Maurice Ingham himself rarely fished, being content with the occasional walk round the haven to see how the members were doing. I remember talking to friends about the remnants of the Carp Catchers Club. We came to the conclusion that the capture of the 44 pounder at Redmire took something out of the group; nowadays we call it burn-out but then we couldn’t really understand why they all seem to have lost that overwhelming ambition to catch big carp.

One side of the haven was bounded by a old railway line, long since disused and the tracks removed. I saw my first badger at close quarters there one evening when nature called and the chemical toilet at the cottage seemed a long walk through the dark woods. Some way along the track entered a deep cutting and then a long tunnel, dark and dripping.

One brooding atmospheric evening when the sun was shining low below dark clouds, I walked along the track and into the tunnel, only stopping when a roof fall prevented further progress. I returned to my swim in a contemplative mood, thinking about the trains that must have rattled along that track when England’s railways were the best in the world. Later I must have dozed next to my rods (We used to stay awake all night then and sleep during daylight) and dreamed the sound of a train rattling through the cutting behind me, fading hollowly into the distance as it entered the tunnel.

The house pool at that time was gin clear and extremely weedy. Before the season started, many hours were spent by members dragging swims and prebaiting with swan mussels which grew very large in the lake. The main quarry was tench but the lake also contained a shoal of bream to about four pounds, millions of small roach and a large number of jack sized pike. We used to amuse ourselves catching them on little floating plugs from a boat during hot summer afternoons before getting down to the serious business of carp or tench fishing. Despite the clarity of the water the weed was so thick that we rarely saw any fish apart from small roach. The tench and bream bubbled but I never saw them roll. Later I was to take two twenty pound pike from the house pool on herring dead baits; fish we didn’t know were there.

The members of the syndicate that fished at that time besides myself were John Ellis, Ray Long, Paul Marshall, Stuart Trought, John Kiffin and Terry Coulson. More fishing was done by guests than members, Dick Walker often sending friends who quickly became our friends to during their brief stays at the haven.

One weekend I caught a fish of 12lbs. which I had seen in a photograph of Fred J Taylor. It had just four large scales on one side so was easily recognisable. He had caught it at 16 pounds when the Carp Catchers Club had been spending time at the haven over ten years earlier. An anorak belonging to Pete Thomas was still in the cottage so I decided to have my photograph taken wearing Pete’s anorak holding Fred’s fish. I kept my silly hat on though.

One evening I had the haven to myself, a fairly frequent occurrence in those days. The weather was close, almost sultry. Thunder rumbled in the distance and I put my umbrella up in readiness for the downpour I knew was coming. The atmosphere grew more and more oppressive as darkness fell. Suddenly my silver paper cylinder shot up to the butt ring and jammed. I still struck even though I knew the fish had long gone. I wound in and threaded on another potato from the OXO tin. I cast out and carefully took the pick up off. As I did so, the silver paper on the other rod shot up to the buttring, the line rustling as it shot out at high speed. I grabbed the rod but as I did so the line stopped. The fish was gone. As I threaded another potato on, by the dim red light of the bicycle lamp carp fisherman used to bait up by in those days, the weather broke. A streak of lightning hissed into the meadow on the other side of the lake followed by a clap of thunder that echoed for seconds round the tree girt banks of the lake. Deafened , I found myself seconds later clutching the shaft of my umbrella as a giant hand tried to pluck it from my grasp. The rain came down in sheets, hissing and rustling through the branches behind me. My rods were blown from my R.Walker designed rod rests and lay half in the water. I don’t know how long I sat there cold, wet and miserable, waiting for the storm to abate and trying to remember who had caught some monster carp during a storm but it was during this period when I noticed from the corner of my eyes that my OXO bait box was moving of its own violition. If I looked straight at it it stopped moving but as soon as I looked away - it jumped. It had never occurred to me that the phrase ‘My blood ran cold’ is to be taken literally but at that moment I changed my opinion. I was also aware that the hairs on the back of my neck were raised and causing a prickling sensation. I watched transfixed as the box did a little dance, moving up and down, sliding slightly sideways and then back again. I picked up the box and slammed it down again. Underneath - one very dazed looking mole.

After several years of fishing Woldale I began to realise that not only was the carp stocks very limited but that the larger fish were indeed very old and losing weight year by year. Also in the time I was a member, the character of the lakes changed. I suspect that agricultural chemicals were responsible for these changes as the land around the haven was fairly intensively farmed. When I first became a member, both lakes were heavily weeded. Sometimes much work was needed before it was possible to fish. By the time I reluctantly let my membership lapse, the lakes were murky and coloured and lacking weed of any description.

The tench lake held my interest for a couple of seasons after a guest had caught a twenty two pound pike from the water. I repeated his feat and took the same fish on a half herring at the second attempt. A further fish of twenty and a half pounds followed it. Frank Howson then caught the 22 pound fish again the following season and we soon realised that apart from these two twenties the lake was full of jacks.

By the time I had been fishing Woldale for five years I think I had probably caught all the fish in both lakes but I still returned season after season. It wasn’t just the fish that attracted me but a certain brooding atmosphere that I find many estate lakes possess. A feeling of impending great happenings, of big fish being just around the corner.

One afternoon I lay in the long grass where the fence went into the water by the chestnuts. A carp was rubbing itself against the fence where it entered the water. I assumed it was trying to remove some fish lice of which I’d observed many of the fish were infested. I swung a small potato out near him and laid back and enjoyed the scenery. After ten minutes or so the fish disappeared and I saw a small van pull up at the top of the track behind me. A man sat down next to me and said he’d come to service the ram pump which we could hear thumping away in the woods. We sat and smoked a cigarette together and I could see he was enjoying the serenity of the Haven. Suddenly he said, "Your line’s moving". Indeed it was. I made a grab at the rod, missed it and burnt through the line with the cigarette. The line clattered out through the rings and disappeared into the lake. We sat there open mouthed and then he let out a great peal of laughter with which I joined in after a second's hesitation.

In 1967 I moved to Norfolk and a year later said a final goodbye to the haven. It had provided me with thousands of hours of peace and excitement. I had arrived a green and inexperienced carp angler. I left a confident and knowledgeable angler, sure I could catch carp from anywhere.