Today I went to West Tanfield, next to the River Ure in Yorkshire, to pay my respects to Francis Walbran.  It was moving for me as I stood in front of his tombstone.   As you can see from my pictures it was a stonemason’s work of art and interesting to me that even in 1909 he was so highly respected that the tombstone was funded by ‘voluntary subscription’, presumably by his friends and readers of his books and articles. Walbran 1

Walbran’s book ‘How to Catch Grayling’, published in 1895, was influential in me taking up fishing and in me having a life-long love affair with Grayling.  Not many people can say this but as a child I knew about Grayling, even before I had started to fish.  My grandfather Owen Bowen was given Walbran’s book on his 18th birthday in 1919.  I read it as a child and I still read it now.   I now have my grandfather’s copy of Walbran’s book and also my grandfather’s fishing tackle.

Walbran 2Walbran mainly fished the River Wharfe and the River Ure for Grayling and 120 years after he was fishing them both are still excellent Grayling fishing rivers.

I now live less than half a mile from one of the spots on the River Wharfe that Walbran mentions in his book – at Ilkley.

Francis Walbran

Francis Walbran

If you find my reminisces at all interesting you might also like to read an article I wrote for the Ilkley Angling Association website – see and a piece which was published in some Yorkshire newspapers –