Arctic char...... I'd caught sea-run arctics when I'd gone to live with a bunch of Inuit north of Resolute Island, just 200 miles, indeed, from the North Pole. They were the toughest-fighting fish for their size - which averaged 10 lbs - that I'd ever caught on fly. But the non-migratory char, the ones that got left behind in deep northern lakes, like the Lake District's Windermere and Bala in North Wales, when the Ice Age glaciers retreated - well, no, I hadn't.

So last summer when, with Keith Elliot, I had the chance of meeting up with a few in Arctic Sweden I was, as they say, chuffed. As I wrote last month, we'd fished further south, picking up perch and pike on fly, but we'd missed out on the char with what must be a unique fishing excuse - the bit of river that we fished had, just the day before, been expertly worked over by a Czech angler - so expertly indeed that he'd won the World Flyfishing Championship as a result. And, though he'd returned all 40-odd of the char he'd caught, when we followed up next day they and the other fish in the stretch were obviously in deep trauma, hiding under the stones, because we didn't even get a pull.

Undeterred, though, we drove yet further north to rendezvous with the helicopter which, we were promised, would fly us into the ultimate arctic char water in Swedish Lapland.

Now, helicopter-ing up in the far north of Sweden was not new to me. Back in the '70's, in BBC 2's Fishing Race, I'd taken that route with my team mate Gareth Edwards who, it's well-known, is arguably the greatest rugby player ever to pull on a No 10 shirt. It's less well-known though that he's a consummate flyfisherman. (He once enraged a whole nation by declaring on TV that he'd rather catch a 20lb salmon than score a try for Wales). Anyway, there we were, fishing away and catching about a million grayling when suddenly Gareth wasn't there. He'd wandered off into the birchwoods or somewhere and got lost. In bear country. Whereupon it came to me, unless we found him, I couldn't - ever - go home to Wales and admit that I'd mislaid her favourite son....

But at least, back then, the weather had been clear and sunny for our helicopter trip. Now, as Elliott and I arrived at the helicopter pad, low cloud had moved in, shrouding the hilltops, making us doubt if we'd take off. Now there's a saying in aviation circles which goes "There are bold pilots and there are old pilots. But there are no old, bold pilots." When our intrepid birdman showed up, however, he proved a walking denial of that. Sedate and 50-ish as he was, when we took off into the mist, he was bolder than either of us wanted him to be, dodging round the bad bits like, well, Gareth Edwards, taking of advantage of every little gap in the clouds, clearing hilltops like Red Rum winning the National. And, indeed, dropping us off safely at Miekak - reputedly Sweden's finest arctic char fishing camp.

Now, I have stayed in a few fishing camps in my time, from luxurious ones like the American salmon camp on the Ponoi in Arctic Russia, where, at the cocktail hour, the martinis are expertly prepared and served with grace, to less salubrious ones in Mexico where, I swear to God, I've been wakened by the sound of narcotraficante gang automatic rifles cracking away at 3 am in the morning. Miekak, though, was different, in a Swedish sort of way. In other words it was delightfully planned to slot unobtrusively into the rocky hillside, the log cabins spacious and solid, the boat dock beautifully organised. But the puritanical streak that is always to be found amongst we northerners had evinced itself in the location of the camp toilets and shower roughly 200 metres away from the nearest cabin, reached by a sharp uphill climb impeded by seriously-sized boulders, a severe test of character at 2 am in the morning.

OK, by now you'll be wondering why I haven't yet got to the fishing bit, about how we caught all those Arctic Char. Well, er, the truth is that we didn't do all that well. Our guide explained to us the reason for this. "This is the time for the wedding of the char" he informed us, "the spawning time. So they go off to be private, deep down in the lake." Our only shot, then, it seemed was to chance on a few tardy, or maybe undersexed, char.

Anyway, Keith headed up to a river said to be finest Arctic char stream in Europe where maybe wedding arrangements had not so far been finalised while I, falling back on the knee injury I picked up last year fishing in Malaysia, just trolled happily up and down the lake in front of camp. And, by golly, I caught a couple of the red-bellied rascals we were after, though the bigger was barely a pound.

That night, Elliott was very late back to dinner, exhausted and hollow-eyed. The two-mile-long track to the river had proved to be a daunting, boulder-strewn assault course. When he arrived, he'd encountered an extremely serious German who told him that the fishing was "highly technical" which is possibly German for, "There's sod all here, mate!"

But there was a major plus to the trip. At camp, Elliott and I had discovered cloudberry jam! Now cloudberries, a waxy yellow colour, are only found in the far north and there's just a short picking season. They are somewhere between sweet and sour, and they make magical jam.

We helicoptered back in clear sunlight and drove then to the airport to head home. Before we did so, though, we stopped off at a supermarket and loaded up with cloudberry jam.

I had some for breakfast this morning. It tasted wonderful, as always. I might have to go back for more next year. And maybe catch a char or two as well.