Alnwick Probus Club, March meeting

GONE FISHING: John Geddes, resident of Thropton, and retired engineering director for the North of England gas supply, gave an interesting talk to the March meeting of Alnwick Probus Club on the subject of running a private fishing club.

John spent his childhood in the west of Scotland and was first taken fishing by his father at the age of five. By the time he was eight he had his own equipment and was able to cycle off on his own fishing jaunts. He has been involved in field sports ever since.

In his retirement, John is a director of West Water Angling Club, a limited company which operates on the Hallington Reservoirs, a 250-acre stretch of water just to the east of Colwell. In addition to seven directors who run the organisation, the club employs a full-time manager and two part-time assistants.

In his role as director, John is responsible for maintaining fish stocks. Supplies of fish are ordered in January and are brought to site on a regular cycle throughout the fishing season from April to September. This is a tightly-regulated exercise. Only suppliers approved by the Environment Agency can be used. New stock, which generally consists of sterile female rainbow trout, has to be certified as being clear of disease before being delivered to site.

Each year 14,000 fish are bought in, approximately 12,000 are caught by anglers, with the remainder falling prey to ospreys, otters and cormorants.

The club owns 11 rowing boats plus one specially adapted craft for wheelchair users. These are for the use of club members and their children. John was keen to point out that children are able to join the club free of charge, if accompanied by an adult member.

Angling is a fascinating pleasurable activity and it is no surprise to John that it is the biggest participation sport in Great Britain.

For more information about Alnwick Probus Club, contact Bill Bland on 01669 620572, or at bland.thropton@tiscali.co.uk