“Why fishing huts? Why should I have spent months tracking down these curious riverside structures all over Britain? Why, as a friend kindly put it, am I nuts about huts?” — Jo Orchard-Lisle
As many of you know, periodically the Land Library receives a well-traveled box of books from a British bookseller. Our last shipment included a book that set us dreaming about adding something truly unique to Buffalo Peaks Ranch, the future home of the Rocky Mountain Land Library. Given the ranch’s miles of Gold Medal trout streams, what better inspiration can we have than Jo Orchard-Lisle’s Fishing Huts: The Angler’s Sanctuary?
Like many exceptional books, Fishing Huts was sparked by a bit of obsession. Jo Orchard-Lisle: “The idea of making a tour grew on me rapidly. I determined to visit as many as I could, and to learn or imagine what changes they had witnessed over the years. So it was that I set out on an odyssey along the rivers of Scotland, England and Wales. I found huts of every description — old, new, large, small, elaborate, primitive, grand, simple.”
Over 270 color photos accompany Jo Orchard-Lisle’s fun narrative. The cover photo (pictured above) features perhaps the most famous fishing hut of all: Charles Cotton’s Fishing House on the River Dove, better known as “The Temple” –the famous haunt of Cotton and his friend Izaak Walton (also pictured above), the author of the all-time classic, The Compleat Angler.
Here’s three more fun huts:
“It was a great sadness to me that I never reached the enchanting little hut, poised like an eagle’s eyrie on a crag above the Blackwater, a tributary of the Brora. Its simplicity and its position, miles from anywhere, in the wilds of Sutherland, both seem to me perfect, and I have been lucky enough to get a friend to photograph it.”
The hut of F.M. Halford, author of the classic Dry Fly Fishing in Theory and Practice (1889). “Although recently restored, Oakley, or Halford’s Hut, has remained almost unchanged since it was built in 1906. It is now beautifully maintained by The National Trust, whose volunteers have created the little flower garden alongside.”
The author, inspired by her hut tour of the United Kingdom, built her own angler’s sanctuary along the River Avon. And so with this, Fishing Huts ends: “The hut is full of light but two simple panes have been fitted in the wall on the river side for further views. Work on the interior is still continuing as I write but it’s nearly done and so my journey ends, but with the enjoyable prospect of many happy hours in my hut ahead.”
OK, this much is certain. The future fishing hut at Buffalo Peaks Ranch will have four walls, at least four of which will be lined by books. Books such as these that speak to the precious freshwaters upon which we depend for so much:
Two classics: Cutthroat: Native Trout of the West by Patrick Trotter, Trout and Salmon of North America by Robert J. Behnke.
BugWater: A fly fisher’s look through the seasons at bugs in their aquatic habitat and the fish that eat them by Arlen Thomason, A View of the River by Luna Leopold (not an angling title, but like many of the books featured here, essential volumes for any riparian library!), Field Guide to Freshwater Invertebrates of North America by James H. Thorp (just published this past month).
A River Runs Through It by Norman Maclean, Riverwalking: Reflections on Moving Waters by Kathleen Dean Moore, The River in Winter: New & Selected Essays by Stanley Crawford, The Compleat Angler by Izaak Walton.
Yes, that Izaak Walton, the one whose simple, enigmatic and inspiring quote we someday hope to carve above the door of a very simple, book-lined hut along the banks of the South Platte River at Buffalo Peaks Ranch: Study to be quiet.
This post is part of an ongoing series inspired by the University of Colorado School of Architecture’s design work for Buffalo Peaks Ranch.