map, as this event will attract hundreds of visitors from all over the world,' he added. 'Many of the teams are bringing families and others along with them, and I am sure there will be no shortage of supporters from across Scotland who will make the trip to Islay to cheer on their country. 'As anyone who has spent time on Islay will already know, the visitors will not be disappointed by the welcome they receive or the hospitality they enjoy during their stay. Everyone on the island is looking forward to the event, and I am sure it will prove an outstanding success.' Continue reading....Last yearâ€™s Commonwealth Championships was held on the Tiki Tuki River on New Zealandâ€™s North Island. After a closely fought contest, Scotland took Team Gold with England taking Silver and the hosts New Zealand Bronze. The individual result saw Scotlandâ€™s team captain John McCallum take Gold. John â€“ who was born in Lochgilphead but now lives in Auchterarder - will be aiming to repeat his success when he again captains his country in Islay. Iain Earle, Director of this yearâ€™s event said all the teams are very excited to be competing in this yearâ€™s championship. 'Some were at the Europeans which were held on Islay six years ago, and many remember the stunning scenery of Islay and the beautiful lochs on which the Championships are held,' he added. 'Islay is one of the most remarkable islands for fishing - it has more than enough wild brown trout and makes for just great fishing. We are all holding our breath with anticipation.'
The Championships are once again being sponsored by Bowmore and the distillery will once again be the central hub for the eventâ€™s opening and closing ceremonies. The timetable for the event involves all teams registering at the Machrie Hotel at 3pm on Monday, June 15 before parading down Bowmore Main Street with black Bottle Islay Pipe Band at 5.30pm for the official opening ceremony. Anyone wishing to keep up to date with the competition once it kicks off should log on to www.commonwealthflyfishingscotland.com. The website will be updated regularly as the match progresses.
This story was published with kind permission of the Ileach local newspaper.