Partnership with Ullapool High School

Dundonnell Estate, which is owned by the Rice family, have worked with Ullapool High School for many years and over this time have offered the work placements to a number pupils, giving them the chance to work alongside head keeper Alistair MacDonald.

Last year they ran an event in conjunction with other estates on the River Broom to open the fishing season, giving pupils a chance to learn about salmon fishing and casting. 

The event at the River Broom, on the Inverbroom Estate, saw Ullapool High School pupils – who are studying their course at the nearby Leckmelm Farm – join the anglers to cast the first flies of the season.

Following a piped entrance for those gathered at the riverbank, the first flies were cast by Inverlael Estate proprietor Johnny Whitteridge and Inverbroom keeper Craig Mackintosh at the Bridge Pool and students quickly followed, showing considerable skills at casting.

This was the third year that Wester Ross Fisheries Trust has held the ceremony, which is carried out at different rivers in the system by rotation. The opening day started in 2013, having come about as a result of Mr MacDonald's 8-year-old daughter Sophie asking why they had a pipe band march towards the River Tay for the opening of their season. The Wester Ross Fisheries Trust asked Sophie to do the first cast, and the estates have held a ceremony every year since.

Dundonnell Estate’s Head Keeper and Ghillie Alasdair MacDonald said: “We were keen to create an annual event that will give a boost to the excellent salmon fishing we have in Wester Ross, and coming to the River Broom in 2016 also gave us the opportunity to involve the next generation of anglers who are coming out of Ullapool High School. It’s great to see such enthusiasm from the boys and girls and from their teachers.”

Student Erin Meek had the honour of blessing the river with a dram to ensure a good season of fishing. Ullapool High School Headmaster Robbie McFedries said he was delighted to be able to bring his students to the gathering and participate in an important aspect of community life in Wester Ross.

This year Dundonnell Estate have offered work placements for pupils involved in deer management and Estate maintenance skills. Additionally, they are in the process of organising further events with the school for a "Young Shots Day" in association with BASC.