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Spot a Salmon this Winter at Philiphaugh, Scottish Borders

Philiphaugh Estate is an excellent place to watch salmon. Although the main salmon run is now over, salmon are still swimming up the river and visitors can enjoy all the highlights from their salmon viewing centre this winter.

The underwater cameras on the river consistently relay superb images to the centre due to the low water. When the river is in spate the water carries a lot of particles and there are lots of bubbles, this gives a pink glow on the cameras but as the water drops the clarity becomes crystal clear. A few days of rain raises the water level, this brings the fish up the river and they like to mill around in the oxygenated water below the cauld and then as the water level drops back down, the images on camera sharpen once again.

By taking a short walk to the cauld from the centre, the leaping salmon can be seen and in the centre, the live underwater cameras capture all the delights of this magical underwater world.

During high water, the fish leap at the cauld in their attempts to find their way up the river to the smaller burns in which to spawn, eventually all the fish find their way to the fish pass in the centre of the river and swim up.

The low water through the autumn meant that many fish were held back and came into their breeding colours, giving them a dark appearance but after the rain a new run of beautiful fresh clean looking fish came through. It is hoped that the run extends well into December.

There are fewer fish to see from January to March and the leaping salmon should have finished by this time but we have installed cameras into an artificial otter holt and we are keeping our fingers crossed that this will be occupied soon. If we are lucky we will have live images from the otters in their home relayed straight into the salmon viewing centre.

During the winter months you can take a bracing walk on the beautiful Philiphaugh Estate, followed by some home cooked delights at The Waterwheel Restaurant. (Estate Leaflets with trail routes are available from the Salmon Viewing Centre and The Waterwheel).

Keep the children busy with The Brass Rubbings Trail.
Pick up a map, pencil and pad from The Waterwheel and find ten brass rubbings plaques, of wildlife from the area located in a trail. Starting from the centre, cross over the bridge and head down to the cauld. Continue along the river up to the meetings pool, where the Yarrow meets the Ettrick Water and return through the woods.

Follow the map on the brass rubbings leaflet and keep the leaflet to use at two further brass rubbings trails at Glentress Forest and Kailzie Gardens in Peebles.

Keep a look out for the wildlife as you go along, as the plaques are there to remind you about the amazing wildlife that can be seen at each of these three sites.

Salmon DVD Available Soon
So much footage has been collected from the fish cameras that  an extended narrated version of a highlights DVD will be on sale from the Waterwheel Restaurant from February 2008.

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