Angling in Assynt Research

Substance are a social research cooperative that undertook a major research programme entitled  ‘The Social and Community Benefits of Angling’ funded by the Big Lottery Fund from 2009-2011. This was a 3 year research programme in England and Scotland that investigated the roles angling plays for those who participate in it, young people and the communities in which it takes place.

For all the reports from this study, visit: Assynt Angling Info Research Reports pages

As part of the project there was a specific case study of angling in Assynt, North West Sutherland. This explored the role that angling can play  in rural communities, how it can be developed for the community’s benefit and how it can be supported.

Why Research Angling in Assynt


The case study in Assynt was to explore the positive role that angling can play in remote rural communities. There have been some big claims made about angling supporting jobs, tourism, participation, protecting the environment and income to community organisations but not much research has ever been done to explore these issues in the UK.

The project sought to understand more about:
  • Angling as a driver for tourism
  • How angling generates income for local organisations and people
  • How this can be done in a sustainable way
  • How new online tools might support the provision of information for, and generate feedback from, visiting anglers

Assynt provided a great case study for a number of reasons.

  • There are a range of important community organisations involved in angling locally - the Assynt Angling Group, the Assynt Crofters’ Trust, Assynt Foundation and others. Each of these had the further development of angling, and generating income from it for wider community benefit, as key targets.
  • There were a variety of approaches within the different local organisations, each with their own background.
  • It is a fairly easily defined area, with a long recorded history of angling, and its unique fishing opportunities remains one of its main attractions to visitors.
  • There was a specific initiative focused on promoting angling tourism to Assynt, in particular wild trout fishing, funded by the Country Sports Tourism Group in 20008-09; and some of Assynt has been the subject of a protection order in recent years.
  • At the start of the project, little was known about who went to fish there, what theys pent and what they caught.
  • We worked with local organisations to provide information that contributed to the wider study and helped the local organisations develop.

Findings from this case study:

  • Helped the local organisations by providing information on those fishing in the area
  • Focused particularly on researching visitors to the area
  • Provided information on the benefits people and communities get from angling
  • Provided web based tools that helped promote angling in the area including this website

For all the reports from this study, visit: Assynt Angling Info Research Reports pages

A National Angling Research Programme

The Assynt research was part of a larger national research programme, ‘The Social and Community Benefits of Angling’ funded by the Big Lottery Fund. The rationale for this programme was that millions of people go fishing, but not much was widely known about the activity in terms of the particular benefits individuals, young people and local communities can get from it.

For ALL the reports and data from this project go to Angling Research Resources website