Monday, 19 August 2013
The agile trout
Kilnsey Park, where the three alpacas have gone to live, started out as a trout farm. (There has always been a tradition of fishing in the area, from the earliest days when lay brothers from Fountains Abbey farmed here, through Victorian times when the river was noted for its fishing.) Over the years the farm has diversified very successfully to become a visitor attraction, with activities for children and a host of interesting conservation features.
However, trout farming, fishing and smoking are still its main focus. There are attractive spring-fed lakes where you can learn to fly-fish and, when you've landed your catch, they will prepare it ready for you to take home to cook. The Kilnsey Trail meanders through the estate, past the various fish nurseries, where baby trout are nurtured into fully grown adults in a series of raceways until they are ready to be harvested or released into the lakes. You get a packet of fish food with your entry ticket and it's wonderful to watch the big muscular fish leaping and thrashing to catch the pellets. They really make the water boil.
There are, apparently, four different type of trout on the farm - rainbow, blue, brown and golden. I'm not sure what type those in my photo are, though they had a distinctive pink stripe. I brought some of the smoked fillets home and they are absolutely delicious, melt-in-the-mouth tender, with a lovely subtle flavour.