News 2019

News 2019

Monday, 22 April 2019 20:09

‘Open Ness’ not for us, says club

Inverness Angling Club is not involved with, or a supporter of, the so-called Open Ness campaign relating to the ‘Gathering Place’ proposals for the Little Isle Pool of the River Ness. The clarification came today (Monday, April 22) from the club’s acting president, Alex Elliott, following a meeting called by Open Ness at the anglers’ hut by the Little Isle Pool.

“This meeting, and its location, seemed to imply that the club supported the Open Ness campaign,” said Alex. “This is simply not the case. Our sole concern is the future of the anglers’ hut, a facility that members and visitors have enjoyed, in one form or another, for the best part of 100 years.”

“We  continue to have constructive discussions with The Highland Council concerning the future of our hut. We mean to ensure that this much valued facility continues to serve anglers from far and wide for many years to come.”

Saturday, 20 April 2019 17:38

Calling all coaches!

Inverness Angling Club coaches are reminded that the annual series of Casting Clinics take place every Wednesday night in June - the 5th. 12th, 19th and 26th. They will be joined by three times world Speycasting champion Scott Mackenzie, who will be giving his top tips, and instructors David Mateer and Frank Durdle.

The clinics have a long history of helping novices to master a variety of casting techniques for salmon and trout fishing. Traditional single and double Speycasts are joined by the recent developments like the Snake Roll and Snap-T. Special efforts are made to encourage young people to attend the clinics where they can learn casting basics. These begin with trout fly casting on the grass of the Bught Park and, once the students have shown commitment and improving skills, a chance to try Speycasting with salmon rods on the river. Any adults experiencing difficulty with their casting can also benefit from instructors' advice.

Everyone, including non-members and visitors, is welcome to the clinics. Bring your own tackle if you wish but salmon and trout rods are available for use, thanks to the kindness of international tackle manufacturers Loop.

Wednesday, 10 April 2019 20:26

Ruthven boat withdrawn

Members are advised that the club boat on Loch Ruthven is currently unavailable. A detailed examination has shown it to be in a dangerous condition and probably beyond repair. The club committee will be considering what steps they can take towards continuing to offer trout fishing on this famous trout loch. 

Wednesday, 27 March 2019 20:09

Praise from FishPal visitors

Visitors to Inverness Angling Club’s fishings continue to praise the river and its anglers. Tom Berry and a friend enjoyed a day on the town fishings on March 20 although they returned home to Clackmananshire without making contact with a fish on fly or Flying C.

They were the latest in the growing number of visitors using the FishPal booking system. Describing their day they rated the club water as very good value for money and described the upkeep of the fishery and huts as exceptional. Tom reported: “We met some local anglers at the fishing huts (and) they were very friendly and helpful.” 

Tuesday, 26 March 2019 13:33

Helmsdale pulls exchange permits

Local and visitjng anglers are advised that the exchange permits for the River Helmsdale association or town water are no longer available. The permits were the most popular exchange tickets held by Inverness Angling Club. Anglers who made the trip to the river, and enjoyed the fishing and craic with locals, will be disappointed that it has been withdrawn. Nevertheless, the club sends its best wishes to friends on the river for a productive season.

Friday, 22 March 2019 21:16

Club president resigns

Graham MacKenzie has resigned as president of Inverness Angling Club, a position he has held since 2016. He explained that he could no longer accept the time commitment required to manage the club, or cope with a small but vociferous negative and unsupportive element within the club.

Graham said: “I wish the club well in tackling continuing issues of membership development and conserving the salmon stocks that make the River Ness such a key angling destination, recently voted among the top ten in the UK. I really hope the club find someone who can dedicate the many, many hours that are required to run this club these days - someone who has the love, the commitment and crucially the support to promote the club profile which, in turn, will give financial security and low cost fishing for all.”

Vice president Alex Elliott will take on the role of acting president until the club’s annual general meeting in November. Thanking Graham for his long term commitment to the club, he said: “Graham has done so much for the club over so many years, often with little credit for the hours he has invested in club business. We understand the reasons for his resignation but we are very sad to see him go. This club owes him a very substantial debt.”

Graham has volunteered to continue dealing with catch returns this season as his contact details are included in 2019 permits.

Wednesday, 20 March 2019 11:57

Renew soon - or pay the price!

Fishing on the productive salmon, sea trout and brown trout Ness waters of Inverness Angling Club offers great value at £150 for a full season. But anglers who have not yet renewed their membership should do so soon. An extra £20 is payable after March 31. Renewals can be made at Grahams of Inverness on Castle Street. Please take your 2018 permit with you. New members can download application forms by clicking Permits on the Home page of this web site. Associate members can renew their permits by contacting membership secretary John Ralph. Mob: 07702 889841. E-mail: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Saturday, 16 March 2019 14:50

Anglers mourn loss of club stalwart

The funeral service for Jackie Fraser, passionate angler and IAC stalwart, will be held in Inverness Crematorium on Friday, March 22, at 2pm. Jackie died in the early hours of Wednesday morning after a period of ill health.

 A time served joiner, Jackie became a clerk of works with British Rail following national service. He then served with the Department of Agriculture before joining the Forestry Commission where he spent the rest of his working life.

The skills he developed in these positions enabled him to become a much respected committee member of IAC. He was appointed secretary and treasurer in the mid-1960s, rescuing the club from severe financial problems and managing it effectively when adult, pensioner and junior membership was at an all time high of over 700. He was a determined but diplomatic manager and negotiator, always with the club’s interests at heart. He and president the late Charlie MacKenzie made a formidable team.

Paying tribute to Jackie, club president Graham MacKenzie said: “Jackie was secretary when I first joined the committee at the age of 18. His guidance on administrative and management matters have been an enormous help to me during my spells as president.

“Members recognised the huge contribution Jackie made to the club by appointing him honorary president on his retirement as secretary. It was a role he enjoyed immensely. Even when in failing health, he made regular visits to the Little Isle hut for a chat with club members and attended opening day ceremonies and close of season barbecues. He will be greatly missed. On behalf of all our members, I extend our sincere sympathies to his family.”

Jackie is survived by his wife Chris, together with his sister Pearl, son Eric, daughter Lynette, and their families, including five grandchildren and two great grandchildren.

Thursday, 14 March 2019 21:43

‘Gathering Place’ discussions see fears recede

Following productive and amicable talks with Highland Council representatives on Tuesday (March 12), Inverness Angling Club officials are satisfied with an agreement in principle for the replacement of the anglers’ hut at the Little Isle Pool.

Council officers, along with club president Graham MacKenzie and secretary Steve Black, discussed several options with a view to integrating the ‘My Ness’ artwork with the anglers’ hut which, in various forms, has been in its present location for almost 100 years. 

The River Ness Public Art Project, which has received planning permission, is to be built on the banks of the River Ness adjacent to the Little Isle Pool and the Fisherman’s car park. Construction would have required the hut to be demolished.

Graham explained: “Many local and visiting anglers were dismayed with the prospect that their popular ‘gathering place’ may have had to be demolished. While nothing is, as yet, set in stone, constructive discussions have seen these fears recede. A further meeting is scheduled for March 28 to finalise plans and identify costs and associated funding.”

The Little Isle: Looking towards the main site of the proposed 'My Ness Gathering Place"

Wednesday, 13 March 2019 22:11

IAC loses honorary president

It is with great sadness that we have to report the passing of Jack Fraser, honorary president of Inverness Angling Club and former long serving secretary. Jack, who would have celebrated his 86th birthday in May, was a stalwart of the club and an ardent angler. Despite failing health, he continued to take a great interest in club events, attending season opening ceremonies and the close of season BBQ. He died in the early hours of this morning (Wednesday, March 13) in Culduthel Care Home where he had spent the last two months with his wife, Chris. While honorary membership of the club is free, Jackie made an annual donation to club funds in lieu of the pensioners membership fee. 

Prize winner: Jack at the club's 2018 BBQ with daughter Lynette, presenting a donation

to club president Graham MacKenzie and receiving a raffle prize

Fine fisher: Jack having a cast on the Little Isle Pool

Friday, 01 March 2019 18:06

A ‘gathering place’ surprise

As part of the controversial ‘My Ness’ art project, The Highland Council proposed demolishing and rebuilding the anglers’ hut at the Little Isle, a popular pool for salmon anglers. The hut is close to the planned wall of the ‘My Ness Gathering Place’ and could impede construction of the project. 

Original discussions between Inverness Angling Club and council officials had indicated that the council would bear the cost of demolishing the hut and rebuilding it on a site just metres from the existing building. The club was surprised and horrified when officials brought forward plans for a hut costing £53,000. Outline plans drawn up by the club confirmed that the hut could be rebuilt for around £7,000 using club volunteers with the necessary skills.

The hut has been in its present position, in various forms, for some 100 years. It is heavily used by anglers, including visitors from far and wide who make a significant contribution to the city’s tourism earnings. Club officials are continuing talks with the council in the hope that more realistic plans can be concluded for the hut’s replacement.

Concerned: Angling club members wonder where they go from here

Thursday, 28 February 2019 11:41

Tyers show their skills

Fly tying instruction finished with a flourish on Wednesday evening as participants in Inverness Angling Club’s close season classes applied their skills to win prizes. It proved to be a close run thing in all groups. In the junior section young James Stewart took first prize, winning a hand made tool block, while runner-up Cheyenne Stronach received a voucher. 

The beginner/intermediate section also proved very competitive with decimal points separating tyers. Donald Mateer took first prize, winning a fly rack, while runner-up Tracy Stronach was presented with a voucher. In the experienced section, winner Graham Forbes and runner-up Jamie Urquhart, were presented with tool and fly racks. Class members sent their best wishes to tutor Mike Campbell who was unable to attend the final classes through illness.

Winners: (Back, left to right) Graham Forbes, Donald Marteer and Jamie Urquhart

(Front, left to right) Tracy Stronach, James Stewart and Cheyenne Stronach

Catch them young: Class youngsters with (back, left to right) tutors/organisers 

David Mateer, Alex Elliott and Alan Scott

Concentration: Jamie Urquhart ties his successful fly

Top junior: James Stewart shows his Mackenzie Cascade

Saturday, 23 February 2019 14:24

Ness grading confirmed

The Scottish Government has confirmed the Grade 1 rating of the rivers Ness and Moriston for 2019, with effect from April 1. The gradings, which regulate the retention and killing of Atlantic salmon in Scottish waters, were first announced in October as proposals. Following consultation, Scottish Ministers believe that the gradings proposed remain valid. The only change is for the North Harris SAC which rises from Grade 3 to 1.

Inverness Angling Club welcomed the grading but has agreed that restrictions designed to conserve salmon stocks in the Ness will continue. These specify mandatory catch and release to the end of June. From July 1, the taking of salmon is restricted to a maximum of two cock fish of eight pounds or under for the season, with only one being taken in any given week. These restrictions will also be followed by other Ness fisheries.

Further detail on the outcomes of the consultation, and a table showing the gradings for all 173 rivers and assessment groups for the 2019 season, can be found at the Marine Scotland website

Thursday, 21 February 2019 17:51

Tying classes close

Inverness Angling Club’s fly tying classes will end with a flourish next Wednesday evening (February 27). All tyers - experienced, beginners/intermediates and juniors - will be challenged to tie a fly of their choice using the skills gained from tutors Mike Campbell and David Mateer, and demonstrations by Graham Nichols and Ali Hutchens. Prizes will go to the flies judged best in each experience category. Plans are in hand for the continuation of the classes from October 2019 through to the end of February 2020. Watch this space!

Developing skills: Tyers at work

Thursday, 14 February 2019 22:48

Praise for Kai

A second visit by fly tyer Ali Hutchens attracted a record 21-strong attendance to Inverness Angling Club’s fly tying class on Wednesday night (February 13). And Ali’s teaching talents were ably demonstrated when he guided young Kai Afek through the tying of his first ever fly, a Kinermony Sunray. An appreciative audience applauded the effort, much to the delight of grandfather Mike Afek. The class, which has another two meetings to go, has exceeded expectations. A survey issued to participants will help organisers plan for continuation in the autumn.

First fly: Kai works on his first fly under the guidance of Ali Hutchens (right), watched by grandad Mike


Tuesday, 12 February 2019 12:02

Loop aids IAC training

International tackle company Loop has backed Inverness Angling Club’s drive to attract more local people to angling, and to train them in the skills required. Loop has donated several thousand pounds worth of its leading trout and salmon fishing rods and reels to assist the club’s skills development programme. On behalf of Loop, Ness Castle ghillie Gordon Armstrong, presented the equipment to club president Graham MacKenzie at the Little Isle Pool today (Tuesday, February 12).

Graham said: “We have been fortunate over the years to receive gifts of rods which have supported out coaching activities. But these tend to be older rods which don’t match the performance of today’s lighter and more powerful rods. These are more expensive and certainly out of the reach of younger anglers. Loop’s tackle is among the best available world wide and will make a huge difference to our coaching and the progress of young people and seniors seeking to develop their skills.”

Great gift: Gordon presents a selection of the donated equipment to Graham

Group thanks: IAC members show their appreciation

Thursday, 07 February 2019 22:31

Catch a bargain!

Membership of Inverness Angling Club totalled 118 at February 4, compared to 127 at the same time last year. Senior members stood at 51 (74 last year), concessionary 24 (25), associate 19 (14), ladies 5 (4), intermediate, 18 to 20 years old, at 1 (0) and juniors 18 (10). Take-up in the early part of the season tends to be slow but it should pick up soon. 

Several members introduced to the club through the close season fly tying class are submitting applications. With interest stimulated in proven fish-catching patterns, they recognise the bargain that the club’s Ness fishings offer for £150 per season.

Membership application forms can be downloaded from the web site. Click Join Today at the foot of the home page, complete the form and return it to the membership secretary or via the e-mail contact also at the foot of the home page.

Thursday, 07 February 2019 15:49

Inverness in top ten fishing towns

FishingBooker, the web site that helps anglers book fishing world wide, has named Inverness in the top ten fishing towns in Britain for 2019. The city comes seventh in the list, behind the only other Scottish entry, Perth, which is listed at third place. See

The site says: “Inverness may be a seaside town, but all the best angling happens inland. Start off on the beautiful banks of the River Ness for some outstanding salmon and trout fishing. Move up to Loch Ness to add pike, eel, Arctic charr, and who knows what other monsters to the list.” 

Perth gets another positive post: “The River Tay is an outstanding salmon fishery….. Salmon aren’t the only game fish on offer, either. Just a few miles to the south, Loch Leven has some of the best brown trout in the world. In fact, Loch Leven trout are so good that they have been stocked as far away as Australia and Argentina!”

Top fishery: The Ness at the Little Isle

Wednesday, 06 February 2019 22:22

Fish catcher!

Tracy Stronach demonstrated the progress being made by beginners at Inverness Angling Club’s fly tying class on Wednesday. The fly for this class was the Alistair, a Sutherland- born pattern designed for coloured water which can be tied as a tube or double. 

Although not such a testing fly as some of the others which have challenged the class, tutors were looking for a well balanced fly finished with a neat head. Tracy’s examples show that she is well on the way to becoming an accomplished tyer, along with other members of the class.

Flies for fish: Tracy's Alistair doubles 

Friday, 01 February 2019 16:38

Press features fly tying class

This week’s Highland News have given a superb spread to the activities of Inverness Angling Club’s fly tying class. Photographer Gary Anthony visited the Wednesday evening class and produced an array of pictures which demonstrate the range of members involved and the development of their skills. Happily, the piece also featured the commitment of key junior members - Cheyenne and Gordon Stronach, who attend with parents Tracy and Stephen, and James Stewart, who comes along with grandfather Jimmy. There’s still time to get out and buy a copy!

Great pix!: Above and below - The Highland News feature on the fly tying class

Friday, 01 February 2019 15:13

Wading shrinks salmon stocks

Salmon spawning is stimulated by low water temperature. It is common knowledge that, as a result of the influence of Loch Ness, which maintains higher temperatures in the River Ness, spawning is later than in rivers in the upper part of the system. As a result, salmon continue to spawn in the Ness well after opening day when anglers take their first steps into the river.

IAC vice president Alex Elliott has called upon all anglers venturing out on the river over the next month or so to be extremely careful where they wade. He explained: “Careless wading in areas that hold salmon ova kills future generations of fish and can undo all the efforts we are putting into conservation. “

He stressed: “Ideally, don’t wade at all. But if you have to go into the water don’t wade over ankle depth. And watch out for gravels which are prime spawning areas. Examples of these include the Little Isle and MacIntyre pools, and the Braes. Protect spawn now and we’ll have more salmon returning in future seasons. It’s just common sense.”

Take care: Redds are often close to the bank

Friday, 01 February 2019 12:59

Provost makes our day!

Over 60 anglers attended the River Ness opening ceremony organised by Inverness Angling Club today (Friday, February 1) - the best opening day gathering for many years. Although extremely reluctant to do so, David Traill of Grahams of Inverness was finally persuaded to carry out the traditional ‘blessing of the water’ by throwing some very fine whisky into the river! 

Club president Graham MacKenzie then invited City of Inverness Provost Helen Carmichael to take the first cast of the season, which she made with considerable style. On a bitterly cold day, the tea, coffee and bacon rolls provided by sponsors Holm Mills Shopping Village were especially welcome.

Procession: Provost Helen Carmichael, accompanied by president

Graham MacKenzie and David Traill, lead anglers to the river

Accomplished: Provost Carmichael makes the first cast of the season

Leading ladies : The Provost is joined by Tracy Stronach (left),

daughter Cheyenne (right) and Graham MacKenzie

Thursday, 31 January 2019 09:14

Tyers take to Willie Gunn

Salmon on the River Ness are likely to see a lot more of the Willie Gunn tube fly this season following a visit to Inverness Angling Club’s fly tying class by professional fly tyer Graham Nichols. The Willie Gunn is a favourite among Graham’s customers and he passed on his tips for tying the iconic fly to a fascinated audience last night (January 30). 

After his demonstration, class members produced some excellent examples of the Willie Gunn, which was named after a Sutherland ghillie. At the close of the class, Cheyenne Stronach showed the appreciation of members by presenting Graham with a tool stand, hand made by her father Stephen.

Attentive: Class members watch Graham’s tying demonstration

Appreciation: Cheyenne Stronach presents Graham with a tying tool stand

Tuesday, 29 January 2019 14:49

Class gets Courier credit

Inverness Angling Club activities get a favourable write up in the Inverness Courier today (Tuesday), leading with a piece on the success of the fly tying class and detailing arrangements for the season opening ceremony this Friday (February 1).

The fly tying class tomorrow (Wednesday) night will welcome well-known angler and top fly tyer Graham Nichols, who is kindly travelling from Golspie to demonstrate his tying skills. Graham’s Grainhead flies are a ‘must have’ for salmon anglers throughout the country. He will demonstrate his signature pattern, the Willie Gunn tube fly, then help class members to tie the pattern.

Club members who have not signed up for the class, but would like to watch Graham’s demonstration, are welcome to come along. It starts at 7pm in the upstairs conference room of Dow’s Bistro off Balloan Road.

Monday, 28 January 2019 21:39

Opening celebration for River Ness

City of Inverness Provost Helen Carmichael will formally open the salmon season on the River Ness this Friday (February 1). She will make the first cast at the Mill Stream Pool to herald what club members and visiting friends hope will see a continuing improvement in catches of salmon and grilse.

Members and guests should assemble in the top car park of Holm Mills for 10.00 hours. Pipe Major Steve Spencer of Northern Constabulary Community Pipe Band will lead the parade to the river where David Traill, director of tackle shop Grahams of Inverness, will perform the traditional ‘blessing’ with a splash of whisky. Club president Graham MacKenzie will invite Provost Carmichael to make the first cast of the season. Thereafter, bacon rolls and refreshments will be provided in the restaurant of opening day sponsors Holm Mills Shopping Village. The club also appreciates the assistance of Tesco.

Friday, 25 January 2019 09:47

Opening tidy

Volunteers are being sought from the IAC membership to tidy up the Mill Stream area in advance of the opening of the salmon season on Friday, February 1. The tidy-up will start at 1100 hours this Sunday (January 27). Please help to ensure a clean site for the opening by Provost Helen Carmichael and the attendant media.

Wednesday, 23 January 2019 19:21

Fly class success

Fly tyers will gather again at Dow’s Bistro this evening (January 23) for another session of the skill that adds a different dimension to angling. Landing a silver salmon or tenacious trout on a fly of your own tying is well worth the time spent at the tying vice.

Class attendance has averaged 15 tyers per night since starting following the close of the salmon season on October 15 last year - a really good attendance by both seniors and juniors, and experienced and novice tyers led by tutors Mike Campbell and David Mateer. 

Organisers Alan Scott and Alex Elliott have been delighted by the response. Said Alan: “We have a good cross section of members and the classes have attracted non-members whose growing fly tying skills could well lead to them joining the club. We’ve been particularly pleased by the progress of juniors whose enthusiasm is heartening.”

Thursday, 17 January 2019 18:42

Fenced out?

Inverness Angling Club has approached officials of The Highland Council to raise concerns about the construction of a fence along the riverside path adjacent to Whin Park playground. On the face to it, the fence, running from just above Charlie’s Seat right up to the Holm Bridge, could pose a significant threat to angler access to two of the best beats of the Ness fishings, the MacIntyre Pool and Mill Stream. While the club has not been consulted on the project, it is believed that sections of the fence will be left open at each existing path access to the pools.

Nice fence!: But will there be full access to the river?


Thursday, 17 January 2019 17:19

Membership queries

IAC membership secretary John Ralph will be taking a break between February 6 and 20. During that period all membership matters should be raised via the ‘Contact Us’ section of the web site. Just click on the ‘Contact Us’ circle on the home page for a reply from the president or secretary, usually by return.

Monday, 07 January 2019 19:53

Big billing for Ladies Day

The successful Ladies Day staged on Inverness Angling Club’s Ness fishings last year will be featured in the February issue of Trout and Salmon magazine. The club hosted and coached a cheery group of 20 ladies on their fishings on Saturday, September 1. The event was organised by angling marketing agency FishPal in aid of the Highland Hospice. Reports and pictures by a Trout and Salmon journalist will grace the pages of the February issue which will be on magazine shelves within the next few days.

Thursday, 03 January 2019 18:31

Opening celebration

Members and guests are invited to attend the opening day ceremony of the 2019 salmon angling season at the Mill Stream Pool on Friday, February 1. Please assemble in the top car park of Holm Mills for 10.00 hours.

This popular event is kindly sponsored by Holm Mills Shopping Village and gives members and guests an opportunity to catch up with fellow members and discuss the prospects for the new season, over a wee dram, a bacon roll and a cup of tea or coffee. Anglers are asked to wear fishing gear and bring a rod to present a good image for the attending media.

Thursday, 03 January 2019 18:29

Loop promote best practice

Gordon Sim, the chief executive officer of Loop Tackle Design, will be the guest speaker at the annual public meeting of the Ness District Salmon Fishery Board on Thursday, January 17. The meeting, which has always attracted a good number of interested anglers from around the area, will be held in the Press and Journal Lounge of Inverness Caledonian Thistle Football Club, starting at 19.30 hours.

A native of Fort William, Gordon will talk about the world class fisheries management applied to Loop’s own river systems in Labrador, Canada; the company’s wish to act as a ‘global conduit for best practice’; and his own passion for salmon fishing.

Agenda items will include the activities of the board during 2018 and proposed activities for 2019. Copies of the board’s annual report will be available. The meeting is open to the pubic but places are limited to 50 seats. Those interested in attending should register their interest with the clerk, Chris Conroy, at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or 01463 861245.

Thursday, 03 January 2019 18:26

Time to tie

Now is the time to get that little bit of help to design and tie that special fly to catch salmon in 2019. Inverness Angling Club’s popular fly tying classes will re-start for the 2019 sessions at 19.00 hours on Wednesday, January 16, in the upstairs conference suite of Dow’s Bistro on Balloan Road. Led by tying experts Mike Campbell and David Mateer, with assistance from club coaches, the classes will be run each Wednesday evening un February 27. 

Two top tyers will give demonstrations during this period - Graham Nicholls on January 30 and a second visit by Ali Hutchens on February 13. Newcomers are welcome, whether beginners or experienced. Tools and materials can be provided. They should register in advance with This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Thursday, 03 January 2019 18:20

IAC committee meetings

The 2019 committee meetings of Inverness Angling Club are set for the following dates: January 10, February 7, March 14, April 18, May 16, June 13, July 18, August 15, September 12, October 17, and November 14. The annual general meeting will be held on November 21. Details of committee membership can be found on the club’s web site at

Thursday, 20 December 2018 19:01

Best wishes


Inverness Angling Club

Ness Walk

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