The blog is back and active

I have been ill and to be honest after all the stuff that went on with my health I forgot all about my blog.

I still have some health issues but am trying to forget about them and continue helping others.

So please bookmark the blog and keep an eye on whats happening with Reels on Wheels.

The Top 5 Wheelchair Accessible Holiday Cottages for Anglers

Thank you to Nick for kindly allowing us to have a guest spot on Reels on Wheels to talk about some of the UK’s finest cottages for angling holidays, and in particular, those specifically laid out with wheelchair access in mind.  We’ve chosen our top 5 favourites, some of which provide exclusive access to a number of angling hotspots and others allow you to fish literally on the doorstep, with waterways running straight through their grounds.  Most importantly, all of the properties are wheelchair accessible!

So without further ado, here’s our top 5…

Osprey Cottage, Meilgle, near Dundee, Scotland

Sleeps 4

Set on a 2000-acre estate and within easy reach of the CairngormsNational Park, this property is great for an ‘away-from-it-all’ escape. In terms of angling opportunities, there’s free salmon fishing on the nearby River Isla, albeit by prior arrangement with the owner. There’s also some great wildlife spotting from the property including red squirrels, nesting ospreys and deer. The property boasts wheelchair access and also allows pets.

Lamorna, Tresooth Holiday Barns, near Falmouth, Cornwall

Sleeps 6

With an outdoor heated pool, Jacuzzi, games room and sauna, this cottage will keep everyone in the group occupied, keen anglers or not!  Fishing opportunities are focused on the nearby Argyle reservoir, whilst the property itself is all on the ground floor with 2 double rooms (one en-suite) and 1 twin room. The cottage is set just 3 miles from the port of Falmouth with its beautiful harbours, restaurants, cafes and shops.

River View Villa, Liskeard, Cornwall

Sleeps 6

Set just 11 miles from the sandy beaches of the SouthCornwallCoast, this detached wheelchair-accessible villa is set by a lake stocked with carp, roach and bream. However, it’s worth noting that you will need to bring your own fishing license, barbless hooks and landing nets. In the evening there is a licensed bar and restaurant just outside the property’s grounds.

Yenworthy Barn, near Lynmouth, Devon

Sleeps 8 – 10

This converted barn is set in a great position on the northern slopes of picturesque Exmoor, only a few hundred metres from the sea (although if it’s sunbathing you’re after, the nearest sandy beach is a 5 mile drive away). Private river fishing is available by arrangement, and during the summer there is a barbeque available for alfresco dining. Best of all, if you don’t feel like cooking then there are three gastro-pubs within 3 miles of the property! Pets are also welcome.

Caddleton Farmhouse, Ardmaddy Castle, near Oban, Scotland

Sleeps 10 – 12

This one is great for large groups, but it’s quite a drive if you’re coming from outside of Scotland. The cottage itself is 4 star accredited, and is set on its own bay with some great views over to Seil Sound. The fishing is free and is centered around Ardmaddy’s stocked hill loch. Wheelchair access is on the ground floor and for the disabled category 1.

And that’s our top 5! Hopefully our list will have given you some inspiration for your next fishing holiday in the UK. Alternatively, if none of these cottages have taken your fancy then be sure to check out our full listings of self catering cottages for anglers.

Ben Johnson for Historic UK

Reels On Wheels Fishing Festival 2012

The fishing festival this year started with what could have been a disaster, all the trophies for the weekend failed to turn up despite being promised that they would all be delivered before lunch on Friday, we finally left Cambridgeshire at 6pm and as it was a four day weekend we expected terrible traffic, but both Dave and I were amazed that we met no traffic at all and did the 200 miles in three and a half hours.

When we arrived at the Peterstone fishery, everyone jumped into action, Michael and Dave emptying the ‘Buddy Bus’ and Kev organising the construction of the marquee, within minutes the bus was empty and the marquee was up so the next job was a cuppa.

Friday night was spent catching up with some of the regulars and meeting some of the new faces taking part in this years event.

Saturday morning saw the draw take place and I had to apologise to everyone over the lack of trophies but everyone was very good about it, after all this was the first major mistake that had been made in five years of festivals. As a change in the norm we had agreed that everyone was able to defend their titles from the previous year so Kev and I were paired up again, Nick took advantage of his position of founder and partnered up with Jamie and as co-founder Rosie chose to partner Dave, everyone else went into the draw and the team to fear was made up of Steve Emms (Hipflask) and Maver Merv, both of whom have fierce reputations as top anglers. It was a bit of a chilly morning so all methods were used to prevent heat loss.

So the draw done everyone got to their swims some of us with loads of help from other anglers but we all got their in the end, the all in shouted we all started fishing. I had drawn a nice peg with a couple of feature to cast to, the far bank and some reeds, and I was into fish very quickly, using a pellet method feeder I was into carp of 3-4lb  on a regular basis with the odd bigger fish going up to about 8lb in fact I was into so many fish that I had to call for a keep-net weigh in about two hours before the end of the match, I had over estimated and only had about 34lb but even whilst I was weighing in the net I was playing another fish!! I had never had a session like it. The only problem I had was I was going through hook links and elasticated feeders for fun. At the final weigh in I had 61lb 4oz followed by Kev with 27lb 1oz and for the first time ever we had a joint third place with Steve Emms and Andrew equal on 17lb 13oz.

Saturday evening saw the usual banter laughing and tom foolery we have come to expect, and we even managed to get a visit from Captain Pugwash

Later in the evening we could have done with his boat as the heavens opened it ended up with Michael trying to save the awning on the ‘Buddy Bus’ as it was collapsing under the weight of the rain.

Sunday morning was a bit brighter, but the forecast was for heavier rain most of the day. The draw for the day was done and we all trailed off to our pegs. Although some of us were more relaxed about it than others.

Again I thought I’d keep it simple with a method feeder. Just like yesterday I was into the fish straight away, they seemed to be of a bigger stamp than the fish from yesterday, I was still losing hook links and breaking feeders for fun, I ended up breaking eight elasticated feeders and who knows how many hook links over the two days but I was down to my last size 16 after starting on 12s and 14s. The day ended up with me having another net full of 53lb 2oz yet again Kev came second with 31lb 11oz and for only the second time ever we had a joint third place with Merv and Jon catching 17lb 9oz of fish each

Once everyone had packed up, Nick and I retired to the ‘Buddy Bus’ to work out all the final results for the pairs, biggest fish, junior champion, and who would win the notorious ‘Booby Prize’ Then it was out to the marquee to do the presentation, some of the pictures are above but there was still the pairs, etc

Above the pairs winners Kev and I and below keeping it in his family the junior champ was Jamie Kevs’ son

Just a couple of trophies to declare the winners of now and the first of those is rather special the Steve ‘Bluey’ Robinson memorial trophy, given each year to someone who has contributed something special to Reels On Wheels either during the previous year or generally over a period of years, it was decided that this year it should be presented to Martin Cronin

Now it was time for Nick to exercise his vocal chords by running the auction, this year there were quite a few special pieces, a couple of ‘Fish of the week’ shirts from the Anglers Mail several books and bits of tackle and last but not least a very special cake cooked by Dave Pooleys wife Julie

I opened the bidding at £10 and was lucky enough to win it too, I think we will still be eating it in a month it was huge (and yummy)

During the raffle most of us were on tenterhooks waiting for our numbers to come up but some were more relaxed about it than others.

With nearly everything over and done with there was just one more trophy to give out, the ‘booby’ prize, this can be given for being a complete idiot over the weekend or in this years case it was awarded to someone who no matter what you asked him to do he did it without complaining and was always offering help to everyone, this year the booby prize went to my son Michael

All that was left was to say a great big thank you to everyone who attended and made it another great weekend then take down the marquee and pack the bus ready for the journey home. Yet again it was a great journey home and we were home by 9.30.

I would personally like to say a huge thank you to my co driver Dave not only for driving but for loading and unloading the bus with Michael, also to everyone who helped putting up the marquee and taking it down again and to my pairs partner Kev.

Thanks to faces new and old the festival was a great success and we raised over £720 thank you all and I hope we will see everyone at next years event. There has to be one last huge thank you to Martin Cronin for allowing us to use the lake yet again free of charge.

Carp Match in Devon

The NORTH DEVON FISHING BANTER AND TIP PAGE (Facebook) have arranged a Carp Match to help raise funds for Reels on Wheels. The event takes place on Saturday the 26th May at Digger Lakes.  The owner has given the group the use of Persey’s lake FREE of charge as the match is for a good cause, so a massive thank you must go the the owner.

The draw takes place at 8am and the match starts at 9am and finishes 24 hours later. Fiona has done a great job setting this all up and pulling the whole thing together and thanks must also go to all the anglers who wanted a place in the match. Every place up for grabs had gone within 20 minutes of the announcement.

I am taking part and looking forward to meeting all these fantastic people and personally thanking them for their support to our organisation.

On another note  the World Carp Classic is getting closer and Reels on Wheels would love to be sponsored by a local business. I know the amount we need sounds high but the rewards are great. Lots of publicity and of course media coverage in the UK, France and of course Italy where the event takes place. You can read more about that in my WCC Blog HERE.

Once the WCC  is over I intend to look for a lake in Devon that is either not in use or is hardly ever used in the hope of getting it for a peppercorn rent and turning it into a 100% wheelchair accessible venue, so if anybody has any ideas about that please let me know.

Tight Lines

Fundraising Letter

2012 is a hugely important year in the British calendar as we approach the Summer Olympic and indeed, Paralympic Games. For 4 disabled people it is also a hugely important year: It’s a year they have dreamed of for a long time and it will be their last competitive adventure together, as a Team.

I am referring to Team Reels on Wheels and their enormously inspiring undertaking to fish the 2012 World Carp Classic at Lake Bolsena, Italy. It’s a globally recognised competition with fantastic promotional and marketing opportunities for all those involved and these 4 disabled anglers will be representing England and the disabled community in a gruelling 6 days, 5 nights non-stop fishing marathon.

Nick Rowe (founder of the not-for-profit organisation Reels on Wheels) and Jim Williams, best friend and staunch supporter of the above, will be fishing the competition. Nick (61 this year!), is a wheelchair user, suffering with osteo-arthritis throughout his joints, and a crumbling spine who doesn’t recognise the word “can’t”. Jim (who will be 51 soon), suffers from acute organo-phosphate poisoning, which exhausts him and necessitates him taking oxygen with him on long trips.

They are allowed a runner (or assistant) each, due to their disabilities, so their back-up Team members are David Pooley, who suffers from cluster headaches (also known as “suicide headaches” as that’s their effect on the psyche), and finally Claire Pearce, (also an angler), who suffers from Fibromyalgia and uses a wheelchair when necessary. The entire team comprises anglers with various disablities, which makes them unique to the competition.

Last year, they fished the WCC in France at Lac de Madine and earned the respect, admiration and friendship of an international audience. This year they were invited back and admit that it will be their last epic trip to fish a competition on this scale – unless of course, they win! As Italy is considerably further from home thanFrance, they need to raise more funds to cover the event. The costs of fuel, etc. have risen and they are looking for financial aid of £3,000.

The breakdown of this amount has been blogged by Nick Rowe himself, explaining where the funds will go and how they will be used. The “Buddy Bus” alone which is highly visible, will act as a mobile First Aid point, in the event that any of the Team are taken ill. It’s also somewhere for Claire and David to rest and/or cook; it will carry medication and supplies for the trip, including Jim’s oxygen cylinder and spares for tackle and wheelchairs! As you can probably appreciate, the planning to enable this trip is more like that of a military operation, but that’s what happens when Team ROW gets the bit between their teeth.

Their aim is simply to inspire and encourage people to follow their hearts and their dreams and not to let disability prevent them from taking part in life. Reels on Wheels was set up in 2007 to help encourage people who’d given up recreational pursuits like angling, through illness, disability or lack of mobility, to get back out again, by connecting them with “buddies” who would be willing to help carry their gear, land their fish, or simply share transport, etc. on a national scale.

It has developed into the most widely respected angling organisation of its kind, helping 100s of anglers and newcomers to enjoy a sport that all of the Team are passionate about. So, if you could help them out by funding this courageous adventure, they will proudly wear your T-shirts, sport your logo on the Buddy Bus, their tackle boxes, their caps and their cars, mention your name whenever they are chatting or being interviewed by TV and other media, and promote yourself or your company whenever an opportunity arises!

If you are unable to offer Team Reels on Wheels your financial support or a donation at this time, but you know someone who may be interested in helping them to achieve their goal, then please would you pass this letter on? Thanks very much for taking the time to read about it and if you’d like to discuss the mission further, please don’t hesitate to call or email us!

Yours truly,

Patrons for Reels on Wheels.

Finding people who would like to be a patron is hard, but I was shocked when a celebrity told me that they didn’t donate money and would not be interested in being a patron. I was gob smacked, it’s not about getting money from them and I have never asked a patron for money. If a patron wants to donate something that’s great BUT we never ask.

I realise how busy people are so never ask much from a patron. Time is money in any man’s language so we ask very little from them.

I believe that the more patrons Reels on Wheels has the more people will take notice and help us to continue helping others who have a disability.

What do I expect from a patron? Very simple they can do one of several things to help the organisation.

1. They can mention ROW when they are out and about, or mention us in an interview they are doing or even in an article they may be writing. Any form of publicity from a patron helps and makes people take notice.

2. A patron can send us something that we can auction to help raise funds, it could be a signed book, a dvd or just a signed photograph.

3. If we hold an event near to their home town and they have some time to spare then it would be nice to see them at the event, we do understand that people are busy so do not expect this from them.

Just by putting their name and photograph on our website, to what we do helps, so just that on its own is enough.

If you are in the public eye and would like to be a patron and believe in what we do and what we stand for then please contact me and lets have a chat.

We need your help

Last year Jim Williams and I fished the world carp classic…well we are going to do it again this year, but we need help.

Now we are not going to beg for financial help but simply ask…if you can help no matter how little we will be very grateful, and over the next few days we will tell you more about it and why we are all doing this.
This year will be my last year of competition fishing due to my illness getting worse, so we want to make the WCC in september something special, not just for me but for 3 other people too and 2 of those will tell you what it means to them.
We were the first team of disabled anglers to take part in its 12 yr history and got plenty of publicity for our sponsors last year.
This year we have been promised even more and have agreed to make a video diary with the posability of it being shown on prime time tv.
The entry fee has been paid for by a very generous person, and the fee for a 2nd helper has been covered by the WCC organiser.
We need to raise a total of £2000….sounds a lot but the publicity disabled angling will get will be worth ten times that amount. If we can get that from just one person they will get all the publicity along with us, we will wear shirts with their logo on and have their banners with us if its a company. If the money is raised by individuals then we will say we are sponsored by very generous people who believe in what we are doing for disabled angling.
Last year we were promised money from several places but never got it so this year we are asking that if you want to help us then please do so but please don’t make promises.
The event this year takes place in Italy at Lake Bolsena just north of Rome and promises to be an event to remember.
So first let me show you what Claire wrote to me about why she wanted to be our helper this year.

What the World Carp Classic Means to Me

I am Claire an avid angler since being a toddler, I take part in all parts of angling from a relaxed session with friends through to national matches.

However over the past few years I have progressively become more and more disabled the reasons why are not important, but the limitations it places on me are.
The World Carp Classic is the pinnacle of a sport I love and this may well be the last year I am fit enough to go to an event this big.

I may not be fishing the competition but just being involved with an event this big would really be a privilege. The whole team is made up of my friends, and colleagues in Reels On Wheels and we all have disabilities some visible some invisible.
Just to be at this huge event as a helper would be my only chance to be involved world class angling event and as such it would be the pinnacle of my angling life, before my body will no longer be able to take the stresses and strains that a week-long event will place on it.
It may not seem important to most people to go to Italy and sit there watching two people fish for a week and do all of the cooking and tea making for them and their helper, but to me it is an amazing once in a lifetime opportunity that I will be able to remember and talk about forever, so if anyone can help me forefill this dream I would be eternally grateful.

Please we need you to help us show that disabled anglers around the world can do almost anything.