Ian Farr


  • Name: Ian Farr
  • Job title: Head Ghillie
  • Location: Bemersyde, on the River Tweed just north of Dryburgh
  • Employer: The Earl Haig
  • Background: Married to Tracey and has two daughters
  • Hobbies: Shooting and, of course, fishing!

Ian Farr is the Head Ghillie at Bemersyde on the River Tweed, just north of Dryburgh. Having moved to Bemersyde aged 24, Ian has remained here with his family ever since and describes his beat as a 'magical place'.

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Why did you choose this career?

I wanted to work outside and I loved all country sports. I knew what to expect because my father was a ghillie. Had I not got a job on an estate I’d have joined the Army.

What do you love most about your role?

Being on the river every day. I love working with fishermen, I love helping them to catch fish, I love the craic. There’s nothing about this job that I don’t like.

What’s your favourite time of year and why?

I love April and May because the scenery is beautiful and because the river is fished by guys from the syndicate (who have the river until September 15th) who I know really well. October is also very exciting, a time when the adrenaline gets pumping. I often get more excited by it all than the rods!

What’s your most difficult time of year and why?

February and March are tricky because there are relatively few fish caught and because it can be cold and snowy with big water. You can work for a week, have rods that fish impeccably and still catch no fish, which can be soul destrying.

What’s your most stressful time of the year?

In October and November you get lots of clients, many of whom don’t know the river yet expect to haul out fish.

What is the least favourite aspect of your job?