Meet the Experts: Neil Keep

Neil is Vale House Kitchen’s resident fly-fishing expert – and with more than forty years’ experience, he’s certainly the man for the job. He started fly-fishing at the age of 7, and by 15 was being coached by world-renowned caster Simon Gawesworth, before going on to compete all over Europe. Neil’s got a wealth of experience in teaching, several key qualifications and a relaxed, friendly style that makes him ideal to take anyone through this great outdoor sport.

How did you get drawn into your particular area of expertise?

My Dad – he was always a keen fly-fisherman and he got me started young.

What really inspires you about it?

Growing up in North Devon, the countryside was my playground. I love being outdoors, and fly-fishing is part of that passion – it takes me to some beautiful places.

What attracted you to Vale House Kitchen?

Right from the start, I loved Bod’s enthusiasm, and his commitment to preserving and sharing skills like fly-fishing. As a fisherman himself, his interest is genuine and he knows what he’s talking about. Because Bod & Annie had lived in London for twenty years before they set up Vale House Kitchen, I did wonder at first if they’d be classic townies – thankfully it turned out that couldn’t be further from the truth!

Why would you encourage people to take your course in particular?

I really do my best to make this course relaxed, fun and a great experience. It’s something a bit different and unusual for most people, even if they already like to go fishing, and there’s a real pleasure in mastering the specific techniques and seeing them work. Plus, it’s suitable for any ability – so even if you’ve got absolutely no fishing experience, we’ll have a great day.