Fishing for poetry

When Scottish poet and flyfisherman Norman MacCaig died, he left a request that his friends visit his favourite loch in a remote corner of the Scottish Highlands and catch a trout on his behalf.

Andrew Greig wrote the book of what followed and while slightly over-indulgent of the author’s personal angst, it nevertheless captured the fusion of fishing, literature and Scottish community around which the story revolves. Tom Fort is spot-on when he calls it “an intensely Scottish book and proud of it”.

The same themes now echo around the BBC’s pursuit of the same quest; an hour-long programme in which two more of MacCaig’s friends – musician Aly Bain and comedian Billy Connolly – make the same journey.

For its poetry, its fishing (tip of the year – the hedgehog method – comes around 12:45 in) its humour and – as much as anything – for what it taught this Englishman about how little I knew of what it means to be Scottish, it is a superb piece of television.

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