ANDREW DOUGLAS-HOME, AUTHOR

Where is it?

The River Tweed between Melrose and Coldstream.

Why do you go there?

Salmon fishing. I was very lucky to be brought up near Galashiels and my father had a wonderful bit of the river there called Upper Pavilion. My brothers and I spent the first 20 years of our lives, once we were old enough, fishing there.

How often do you go?

Our house at Coldstream is right on the river and I walk by it every day. The salmon fishing is let each day to fishing tenants, but I retain the right to fish in the evenings. I tend to go down once the evenings lengthen. But I never go down for more than an hour or so. I am getting on – I am 71.

I caught my first salmon when I was nine. I am nerdy enough to keep a fishing register, so I have records of every single salmon I have caught, including the first one which was in April 1960 at Carham where my mother was brought up.

How many have I caught over the years? I have never given that information away. I know and I suspect my children know because they have probably sneaked a look. It is quite a lot.

HeraldScotland: Andrew Douglas-Home, author of A River Runs Through Me: A Life of Salmon Fishing in ScotlandAndrew Douglas-Home, author of A River Runs Through Me: A Life of Salmon Fishing in Scotland

How did you discover it?

Through my father. He was what I would call a gentleman farmer. Even though he was a farmer, he seemed to have endless amounts of time to go fishing. He took us boys fishing.

In the school holidays in April and the summer, we could go fishing every day, which was incredibly lucky.

What's your favourite memory?

One evening I came back from work and went down, as I do, to the river. I hooked an enormous fish and it turned out to be just over 30lbs. There is something mystical about catching a 30-pounder.

And it is the only time I have ever done it. I was alone and I had to somehow get it in on my own. That is amongst my favourite memories.

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I didn't go out that evening expecting it to happen. That is the joy of fishing. Most of the time you don't catch anything. But everybody keeps coming back because every now and again you do.

Who do you take?

By and large, I am by myself. I never go in a boat to fish – I always wade from the side. But if we have friends staying, I row for them and I love doing that. You feel you are very much part of them catching something because I row while they fish. It is a good team effort.

What do you take?

I am terrible with kit. Most people think of a fisherman as having a deerstalker hat with flies on it and a coat with things sticking out of every pocket. I have none of that.

I have one rod which I look after incredibly badly and break every now and then. I have one box of flies which I put in my pocket and some nylon leader. I have my waders and off I go.

We have ghillies here – or boatmen as we call them – who look after the fishing tenants, and they are unbelievably rude about my kit and quite right too. I am a very bad example of what a typical fisherman looks like.

What do you leave behind?

I am retired now but I used to work hard as an accountant. I had my own firm. It was quite stressful because I used to work long hours.

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To come back on a summer's evening at 6pm or 7pm and be able to go down for an hour to fish was an absolute joy. Pure escapism and relaxation. When you are fishing, you can't really think about anything else.

Sum it up in a few sentences.

Stunning scenery. Wildlife. Fish jumping. The mesmeric nature of the water. Being alone and outside.

Where else is on your wish list?

I have fished on a lot of the rivers in Scotland, but I have never been abroad. There are great Norwegian, Russian and Icelandic salmon rivers.

I have never visited them because there is so much choice in Scotland and for most of my life it has been so good that I thought spending my precious holidays going fishing abroad seemed a waste.

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The real worry is that the numbers of fish now returning to Scotland are a fraction of what they once were, and nobody quite knows the reason why.

Climate change, other environmental factors – all of the above. Putting your finger on it and correcting it is very difficult. What we are trying to do at the moment is hold the line and keep the salmon going in the hope that things will turn round.

A River Runs Through Me: A Life of Salmon Fishing in Scotland by Andrew Douglas-Home is published by Elliott & Thompson, out now, priced £14.99