The former first class cricketer is a passionate game shot and fisherman. Here he shares what he enjoys most about shooting and fishing, what changes he'd make at the RSPB and why the You Forgot the Birds campaign still has much work to do
You enjoy fishing too; tell us a bit about what you have done.
I love fishing; it’s my major passion. I’ve done big game fishing in the ocean and there’s nothing better then catching a 1,000lb Black Marlin and releasing it back into the sea.
Last year I fished in Norway and Iceland, which were fantastic, and I’ve recently returned from a superb trip fishing for Atlantic salmon on the Ponoi River on the Kola Peninsula in Russia. My wife arranged the trip for one of my birthdays and we waited five years to go because each year it was snowed off. I never kill fish for the sake of it and probably return 99.9 per cent of what I catch. I love fishing for sea trout and salmon in the UK – sea trout is probably the finest fish to eat.
What is it you enjoy most about fishing?
It’s simply the most therapeutic thing I do, whether I’m on the Spey in the spring, the Tay in the autumn, the Tees, or the Tyne – which is a wonderful river that has come back from the dead.
When I’m standing in the river and working my way down a 100-yard pool one yard at a time, I’ll look at my watch and two hours will have gone by in a flash and it’s time for a G&T and lunch.
It’s interesting and really positive that there are now fishing programmes for military personnel suffering from PTSD and for people with cancer.
For me it’s all about peace of mind. I stand in the river, Pinot runs around on the bank and as soon as he sees a fish, he stops dead and expects me to catch every fish that shows itself in the river. It’s completely relaxing and, to be frank, at the end of a week’s fishing I always feel so much better.