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Ronan's report

Sunday May 22nd 2011

King Malcolm III of Scotland has a lot to answer for.

He's the one that pops up now and again in Shakespeare's Macbeth. He get's the English troops to don Ghillie Suits to become the walking woods of Birnam, and ends by scooping up the crown at the last moment, after everyone else has been stabbed, run through, or killed themselves.

Malcolm is also thought to have invented Highland Games. He got people to run up and down a hill near Braemar to sort out who could run fastest and so become the royal messenger.

They still do the running-up-and-down-hills bit, but nowadays the Scots are much more into chucking things around. Yep: stones, hammers, iron balls, bails of hay, 19ft long logs; if a guy can lift it, you can bet he's tried to see how far or how high he can chuck it at some time or other.

No wonder the annual Scottish Sexyloops Gathering is popular then. This year we even held it in a genuine highland games arena, complete with spectator seating and caber holes in the turf.

As with the Scottish Play, there is always lots of camouflage clothing to be seen and I'd swear that the foliage still sneaks up behind you as you're about to deliver a killer cast on the River Don. King Malcolm would be proud.

And no matter what a rod is designed for, at the SL Gathering someone is eventually going to see how far he can chuck it.

Which is a long way. A very long way.

Last weekend I witnessed a saltwater distance outfit go to nearly 150ft, a five weight go 134ft and a three weight go a stunning 117ft. Even Macbeth's witches couldn't have predicted that.

At one point we had Mike Heritage, Stefan, and Fredrik all casting simultaneously. How's that for drama? I've never seen so much fly line in the air at the same time. I don't know how they do it, but I'm pretty sure eye of newt is involved somewhere.

If only Shakespeare's kings could've settled their arguments via a Sexyloops shoot-out. There'd have been a lot less blood shed. And double hauling would've been invented centuries ago.


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