by Charlotte Cooper

Casting for Recovery UK & Ireland, the medical fly-fishing programme for ladies who have, or have had breast cancer, held a successful retreat at the Mount Falcon Estate in Co Mayo, Ireland (21-23 June).

Organiser Sue Shaw said: “Thirteen ladies – 12 from Ireland and one from England – took part in the retreat in the beautiful surroundings of the Mount Falcon Estate.

“We held all our regular sessions, including mindfulness and relaxation, fly-tying and of course fly-fishing on the Sunday. Many trout were hooked and some were landed, but the excitement was palpable and screams of delight could be heard across the water!”

The ladies were also invited to experience the activity for which the estate is named, taking part in a falconry walk on the Saturday night.

The retreat was also the debut for nearly £10,000 of new equipment, funded by a National Lottery grant to CfR UK&I. The charity has bought 18 Orvis Clearwater rods, reeds and fly-lines and 25 Orvis Encounter jackets for the ladies to wear during the weekends.

Sue added: “The equipment we were using was 13 years old, dating from when we held the first retreat in 2007, so it was time for a change. The ladies were all keen to use the tackle for the first time and we put the jackets to the test on the Sunday as it rained for a couple of hours. It’s lovely equipment and everything worked really well and kept the ladies nice and dry”

Casting for Recovery UK & Ireland is run by The Countryside Alliance Foundation (TCAF), the charity set up to increase access to the countryside and to use it for education, fun and healing. It works on the simple principle that fly fishing is wonderful therapy for those recovering from breast cancer.

The programme takes ladies on a two-day residential retreat where fly fishing tuition is part of a packed itinerary that also includes counselling, relaxation and medical advice. The residential retreat aims to help both body and mind, with the medical and counselling aspects complementing the gentle physical therapy of the fly-casting motion.

We are extremely grateful to the fly fishing and medical volunteers who take time to ensure that the ladies all enjoy their weekend and to our generous hosts.

This was the third of the six retreats CfR will run  throughout 2019. Our next takes place in Kimbridge on the Test, Hants from 26-28 July.

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