Saturday, August 10, 2013

Back from my Retreat!

Hi everyone,
I hope you are all well.  Wow, so many of you have entered my giveaway! But you know what, lets have some more! And don't forget to post about it on your blogs as this is about raising bloggy awareness lol

Well, I have had a mind blowing few days.

I went to  Mount Falcon in County Mayo for a fly fishing retreat for ladies who have/had breast cancer.  It is a specific charity called Casting for Recovery and they take ladies who have had breast surgery or treatment for breast cancer to fly fishing retreats, in England, Scotland, N. Ireland and S. Ireland.

I had never really felt drawn to fly fishing but after this last few days I am def. hooked!

The retreat itself is a balance of breast cancer education and support: body image, lymphodema advice with a qualified Lymphatic drainage nurse, relaxation techniques and of course getting to meet other ladies in all different stages and levels of disease and treatment with learning about trout fly fishing: the bugs in the water, types of flies, how to cast, how to land and how to have fun with fishing!  It really is ideal for those of us with sore arms etc as it is really gentle.  Technique and not strength!

And being crafty meant the knots were a doddle!!

We stayed in lodges next to the lake: this was our view.  They were three-bedroom lodges: two beds to a room and each room had its own bathroom.

This is me and one of my lodge-mates all kitted out. They gave us waterproof clothing and fishing bags complete with everything we needed.  These were on loan but the caps were ours to keep.  You have to wear caps and glasses (preferable polarised) for the fishing health and safety!

This is me and another lodge-mate with Denis Cronin, one of the teachers and as it turned out, my guide for the day when we actually fished!

Look at this motley crew; here we have 14 year survivors: people with secondary in the bones and in the liver and people who are just the outside of treatment: all living and having fun.  Cancer is sooo not winning here even though some still have it!  We all look like we know what we are doing don't we!

We were given sea hooks to practice the knots on:  I wasn't going to shame the crafting world by not being good at it (if I do say so myself!)
I was very proud of my knot!

The accomodation was superb!

And the food...omg this place has an award winning French Chef and the food was to die for!  We literally went around taking photographs of the food it was so stunning!  Delicious, well present and so much of it!!

Excuse the photos here on in: new camera and I didn't know how to change the setttings!

This was a sea food starter!

Pork belly starter with baked apple and apple puree sauce..melt in the mouth!

 The steak

All the veggies were served in little copper/brass (?) saucepans...sooooo cute.

This is Sue, one of the organisers, modeling the desert for me: from left you have mini almond tart with pear topping and pear puree, tiramasu in a chocolate case, little chocolate brownie with a whole almond on top: home made vanilla icecream and merangue peices.

My friend had the cheeseboard: all Irish cheeses and home made bread sticks, bread and chutney!

Then they brought out home made chocolate fudge and turkish delight....good grief....I won't eat for a week!

The organisers had great fun teaching us how to land our trout: the lady holding the fish owns a fishery up in Northern Ireland, and Sue had her running all over the was so funny but we really remembered everything!

The first day we were there was introductions and getting to know each other and a bit of BC stuff.
Day two, we were given rods with wool tied to the end and we learned to cast in the morning...the afternoon was spent looking what lived in the lake and how the man-made flies we use mimic these bugs.  There were a couple of BC sessions and a meditation session in here as well.

Day Three is fishing day and we were each given a fishing guide: well known, qualified teachers and fishers who compete in the high up competitions (I am new to this world so not sure the competitions are) and they all drove from all over, including England and all the counties of Ireland and they volunteer to do this. They aren't paid!  Just to come and spend the day with us to help us complete all we have learned with catching a trout!!!!

I had Denis Cronin, a wonderful guide and teacher who told me I showed great promise.  I caught five trout.  I put them all back, alive and well and with no stress except one.  I caught a biggee and he swam to the other side of the lake putting up a heck of a fight.  Sadly, the 20 minutes we spent landing him stressed him quite a bit and it damaged his heart.  It might have been a bit of my inexperience but he had to be put down: dispatched. So he came home and will be lunch today.  I will def. put the fishes wellbeing first at all times.  The hook goes into gristle which has no nerves and we use small, barbless hooks.  Some people catch for eating but for me it is the skill at the casting, chosing the right fly and landing well which is important.

I am pleased to say the other four trout I caught went back into the water within seconds of being landed and I put a little bit of bread in for them to say thank you.

One very wriggly trout!

Here are some of the ladies and volunteers at the last evening meal which we all got dressed up for.

There is so much organisation involved and it is all done by volunteers.  The hotel was wonderful and they donate a lot  as well, as it is their chosen charity.

I had a wonderful time and feel psychologically I have turned a corner which is great!

So today we are having fresh caught Rainbow Trout cooked in white wine, butter, lemon and thyme with home grown spuds, carrots, shallots, green beans and courgettes!


And I even managed to finish my crochet give away while I was away so it isn't all about the fish!

Surprisingly even though it was a breast cancer event, when we weren't in the bc session, we never gave the illness a thought!  So for me, the fishing is a keeper.  I will def. keep it going.

On another note, I was so impressed with the hotel complex. They treated us like queens and it is kind of family run which makes it even nicer.  They couldn't do enough for us and they have chosen Casting for Recovery as their specific cause.

They were so nice I got talking to the owner about stitching and she would love to learn so I am thinking about organising a stitching retreat there with access to the leisure centre etc.  There is so much to do there and it is in such a beautiful part of the country but I will let you know more later when I have a better idea of all the details.

Right; I have an autumn exchange to get ready for and two halloween exchanges...needles away!!!!

And don't forget the giveaways on the previous post.

I am a bit behind with the blog reading but will catch up hopefully over the next few days.  You guys have just been so busy!!!!

Have a great weekend everyone xxxxx


  1. Wow!! What a fabulous time ~ and your happiness is so evident! So glad you had this to attend!

  2. Looks like you had a great time . Hope you can continue with it , it has given you a new interest and release from the stress. X

  3. It looks and sounds like the retreat was exactly what you needed. How fun to learn something new :)

  4. It's lovely to hear you sounding so refreshed and upbeat. All the best with planning the stitching retreat, I am sure it will be fun

  5. How absolutely amazing! What fun and so inspirational for you all, it looks such a great experience.
    Goid luck organising a stitchy retreat there too.

  6. What a wonderful time!! Such an amazing place.

  7. Fantastic!! Looks like just what you needed. I have never fished for trout but I have a regular pole and lures for pond fishing here in the states.

  8. So glad you had a lovely time: well deserved!


Thank you for popping on and reading my blog. I love to read your comments and if you do comment, it means I can find your can never follow too many blogs!.

My Website