Cast from the Past; Eccentric Scot Made Flies for Anglers around World

Daily Record (Glasgow, Scotland), July 1, 2013 | Go to article overview

Cast from the Past; Eccentric Scot Made Flies for Anglers around World


Byline: Craig McQueen c.mcqueen@dailyrecord.co.uk

l FLY fishing is a world full of eccentrics, but Megan Boyd still managed to stand out from the crowd.

From her isolated cottage outside the village of Brora in Sutherland, she developed a worldwide reputation for tying the finest fishing flies, prized by salmon fishers everywhere.

Living without electricity or water, she dressed like a man and lived alone, treating all customers the same - from local fishermen to aristocrats and even royalty.

When she was awarded the British Empire Medal in 1971, she refused to travel to London as there was no one to look after her dog. Prince Charles travelled north and presented the medal himself.

She died 12 years ago, aged 86, but now a documentary is telling Megan Boyd's story through the eyes of the people who knew her.

Kiss The Water received its Scottish premiere at the Edinburgh Film Festival.

New York director Eric Steel says finding out who the real Megan Boyd was hasn't been easy. He said: "I first read about Megan when I spotted her obituary in the New York Times back in 2001.

"Something about it that I can't really put my finger on grabbed me.

"It seemed like I was reading a fairytale that was in the present and in the past at the same time."

Born in England in 1915, Megan moved to Scotland aged three. She was 15 when she was given a book on how to tie fishing flies.

She earned PS5 for her first commission and bought her father a suit before using the rest of the money to start her business.

Soon, her reputation spread from local fishermen, who believed her flies could attract salmon like no others, to fishing tourists and landed gentry, who would write to Megan with orders before travelling to Scotland on holiday.

Despite her success, she spent her life living in the same isolated cottage, which now lies derelict, looking out over the North Sea.

"Her house is like a fairytale cottage that has been swallowed up by the landscape," Eric said. …

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