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Last Updated: Thursday, 22 February 2007, 13:39 GMT
Anglers bid to buy private river
Salmon angling (generic)
The community has been fishing the river for nearly 100 years
One of the last privately owned rivers in Scotland is at the centre of a community buy-out bid.

The River Ugie in Aberdeenshire is being put up for sale by owner Mark Curzon with a price tag of 350,000.

The Ugie Angling Association, which has leased the river for nearly 100 years, has been given first refusal and is trying to raise the money to buy it.

It is concerned that if it fails, the river could be bought by wealthy landowners who may restrict access.

The Association has so far raised 40,000 through individual members and have until May to raise the rest of the money.

As far as we are concerned, this is going to work and we are going to achieve it
James Duthie, chairman of Ugie Angling Association

James Duthie, chairman of the association, told BBC Radio Scotland: "We believe it can be done.

"We would like to target as many companies as possible asking for small donations.

"We don't want alot of money from each company. If we can get, say 300 companies in the North East to put forward 1,000 each, there's 300,000."

Mr Duthie said a lot of the anglers who fish for salmon and trout on the 18-mile stretch of the river are in their 60s and 70s and have been fishing there for many years.

He said the current fishing rates are reasonable but there was a danger that prices could rise if the river was sold to a private landlord.

"To go fishing on a river in Scotland is very expensive. This is a river that has been fished by the local communities and gives everyone the opportunity to come and catch salmon."

'Give up'

Pensioner Ian Milne, who has fished the River Ugie for many years, said: "You meet your friends down here. Its an all day event in the summer.

"Big companies pay 400 to 300 to get fishing and we could not afford to pay that - we would have to give it up."

Mr Duthie said he was determined the association would raise the money to ensure the community could continue to fish the river.

"As far as we are concerned, this is going to work and we are going to achieve it."

Anglers voice their concern over the sale

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