Keen anglers found the River Thurso in “tip-top condition” as the 2023 salmon season got under way on Wednesday with the traditional opening ceremony.

Piper Alasdair Miller led a group of about 20 from the Ulbster Arms Hotel in Halkirk down to the Comlifoot Pool, on beat four of the river, on a day of crisp winter sunshine.

John Drummond, the Perthshire-based estate manager for Thurso River Ltd, poured a quaich of whisky into the water to toast the season and a visiting angler from Cumbria was invited to make the first cast.

At 17 inches, the river was described by senior ghillie Geordie Doull as being at “optimum level”.

“If we get it at this height all season long, we’ll catch loads of fish,” Mr Doull said. “If we had that every day the whole season we would be very happy.”