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New stock of Wild Flowers of Britain has arrived in our warehouse. Here are some early spring flowers to start looking out for: lungwort, crocus, hairy wood rush, ivy speedwell, bog myrtle and lots more!
It might be cold but it’s beautiful too. One of over 180 stunning images from The Forest of Bowland by Helen Shaw and Andrew Stahchuski (£20).
Above: View towards Cold Stone and Kearsden Holes
Peter McLeod, author of GT – A Fly Fishers Guide to Giant Trevally is currently away on a 10-day mothership-based adventure in the Seychelles to Providence Atoll. Of all the atolls in the Indian Ocean, Providence is perhaps the most exciting as they explore the unknown. At over 140 km² Providence is the largest of all the atolls they fish offering huge adventure to those that wade her flats. There are two small land masses at either end, North Island and Cerf Island in the south. It is not possible to see one from the other which will give you an inkling of how big an area there is to fish. Between the two is a piscatorial playground of massive open sand and turtle grass flats intersected by channels creating GT highways; the perfect hunting ground for marauding GTs. We look forward to hearing how it goes.
We also have a whole host of wild spring flowers to enjoy this month including primroses, pussy willow, sweet violets, lesser periwinkles and dandelions. Spring is finally here! The image left is another of the 150 stunning watercolour images in Wild Flowers of Britain (£8.99). The book is selling extremely well and we only have a handful of copies left in stock but a new printing is due to arrive in our warehouse on 23 March.
An unusual photograph showing the incredible resilience of the Brown hare, lying in its form after heavy snow. Henry VIII made it illegal for anyone to use snow as a means of tracking or killing hares. Photo from The Hare by Jill Mason (£20).
This is the month of the March Brown (left - with its artificial equivalent right). This is the first of the large upwinged flies to hatch on trout streams and an exciting moment for the flyfisher. Hatches of the fly tend to be short but spectacular, sometimes just 15 minutes of activity in which these large upwinged flies burst from fast water, triggering a sudden rise of fish. The flyfisher must be ready to respond quickly if he is to stand a chance of catching his trout. The Pocket Guide to Matching the Hatch – the first ever to feature the natural insect next to its matching artificial fly – arms the angler with all the information he needs to select the right fly from his flybox. Good luck!
Joanne Potter and Karen McCall will be representing Merlin Unwin Books and all our authors at the London Book Fair stand 4E20 at the Ivy on Tuesday 14 and Wednesday 15 March.
Cheltenham Gold Cup is just around the corner, so why not get in the mood with our elegant hardback The Racing Man’s Bedside Book – as book of the month for March it’s a sure winner – divided into: Horses, Owners, Trainers, Jockeys, The Players and Festivals. The greats of equestrian writing are all here: Jeffrey Barnard, Philip Larkin, John Bejeman, Simon Barnes, Ernest Hemingway, Evelyn Waugh, RS Surtees and even Sir Winston Churchill.
Here is Hugh McIlvanney in the book with an extract from The Observer, concluding his description of his favourite Gold Cup race, 1986, with Jonjo on the back of Dawn Run.
He never considered charging off into the distance as Dawn Run has done while murdering opponents in the past. Cheltenham’s hills and stiff obstacles would, he knew, have made such tactics madness. So we were privileged to see the ride of a lifetime, a monument to patience, nerve, courage and technical brilliance, the mature masterwork of a great jockey. ‘Half-way through the run to the last fence she seemed beat,’ he said on Friday night. ‘But I let her get her own feet and she jumped it well. She’s a moody old devil, and neither me nor anyone else could get her to do something if she didn’t want to. She wasn’t absolutely knackered. She was taking a breather, saying, ‘I’m going fast enough here’.. After Wayward Lad went two or three lengths up he began to hang across in front of me towards the rails. I realised he was tired and stopping and so did she. So we both got stuck in together.
They did, even more dramatically than when winning the Champion Hurdle in 1984. At the line Jonjo, he admits, ‘went crackers’ which left him about twice as sane as a reception party that nearly made him the first rider to have a leg broken in the winners’ enclosure. Through it all the bright face under the dump of reddish hair never lost its expression of delirious bliss.
Some man. Some horse. Some day.
The book normally retails at £18.95 but throughout March you can buy it through out website for just £10 plus p&p!
Pike fights are often long and can be spectacular but, once you've landed your fish, you need to take care when unhooking your pike. They're not as strong as they look and they mustn't be out of the water for too long. Another problem is that a pike's mouth is a dangerous place to be. Fishing with Emma by David Overland (£9.99) is full of expert tips and advice. Here, Emma demonstrates the gentle way to handle and unhook pike that's safe for both you and the fish:
D. P. Hart-Davis’ fieldsports thriller, The Stalking Party, is perfect winter reading and has had the following reviews:
'A fast-moving and sinister thriller revolving around a wealthy stalking party assembled for sport amidst the grandeur of a Scottish deer forest.' Fieldsports Magazine
'An engaging and entertaining read. Her attention to detail in the spell-binding passages on stalking gives this thriller real gravitas among the genuine shooting community. And the authors' characterisation of the main players will ring true with anyone who has spent any time in this sort of environment. But this crime thriller is not just for the green jacket brigade – it's an enjoyable read from any perspective.While you're waiting for that next shooting trip, it certainly makes for an entertaining way to fill a few hours.' Shooting Gazette
'Unusual but gripping who-dunnit.... A thoroughly entertaining read. Having picked it up, you will not be able to put it down until all is at last revealed. Just the thing to take with you to a Scottish sporting house party.' British Deer Society.
It has always been possible to sort otters into four rough categories by the state of development of their teeth. Cubs have deciduous teeth still in place, immatures are not full sized and not fully developed sexually, sub-adults are full sized, but have unworn teeth and their canine teeth are still slender, and adults show some wear and tear to their teeth. The otter pictured above has a good set of sharp teeth – an indication of youth.
Photo from The Otter by James Williams (£20)
Megan Boyd rarely stirred from her flytying bench in her cottage in her beloved Brora, unless it was to local customers or to ceildhs with friends. But the book Megan Boyd, The Story of a Salmon Flydresser, has found favour as far afield as Finland and Denmark, with fantastic features in Pohjolan Perhokalastajan (Nordic Fly Fisherman Magazine, Finland) and Sportsfiskeren (The Angler, Denmark) thanks to journalist Thomas Vinge.
Addiction is best dealt with in the open. So writes South Africa’s Tudor Caradoc-Davies before he interviewed our author of GT – A Flyfisher’s Guide to Giant Trevally, Peter McLeod. For The Mission Flyfishing magazine, McLeod reveals the best places he’s been GT fishing, his favourite GT fly, why he loves GT, his first and most recent GT capture – and why he wrote this book which was an instant sell-out and the reprint is just back in stock. You can read the interview in full here.
Susan Low, who writes for Delicious magazine, met Bob Kennard, author of Much Ado about Mutton, at a recent Guild of Food Writers' event. She's now a mutton convert after tasting some at the event. She said the mutton was 'wonderful, complex and full-flavoured ... it tastes amazing.' You can read Susan's piece 'Why it's time to bring back mutton' here.
Below left: two Welsh drovers from Much Ado About Mutton. Drovers walked on average 10-12 miles a day with their sheep.
Delighted to hear that Merlin Unwin Books swept the board in the Fish&Fly 2016 Fly Fishing Industry Awards with three of our fishing titles winning gold, silver and bronze for the Best Fishing Book. Jonathan White's Nymphing – the New Way won gold; Megan Boyd - The Story of a Salmon Flydresser won silver and Peter Mcleod's GT – A Fyfisher's Guide to Giant Trevally won bronze!
An adept airgun hunter needs to know and understand how to interpret each track, trail and sign. He needs to be a nature detective: the image right shows signs of a fox kill – a sparrowhawk would have cast the feathers more widely.
The Airgun Hunter's Year by Ian Barnett (£20)
Donald MacIntosh was a tree surveyor and forest botanist and travelled to some of the most remote parts of the rainforests of West Central Africa: from Nigeria and Liberia to Cameroon and Gabon his work also took him to Newfoundland and the Canadian wilderness
During this time he encountered witch doctors, hunters, gypsies, dictators, rogues and heroines. Sheltering under mahogany trees, sitting by a camp fire or sleeping in a mud hut, Donald heard tales of love, of ghosts and wild beasts, of humour and of passion which he recounts in Gone Native.
The book normally retails at £14.99 but throughout February you can buy Gone Native through out website for just £10 plus p&p!
Endorsements for Donald's previous book – Travels in the White Man's Grave:
'One of the surprises of the year.' The Daily Telegraph
'A poignant and humourous storyteller of the West African bush to rival Gerald Durrell,' TLS
'An evening with Mr MacIntosh and a bottle of scotch would be a treat.' Daily Mail
The Ride of My Life by Michael Clayton has been reviewed by Katherine Fidler in last Sunday's Racing Post. Katherine says: 'A thoroughly enjoyable book. His knack for distilling people and their stories into the written word, honed during his illustrious career, makes for the telling of some delightful and insightful tales.'
Snowdrop festival at St Peter's, Stanton Lacy, Shropshire, whose vicar was hanged at Tyburn in 1679. The tragic circumstances that led to the vicar's downfall are narrated in The Temptation and Downfall of the Vicar of Stanton Lacy (£12).