During June storms that heralded some of the heaviest snow in years I was camped up on Barrington, squeezing in one last fish before the season closed. Some time in the wee small hours, iced kidneys and a sodden head heralded catastrophic swag failure. Abandoning ship I ended up under an old army blanket in the back of the Land Rover, wedged between the esky and cooking locker. With the rain and wind rattling the canvas canopy and sleep elusive, an epiphany was had. Why hadn’t I been in here in the first place?
With the opening of a new trout season, a couple of sheets of ply were cut to size and fixed through the holes that had once held the rear bench seats, forming a level false floor in the rear tub with storage underneath. The job took an hour, give or take six years of planning, and the next day I headed to a favoured stretch of Barrington trout stream. It was a job to get in, with fallen trees, collapsing bridges and road closures but we finally got through late in the afternoon.
It’s hard to believe the difference two bits of plywood can make. I slept the sleep of angels on a warm level surface, out of the wind, and at first light there was no need to even get out of the swag to brew coffee or cook porridge on the Trangia. Even the sometimes elusive Barrington trout felt the difference, taking flies with such enthusiasm I lost count of fish taken over eight hours of rock hopping.
On the last morning, drinking coffee, in bed, a light rain began to patter the canvas and the misery of that June storm began to fade to distant memory. DT