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Loch Lomond angler who 'glowered' at club chairman is fined - for fishing without a permit

It's an angler's paradise, a picturesque setting to escape life's cares and be at one with nature.

But the peaceful waters of Loch Lomond have been rocked by an unseemly spat between the chairman of one of Britain's most prestigious angling societies and a disgruntled suspended member.

James Raeburn, chairman of the Loch Lomond Angling Improvement Association, accused Peter Lyons of 'glowering' at him in an act of intimidation as he was shadowed in his boat – with the case ending up in court.

Lyons had already been suspended from the association for ten years after refusing to take down a blog post – titled Loch Lomond Bitter and Twisted – which contained 'derogatory remarks' about the committee. 

Peter Lyons (pictured) was banned from fishing at the Scottish beauty spot where he had kept his boat for years, Stirling Sheriff Court heard

It meant he was banned from fishing at the Scottish beauty spot where he had kept his boat for years – and he blamed Mr Raeburn for his exclusion, a court was told.

The retired policeman, 67, claimed Lyons had 'lain in wait' for him on the return leg of a salmon fishing trip in July last year.

He told Stirling Sheriff Court that Lyons had approached him at speed and drew up so close he feared he wouldn't have enough room to pull away from the bank to avoid underwater obstacles.

Bizarrely, Mr Raeburn claimed that Lyons was staring at him through binoculars despite their proximity, the court heard.

He said: 'As I was proceeding southwards, I noticed a boat in the middle of the loch, where [it] is only about 400 yards wide.

James Raeburn (right) said Lyons had approached him at speed in his boat and drew up so close he feared he wouldn't have enough room to pull away from the bank to avoid obstacles

'I didn't think anything of it until I noticed the boat belonged to Peter Lyons. I could see by the wake it was travelling quite fast in my direction – white water at the sides.'

He added: 'It was my perception he was trying to intimidate me. I shouted to him several times to back off, but he made no reply.

'Every time I speeded up, he'd speed up, if I slowed down, he slowed down.' 

Mr Raeburn said the 'cat and mouse' pursuit lasted for 45 minutes, adding: 'Even though he was only 30ft away he was looking at me through a pair of binoculars, which I thought a strange thing indeed.' 

Lyons, 64, a retired architect who conducted his own defence, suggested that the account of the sail-by was 'total fantasy' and claimed that Mr Raeburn had in fact executed a 'sharp' manoeuvre that put his propeller at risk of getting tangled in some fishing lines.

Lyons had already been suspended from the association for ten years after refusing to take down a blog post – titled Loch Lomond Bitter and Twisted

He added: 'It was just a mild glower to let you know that despite the ten-year ban I still existed ... I just wanted to disrupt your day, to make it unpleasant for you.'

After a day-long summary trial, Sheriff Keith O'Mahony found Lyons not guilty of reckless navigation and culpable and reckless conduct, but fined him £320 for fishing without a permit last June.

Referring to the fact that much of the trial had been taken up with Lyons examining witnesses regarding the justice of his suspension, the sheriff said: 'I should say that the machinations, the politics, the grievances of the committee structure that is responsible for the issuing of permits for Loch Lomond are absolutely nothing to do with this court.'