That's one fancy looking priest...
Yes, the Hardy Birchwood Priest is the Rolls Royce of priests. Ordinarily, I wouldn't buy something quite so fancy, but I got this one as a free upgrade when the more mainstream aluminium one I'd ordered was out of stock.
For a brief moment I thought about sending it back, until I realised it was worth about twice the price of the one I'd ordered and was a work of art in terms of quality and craftsmanship.
What's the build quality like?
It's beautiful. It's got a brass core to add extra weight and the birch wood is stunning and resin impregnated.
This gives it a heavy, glossy appearance and it looks and feels like a very well made and expensive product.
The Hardy castle logo is on the bottom, there's a leather lanyard to prevent it shooting out of your hand when you're clonking a trout on the noggin and there's a little thumb indent designed to help you improve your accuracy.
Does it work well?
It's a heavy, blunt object and despatches trout as quickly and humanely as any other heavy, blunt object. The only difference with the Hardy Birchwood Priest is that you do it in a bit more style.
On a serious note though, a decent priest is important. To humanely despatch your catch you want to give it a couple or three hard, sharp blows to the skull to make sure it's killed quickly and doesn't suffer. This priest lets you do that.
Would you buy a Hardy Birchwood Priest again?
The Hardy Birchwood Priest costs £24.99, which is about twice as much as your average priest. However, it's a stunning object, it's going to last an angler a lifetime and would probably make any fly fisher happy if they were to receive one as a gift.
Personally, a £10-15 priest would do me fine, but there's no denying this is a cracking little clonker.