Photo by Neil McIntyre
Salmon Run Days
Other Scottish Country Dances for this Day
Today's Musings, History & Folklore
"There is a river in Macedon;
and there is also moreover a river at Monmouth;...
and there is salmons in poth."
~ William Shakespeare, Henry V, 1599
Salmon are anadromous, which means they are born in fresh water, they migrate to salt water, and then they return to freshwater to spawn. The term "salmon" comes from the Latin salmo, which in turn may have originated from salire, meaning "to leap," noting the extreme lengths salmon go to return to the spawning locations of their origin. Scientists believe that salmon navigate by using the earth's magnetic field like a compass. When they find the river they came from, they start using smell to find their way back to their home stream. They build their 'smell memory-bank' when they start migrating to the ocean as young fish. Leap, salmon, leap!
The salmon run is the time when salmon, which have migrated from the ocean, swim to the upper reaches of rivers where they spawn on gravel beds. After spawning, all Pacific salmon and most Atlantic salmon die, and the salmon life cycle starts over again. The annual run can be a major event for grizzly bears, bald eagles and sport fishermen. Most salmon species migrate during the fall (September through November).
There are various theories about how salmon return to the place of their origin. Theories include combinations of geomagnetic, geoelectric and chemical cues which the salmon use to guide them back to their birthplace.
Want to see the salmon leap in Scotland? The Falls of Shin in Sutherland, the Highlands, is known as being one of the best spots in the UK. In the Perthshire region, head to Buchanty Spout, Easter Glenalmond near Crieff or to the Linn of Tummel and the nearby Pitlochry Dam Fish Ladder. In the Scottish Borders, try the Philiphaugh Salmon Viewing Centre near Selkirk!
Leap, salmon, leap!
To see some remarkable salmon leaping, click the salmon leap walk sign!