Former Total Flyfisher editor Tim Smith has joined the team at one of the country’s most prestigious fly fishing hotels and casting schools, the Arundell Arms, Lifton, Devon, as the hotel’s long standing river keeper and instructor retires.

After 39 years in the position, Roy Buckingham (pictured) retired from his post on March 8th 2008 – his 66th birthday. Mrs Anne Voss-Bark, owner of the Arundell Arms, hosted an excellent dinner in Roy’s honour with family and friends, many of long-standing.

Roy began as a water baliff for the Cornwall River Authority on the Devon and Cornwall border in 1957, as the first trainee baliff in the country.

His skills as a fly fisher and caster were further enhanced when he became interested in tournament casting, firstly at the local Salmon and Trout Association events, held at Bodmin and Lifton, and then to Glanusk with Lionel Sweet.

This led to Roy competing at the international competition at Scarborough. Here Roy rubbed shoulders with casting legends such as Arthur Ogelsby, Jack Martin, Eric Horsfall-Turner and Captain Tommy Edwards.

Roy took up his position at the Arundell Arms at the start of the 1969 season which was the last year he competed at Scarborough, achieving a highly creditable, overall fifth position. After that, marriage and work commitments kept Roy more than busy on the rivers at Lifton.

In the past 39 years, he has taught literally thousands of people to fly fish.

David Pilkington joined Roy at the hotel in 1976 and in 1977 qualified as the youngest ever member of APGAI. David continues as instructor at the Arundell Arms and is now joined by Tim Smith, AAPGAI, who until recently was editor of Total FlyFisher magazine.

Tim’s input as a ‘new kid on the river’ heralds an exciting move into greater use of multimedia to improve casting skills and to update the hotel’s website. David is keenly anticipating working with Tim, but his greatest fear is that the honour of the first salmon and sea trout each year from the hotel’s water may now be a little harder to achieve!