Hardy Fin & Fly

Dates For Your Diary 2014 by Chris Ogborne

Many years ago when I was just a lad there were a few milestone dates in the diary each season. They were days when my Father used to take me somewhere really special - to one of the big shows where all manner of fishing shooting and country sports were on display. There were very few of these events back then but they were the big ones days that still shine in the memory such as The Bath and West where I first learned to cast a fly properly or the CLA Game Fair where I first held a Falcon on my wrist

It says much for the authority of those two classics that they are still running today and are now considered to be the best of their kind events that have stood the test of time and grown into International shows of the highest order. The Royal Bath and West as it's now called is still the benchmark for an agricultural and country show whilst the CLA Game Fair is quite simply the biggest of its kind anywhere in the World and a true showcase for field sports and everything that is good in the British countryside.

Of course there are many more. Some are classics in their own right whilst others are occasional shows subject to the vagaries of weather or the state of the economy. Indeed the number of regional and national shows is now counted in the hundreds and because of competition between them they tend to specialise in various areas. On a warm week-end in June or July you could choose between six or more to visit - such is the proliferation in recent years. Unless your time and budget is unlimited a little selectivity is called for!

So at the risk of being accused of favouritism may I offer a small selection of what is on offer this year. In my opinion these are the best of the best dates that really should be in your diary and events fully deserving of support.

GWCT Scottish Game Fair 4-6 July Scone Palace Perthshire. Scotland's premier show on the banks of the River Tay - I just wish it was bit closer to home for me!

CLA GAME FAIR 18-20 July Blenheim Palace Woodstock. The biggest and the best now with an International reputation and following. If you only go to one show this year make it this one - you will not be disappointed. Find out more.

Chatsworth Country Fair 29-31 August Chatsworth. The house the setting the estate the countryside the people the show. I've always had a soft spot for Chatsworth.

Midland Game Fair 20-21 September Weston Park Shropshire. It's getting late in the season but with shooting just around the corner it's like a farewell to summer. I can smell the gun oil from here!

I'm sorry if I've missed your favourite show. In truth there are so many and they are all special in their own way. But whether you're a regular or if this will be your first visit this year any of the above will give you a unique insight to the countryside and will show you something of what makes Britain the special place that it is.

Chris offers guided fishing in Devon and Cornwall ranging from wild Brown Trout on the river through to saltwater fly fishing for Bass and Mullet visit his website www.chris-ogborne.co.uk or email Chris.