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Winter Special

Ellie Harrison is on a winter wildlife safari in the Cairngorms National Park in Scotland. In Filey, John Craven hears the history behind the fisherman's gansey.

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Whether you relish the frosty mornings,


or dread the short days and dark nights, there's no escaping winter,


but get it right and you'll reap the rewards.


Today, we're going to embrace winter and all its seasonal spectacles.


Matt's meeting some farmers with a herd as rough and tough


and it just looks absolutely fantastic.


We all know he's got a penchant for a pullover,


but John's unravelling a yarn he's never heard


Adam catches up with the farmers giving a bit of winter TLC


to some of our oldest and rarest breeds.


What are you doing washing cattle on a day like today?


Well, I quite like to give them their monthly shower, you know,


And we'll be meeting those who love nothing more


than getting out there and embracing winter's frosty charms.


In the heart of the Scottish Highlands is the Cairngorms.


Winter here shows off the landscape's raw beauty,


with its great glens, vast lochs and imposing peaks.


Thrill seekers may swarm to ski the snowy slopes


but this is our wildest national park and it's nature's patch.


pine martens dart through ancient forests


and ptarmigan don their winter coats.


Some of the animals here in the summer have left for warmer climes,


and the rest have to adapt to the coldest,


the windiest and the snowiest conditions in Britain,


and, today, I'm hoping to spot some of those that are toughing it out.


'I'm starting my winter wildlife safari in Rothiemurchus,


'an area rich in conservation credentials,


'with one of the largest remaining swathes


'of ancient Caledonian pine forest in the country.'


This place is just so gorgeous! It really is. It really is. Amazing!


'Showing me round his rather enviable workplace is


What makes it so special for wildlife?


We've got, um, every sort of habitat you can imagine.


Everything from the mountaintops of Braeriach,


right down through to the Caledonian pine forest and the wider forest,


and the habitats associated with river systems as well.


We've got 173 recorded bird species and 27 mammal species.


That must bring a conservation challenge of its own, all that?


Yeah, roughly 6,000 hectares is designated with some


sort of protection, whether it be environmental or cultural.


Nature and people is the most important thing here -


'Before I seek out some of the estate's wilder creatures,


'there's time for a bit of breakfast for their farmed red deer.'


Wow! I've never been this close before.


Ooh, beautiful. So, this is how they'd be in the wild as well -


in a group of females, the hinds together.


SHE LAUGHS: It's amazing. It's fantastic, isn't it?


This is our farmed deer, um, so we always come up here


and put some silage out for them during the winter time... Yeah.


..and this is just a bit of a chocolate bar, really.


And, in the wild, when the winters are really tough, they'd come down


onto the lower ground and sometimes end up, then, nibbling woody browse,


which can cause landowners a few problems? Yeah, that's right.


We've got roughly about 150 wild red deer and about 250 roe deer.


If we get a really harsh winter or winter conditions,


we will do diversionary feeding. We'll put out silage for them


and the hope is it'll just deflect them from the pine forest


and young trees and stop them browsing those young trees. OK.


So, rather than putting fences round all of those young trees,


you just say, "Actually, let's lure them away with the food


"they really need and want?" Absolutely.


We try and leave the forest as much as we can to itself.


But it's not just the animals that have to survive the harsh winters.


have been braving the Scottish weather since the Ice Age.


Conifers are well-adapted to freezing weather.


On the trunk, they have this very thick bark,


which helps protect them against the cold.


The shape - cone-shaped, with these very flexible branches,


mean that, if they're covered in heavy snowfall, they can cope.


they've got a very low surface area, a waxy covering,


And, not only that, the tree produces its own antifreeze protein,


which can help protect the cells from any damage from ice crystals.


The wildlife here relies on this pine forest,


and it's become a stronghold for one of our rarest mammals -


'With more than 25 years' experience at Rothiemurchus, who better


'to help me spot some than the guide in the hide, ranger Alf McGregor?'


That's a coal tit down now. Oh, yeah.


Caledonian pine forests are a very special place for wildlife.


Without a doubt, the capakaley. Oh, yeah. Unfortunately,


they're a bit elusive, but there's also pine martens as well. Oh?


But more realistically, today, in the middle of winter,


what animals are we likely to see toughing it out? Um...


They're pretty active all the winter.


So, if we just wait patiently, we might be in luck?


There's a great tit here. Yeah. Just popped in really quickly.


there's a tiny little mouse just poked his head out. Oh, yes!


They're so quick, though, aren't they? They are.


If you've got 99 things wanting to eat you...


You'd be quick!'d be quick as well! You'd be quick!


..there's a squirrel on the move there.


It's always such a treat seeing them.


And then, look at this chase here now that they do.


It's this time of year they start that mating behaviour, isn't it?


That's right. Chasing around like loons.


Running around. THEY LAUGH


So they will store food for the winter.


That's just what this one's doing here -


just grabbing the food and getting as many winter calories as possible.


It's amazing, when you see...when you do see them, just chewing away.


What a great sight. Quite the thing.


to see so much active wildlife in the chill of winter.


Now, later, I'm going to be heading up into the Highlands on a mission


to photograph one of winter's most elusive animals - the mountain hare.


The last time I saw one, it was heading for the horizon at 40mph,


so I'm going to need all the help I can get.


Snow is no rarity in these parts. In fact, a study recently found


the Scots have 421 different words for it.


So what do you do when you've got more words for the white stuff


You make the most of it and "go with the snow".


My name's Jamie Kunka, I'm 28 years old and I'm a ski maker.


I was always a keen woodworker as a kid and a very keen skier as well.


marry up sustainable, traditional materials.


I wanted to make a ski that was both beautiful and high-performance,


so, either when you're not using it or have finished with it,


I usually start off by going to the sawmill.


and select ones that are really straight grained, good quality, dry.


Every single piece of wood has its own character, its own look.


In the skis, that comes up, cos every ski looks different.


I'd spend a long time sanding the wood,


Which brings out the kind of beauty of the individual piece of wood...


..which makes every ski look different.


Then the ski gets varnished and the final stamp of approval...


..and then it's ready to go out the door.


I like to think of the skis as kind of tools to explore the landscape.


I was particularly interested in designing a ski


that was going to be at home in Scotland and I get a good feedback


off the landscape, where I can look at a gully or a quarry and think,


and sometimes go home and draw up a new design


and try something out, go and test it.


I love to use place names as inspiration,


so interesting Gaelic names, Scots names, and also kind of


seeing bits of terrain that might inspire a new ski.


Say a piece of a hillside that I'm like,


"One day, I'm going to wait for the correct snow conditions


I used to come here with Dad, cross-country skiing over the loch


when I was little, so it's quite an important place for me,


and it's one of the most beautiful places around here, I think,


and particularly lovely when it's in full winter condition.


Scotland's one of the most beautiful countries in the world.


I love the variety of landscapes here,


from the mountains all the way to the...the coastline.


In Scotland, it's really a case of trying to pick the day,


trying to find the perfect day, a bit like surfing,


trying to get the perfect conditions, the perfect wave.


Sometimes, even if there's not much snow, I still like to get out


and ski on what we can, even if it's a little patch.


That's what I think Scottish skiing's all about -


it's just making the most of what you've got.


MATT: Winter's grip is all well and good for fresh air fanatics




You know, as a farmer myself, I know how hard winters can be,


and, in the uplands of Cumbria, winters don't get much tougher.


The days are short, the nights are dark,


and the cold will chill you to the core.


NEWSREADER: Hill farmers in Cumberland haven't forgotten


their severe losses in the blizzard weather last winter...


In the past, farmers have been known to resort to extreme measures


to protect their flock from the worst the winter can throw at them.


This winter, it can freeze if it likes - the sheep won't feel it.


Do you really like having to wear jute?


BLEATING VOICE: There's no substitute for wool.


But this lot don't need any extra layers.


Herdwicks - as rough and tough as the landscape they graze,


guardians of these fells for more than a thousand years.


These hardy animals can cope with anything that the Cumbrian weather


can throw at them, and so, for that matter,


can the hardy shepherds who look after them.


Come on, dogs. Come on, come on, here to me, here to me. Up here.


'who runs 1,000 Herdwick ewes in Grasmere.'


There's a bit of a bite in the air today, Peter,


but nothing too drastic, I'm sure, from what you're used to, but, um,


how was this winter compared to the recent ones?


Yeah, it... it's been unbelievable, really.


Since December and January, we've had day after day of nice weather,


As far as their kind of coping mechanisms are concerned,


what are their patterns when the weather gets bad?


They live on these fells, high out, so, when the weather comes in,


they'll come in with the weather, to get shelter.


But they can be stubborn. If they're wanting to stay up


in the bad weather, they'll just find a stone to stand behind.


It's quite a special fleece that the Herdwick has.


It isn't worth a lot to us, but to them, it's invaluable,


and it's a very coarse, heavy, thick wool that keeps the weather out.


It's the old-fashioned Gore-Tex, if you want. That's it, absolutely.


'Their blizzard-proof fleeces may not be worth much commercially,


'but the Herdwicks are now giving farmers like Peter


'That's because Herdwick lamb and mutton from the Lake District was


'recently awarded protected status, putting it in the same category as


'French champagne, Cornish pasties and Melton Mowbray pork pies.


'It's been a 10-year project that's been driven by the farming community


'and the added status is now putting some well-earned money


knowing that you have this real protected status... Yeah.


..and that the value and everything that you've worked for


has now come to fruition... Yes. ..I mean, for you, it must mean


an enormous amount and for all the Herdwick farmers around here?


For us Herdwick producers, we take pride in our...


in our being able to farm these on these fells, it isn't an easy job.


To breed these sheep to go and live out there all winter,


which you can't just pick up overnight,


it's passed down from generation to generation.


What difference has it made to the Herdwick farming community


around here, that are involved with it?


Breeding a couple of lambs, and we know,


if we make a good job of them, what we're going to get. Mm-hm.


And you ask any sheep breeder in the business,


that's the big problem is you can go to a market


and you're at the mercy of the dealers and the buyers.


And I guess it just gives you buoyancy, in the darker months,


when things are really tough around here? Definitely, it does.


It gives us that security and...we're quids in!


So, not only have you guaranteed a price at the start,


but actually, that whole system has become a lot simpler? Very much so.


There's now a new-found demand for the humble Herdwick and, later,


I'll be finding out why, when it comes to taste,


many are hailing it top of the chops.


From the fells of Cumbria to the flatlands of Kent now,


where wildlife cameraman, Richard Taylor-Jones,


is discovering the chill in the air isn't always caused by the weather.


I've been visiting the Isle of Sheppey


and watching its glorious wildlife for many years now.


It was better known as a summer seaside destination,


but since the hordes of sun-seekers have gone,


And they have something far more sinister in mind -


Winter on the Isle of Sheppey has become famous for being


one of the best places in the UK to watch birds of prey.


And I'd just like to see how many I can see in one short winter's day.


Now, the reason that winter brings so many raptors here to Sheppey


is essentially because of what I've got out in front of me here.


There's a large flock of feeding ducks, known as widgeon,


and, as well as widgeon, there are other waders and other geese


and all sorts of birds that birds of prey basically feed on.


And the widgeon behind me are going up, look at that!


Now, there is actually a kestrel that's just flown in


It's very unlikely that a kestrel would take a widgeon,


but it's certainly enough to spook them and put them up.


Just in the distance, I can see a couple of marsh harriers perched up.


And that's what Sheppey's really famous for -


There are probably more marsh harriers here


There's the barn owl, here's the barn owl.


These are birds that prey on voles, mice, mammals.


Oh, she's being attacked by something! What was that?


Oh, a gull. A gull just came down and attacked it.


post and it just flew out of shot the moment I managed to hit record.


and arrived at what's known as the raptor watch point.


It is the middle of the day, when birds do tend to go


a bit quieter, but...who knows what might happen?


This is the bird I was hoping that we might see


It's a female hen harrier, otherwise known as a ringtail.


There's not many birds that you want to see flying away from you


and it's showing us a lovely white rump


This is one of Britain's rarest birds of prey.


This is perhaps the bird I'd expect to see here,


Oh, look, there's a kestrel right above the buzzard.


Whoa, diving down... HE CHUCKLES


The poor buzzard's being mobbed by the kestrel


and is now running away really quickly.


And I think, that to me looks like a female peregrine -


Oh! It's in the distance, it's behind a bush, but it's a peregrine.


And up above me here now, very rapid wing beats that make the


distinctive outline of a short-eared owl.


Beautiful bird. This is a really good kick for the raptor list.


It's the last light of the day here now on Sheppey.


Now in the evening, the marsh harrier, they come together,


up to 20, 30 birds, to roost in the reed bed in front of me here.


It's just absolutely magical to see this many marsh harriers


Do you know what, I think you can keep your summertime trip to


Sheppey, with its buckets and spades.


Give me a raptor spectacular in the winter any day.


ADAM: Winter is a good time of year for farmers to take stock


I'm heading to Carmarthenshire to meet some farmers who are


going the extra mile to preserve the future of some of our rarest cattle.


This is the Dinefwr Estate, owned by the National Trust,


and it's said to be the ancestral home of one of Britain's


most cattle farmers have got their animals indoors.


But this shed isn't just full of any old cattle - these are White Parks,


and there's only 750 breeding females left in the world


and this herd is particularly special.


They're one of the most renowned White Park herds in the UK.


They've been part of a landscape here at Dinefwr for more than


1,000 years and Wyn Davies has devoted the last 18 years


Hi there, Wyn. Hello, Adam. Good to see you.


They look in lovely condition. How many cows have you got now?


Oh, we've got, in total, here we've got 18 breeding cow.


And then the rest are young cattle, followers.


And you've got them in this lovely new shed.


Well, yes, the nature of the ground around here, it gets very wet in the


winter here. Yeah. So they were making a bit of a mess outside,


so it was decided to put up this new building.


The cows could survive the winter outdoors,


but with nearly all of them pregnant,


keeping them under cover will allow Wyn to keep a close eye on them.


Well, as you see, it's been designed for plenty of fresh air


to come in here. It's a nice environment for them to be.


Especially, they can look outside and see the sunshine. Yeah.


And also see the visitors passing in the day.


ADAM LAUGHS And you've got a lot of experience


working with these cattle. You love them, don't you? Well, yes.


You know, they're part of Welsh history.


Most of these rare breeds retain their primitive instinct,


They haven't been improved like many of our modern-day cattle,


so they retain that independent spirit.


They've got attitude! But we want to maintain that, don't we?


We want them to be survivors, to look after themselves.


Well, that's what makes them what they are, really, isn't it?


That distinctiveness. They're quite eccentric in a way, really.


Now, a little bird has told me you're thinking about retiring.


Is that right? Well, yes, there comes a time for everything, really.


I've done my best to look after these animals since they've


and I'm looking forward and I've got every confidence in


Rhodri Thomas, who is going to be my successor, then.


Wonderful. Well, good luck with your retirement. Thank you, Adam.


Keep in touch. All the best. Thank you, bye-bye.


Rhodri has certainly got big boots to fill when


he takes over from Wyn in the spring.


Hi, Rhodri. Hi, Adam. Good to see you. Good to see you.


As well as keeping the deer in shape, the White Parks


So how do you feel about being the next generation, the person who's


going to look after all this livestock here,


Yeah, it's a big responsibility, you know?


And I fully acknowledge that and obviously it's a huge honour


But, you know, Wyn's overseeing my development this past year and


a half now and I feel a lot more confident about doing it.


Rhodri and I head back to the barn to help Wyn bed up the White Parks.


The extra work that goes into keeping them indoors in


hopefully this 5-star treatment will protect and preserve this herd


that is such a big part of this landscape.


I think it's brilliant that Wyn is so happy to hand over his


and that Rhodri is so keen to take hold of the reins.


I think these White Park cattle are in very safe hands.


Just over the hill from Dinefwr is another rare breed success story.


In the shadow of another castle, farmer Bernard Llewellyn


By developing the Longhorns' strength to suit today's


these once incredibly rare cattle have made a remarkable recovery.


Hi, Bernard! Adam! Good to see you. Goodness me, you Welshmen are hard.


What are you doing washing cattle on a day like today?


Well, I quite like to give them their monthly shower, you know?


Now, these bulls are so different to what I remember.


We had Longhorns, what, 15, 20 years ago. Yeah. Yeah, yeah.


Goodness me, they've changed, haven't they?!


Well, we've tried, really, I suppose, to improve the conformation


really because of market needs as much as anything.


There's some money in there, isn't there?


Very good bull in the loin, which is where the expensive joints are.


People concentrate, I think, too much on this back end,


Now, the Longhorn has been famous for living off, you know,


You know, docile, easy calving, all those sorts of things. Yeah.


Are you retaining that? Well, I think it's vital we do retain that


Grass-fed cattle are already being sold at a premium.


But certainly in areas like this, you can see we haven't got quite


the Cotswolds down here. ADAM LAUGHS


You know, it's cattle that graze upland pastures,


that we're going to need, whether it be cattle or sheep.


I can't harvest my grass, so to convert that grass into


something that humans can make use of, we need cattle that can graze.


Grass might be plentiful here in Wales, but straw isn't.


Around 80% of Wales is hill country, unsuitable for arable crops.


Many farmers like Bernard have to buy their bedding in from


And as demand increases over the winter months, so does the price.


Although housing livestock at this time of year is an expensive


business, Bernard firmly believes Longhorns are more than


These cattle look well, Bernard. How many have you got in here?


We try to keep them looking reasonably well all the winter,


but all they have is this haylage from now on.


It's incredible how the breed has come such a long way


when my dad first started keeping them.


Back then, it was about preservation,


and they were more of a museum piece.


But breeders like you have done a lot for them, haven't you?


where we probably have got sufficient numbers,


and we've got to look at alternatives


for utilising the other strong characteristics that they have.


And that really is what I feel the future is,


is producing a very high quality product from grass,


What the chefs really like is the quality of the beef.


And selling that into top-class restaurants and butchers?


Exactly. There's got to be some added value there somewhere.


I couldn't afford to get involved in the costs of the straw


or in keeping them unless there was a bonus for me in it.


It's wonderful to see, isn't it?


That that's where agriculture is going, hopefully.


Well, I think we're going to be more and more dependent


so let's produce something that people really do want.


These lovely old-fashioned breeds.


Old-fashioned, yes, but they could be the future, too.


Great to see you. Thank you, Adam. Keep up the good work, bye-bye.


MATT: The Herdwick, a sheep to weather the wildest of winters.


Do you know, from a sheep farmer's perspective,


You've got that almost grey cloud that's just


Around 95% of the world's Herdwicks live on the Cumbrian fells.


These special sheep are as much a feature of the landscape


and it just looks absolutely fantastic.


And the breed is even more important to the area


now that the Herdwick's meat has been awarded protected status.


the sheep needs to be born, reared and processed in Cumbria.


We're not talking food miles here, more like food metres.


Steven Airey is currently the only butcher in the area


that can certify authentic Lakeland Herdwick.


For your customers, this stamp is very, very important.


All the carcasses get stamped with ten stamps on the main cuts.


They want to know all about where it comes from,


the farms it comes from. Yeah, yeah.


And so, for other farmers that may be thinking of getting together


would you say that, going forward,


this is actually a really positive model?


I think anybody can do it, but they have to suss out


the end market first and work backwards.


We can't compete with the South Americas and the Australias


really, we've got to go for the niche market.


Lakeland Herdwick is proving such a hit with diners,


it's finding its way onto the menu of top London restaurants.


Steven is even regularly shipping it as far afield as Hong Kong.


And it's all down to farmers like Peter.


Happy? Yeah. So what are we looking for? About 40 kilos?


Yeah, somewhere there. But we have to knock 3.5 kilo off


cos our scales are not working properly!


Can't you just adjust it at the top? We could, but it's past adjustment.


Oh, is it? Oh, well. As long as you know. Yeah.


So why is Herdwick lamb and mutton considered


Oh, just! Put a pop on that. Happy? Yeah, put a pop on that.


Most growing lambs you see dotted in fields around the UK


Now, in that system, lambs would be ready for the table


at about three months. But for farmers who farm Herdwicks,


well, they've got to wait much longer.


In fact, these are proving to be ready at nearly ten months old.


Come on, boys. Which means more time for the sheep


to take in the fells' amazing grazing.


And for local chef Tim Brown, it's time well spent.


Oh, Tim, this smells absolutely unbelievable.


You've got three hungry farmers who are waiting to be fed.


That's correct, yes. I'm hoping this is Herdwick on the menu.


Of course it is, yeah. Herdwick mutton.


Herdwick mutton, right. From my brother's farm in Eskdale.


And looking at your trusty anatomical menu here,


loin, you can see, is this part here.


That's right. But you also do neck, you do shoulder, leg.


Obviously, it's different cooking processes


for different cuts of the animal, you know?


The more working parts, we cook slower, for a longer time.


What have we got going on here, then?


These are beautiful, colourful bowls. This is just salsa verde.


made out of smoked beetroot instead of the cucumber.


Wow. Are you a big fan of Herdwick?


The Herdwick has got a lot deeper flavour than you can find


And also, it's got to pick up the flavour from the terrain.


Yeah, quite something for you to be cooking it down


in the farmyard, looking up at the fells?


Very special, very unique in flavour.


Well, we need to get on and eat this, don't we,


to be honest with you. So, lads, come on and eat.


Look, it's like a pyramid, a fell of Herdwick.


this, really, is what it's all about. Isn't it, Peter?


Because you're doing what you can, with the landscape that you've got,


that have been bred in this area for this very purpose.


And to taste that finished product is just... It makes it all worth it.


Fantastic. It's just...


And, you know, deserved that it has that protected status


authority in the world of food. Yeah.


ELLIE: For those looking to the landscape for inspiration,


winter can be one of the most striking times of the year.


Where you've just got a sparkle on the top of the lake. That is good.


Norman Ackroyd is one of Britain's most celebrated artists.


He uses an unusual process called aquatinting,


a pre-photographic technique that etches with acid on copper.


We caught up with him on his home turf of Yorkshire,


as he made the most of a rather grey day.


I sometimes think you're of the soil that you're brought up in.


I woke up one morning in New York and I thought,


"I've got to get back to the British Isles.


"That's what I want to do things about."


I want to go and really explore MY country.


When you start to stare at this, it just looks grey.


But you suddenly realise the colours start to come out.


And the silvers. To me, it's like a rainbow.


There's no real plan. I just go where impulse takes me.


I don't have a, kind of, huge life project.


I just find myself in places like this,


and I want to put over the essence of it.


It's important that one knows the history of a place,


because it's not just a line of trees.


And you imagine the Roman legionaries then,


who got posted back to Italy, to a much warmer climate and they think,


"God, what we... I was in North Yorkshire!"


And remember the times, especially the winters, they spent here.


and keep holding the mirror there. Right, that's it,


it opens it up a bit. That's good, thank you.


When we print off this plate, it will print the other way around


to what I'm drawing it, so it has to be drawn in reverse.


This is a great etching image, it really is.


This is going to make a nice little plate, I think.


I do my printing in a big warehouse right in the middle of London,


so if I want to do something at three in the morning


I can just walk down the steps and get on.


It's good as soon as you get back from a trip


to go right in on it, when your hands are still cold. You know?


And that way, I hope to get the freshness


of what it feels like with the rain falling.


It's a way of laying a thin film of resin on a plate,


it crystallises like the surface of sandpaper.


And you can have a fine grain and a coarse grain,


and those grains resist the acid, but the acid gets in between them,


and so it etches a tone on the plate.


What you want is the bones, the skeleton of the image,


done on the spot. There's something in that original first drawing,


straight onto the copper, that has a magic that you never get


It's the first fine careless rapture.


It's all very simple, really, once you've got the logic of it!


So far, I've spotted some magnificent red squirrels


braving the season's chill, in the ancient Caledonian Forest.


But now I'm heading for higher ground,


as there's one mountain dweller I REALLY want to see -


and camouflages itself against predators...


The hare's winter coat blends in with the snow -


I might stand a fighting chance of seeing one.


To help me get a close encounter of the "furred kind",


I've enlisted the help of wildlife photographer


and all-round hare whisperer, Andy Howard.


You got anything, Andy? Nothing yet, Ellie,


but there's plenty around, so it shouldn't be too long,


hopefully, before we find one. Excellent.


The images you've got of mountain hares are full of character.


How do you get that out of your subjects?


A lot of time and patience, basically,


it's reading the body language of the hares.


Ideally we want to get really close today.


I'd love to get you within, you know, a few metres of one.


Really? And I think we should head off and go and look for one.


Yeah. Yeah? Let's go. Let's do it.


Mountain hares are perfectly adapted to this harsh environment,


wide feet like snowshoes, and speed to flee from predators.


And there's evidence we're in the right place.


This is the sort of classic hare form here. Yeah.


Out of the wind. I've actually photographed them in this situation


where they are completely covered in snow,


the top of the head and the ears poking out.


So, the snow really isn't an issue for hare.


If anything, it insulates them against the cold. Amazing.


So we can't be far away from them now. We can't be far away,


in the distance, we catch our first sighting.


Well, there you go, Ellie, look, there's some hares over there.


They really stand out, don't they, against that background?


Oh, it's fantastic, there's plenty over there!


Now, I'm happy to see the whites of their coats -


but it's the whites of their eyes I've really come to see.


There's a hare sitting in the ditch here... Oh, yeah.


He's lovely. Aren't you a gorgeous boy?


it's got its eyes sort of partially closed,


so we know even at this distance we are now,


it's relaxed and happy with us being here. Oh, right.


So what we're going to do is we're going to move in very slowly...


If it starts to twitch, we know that it's not happy.


It's already closer than I've ever been before, you know.


we want this hare to know exactly where we are at all times.


What we're going to do now is we're just going to drop down... Get low.


..really slowly, no sudden movements at all,


tell the hare that he's quite happy...


Hello, hare. We're all good. No problems here.


It's pretty relaxed, isn't it? Hello, hare.


That's brilliant, we're within just a few metres now.


So, look, we're going to see his head tilting forward,


and that's him going down to collect one of his pellets.


It's still quite a relaxed act, though, doesn't seem...


He wouldn't be doing this if he wasn't relaxed with us.


Filling the frame! CAMERA SHUTTER CLICKS


You can see the detail, can't you? It's remarkable, yeah.


Listen, it's not going to be on the Countryfile calendar,


Yes, it will be chilly, but layers are the trick. If you have plenty of


layers today, Highlands of Scotland is the place to be. It really was


that sticking out in the sunshine. For the rest of us come a cold,


rural, grey day and yes some of us have seen -- a raw grey day. Few


degrees was the best we could offer you today in some places but the


good news is, fast forward a few days, and it will feel almost like


spring. Some sunshine and double digit temperatures. That is the


message over the next few days. It will slowly but surely be turning


milder. Not just yet, still that nagging easterly breeze, carrying


some snow to the Pennines but that will be fading away. Still some


dampness across the North. A glancing blow across the far


south-west, but later on some clearer skies are merging of


southern counties. Not one, though, to be just three, four, five, it


will feel distinctively bracing as you step out first thing in the


morning with the Blues but a bit of sunshine makes all the difference


and there will be at long last across southern counties. Different


stories further north, another cloudy day. And you have to factor


in that wind as well. So some variation across the UK. Cloudy and


damp and chilly across eastern Scotland, head west into the


sunshine across the west of the Highlands, Northern Ireland,


north-west England, a bit of a question about how quickly it


brightens up across parts of Wales, the Midlands and Eastern counties.


If it stays grow it was Dave chilly but further south in the sunshine,


temperatures much higher than they have been, but you have to factor in


that wind. And that wind will be strong. Especially across western


coasts and hills, gusts of 50 to 60 mph could cause some issues. A


warning is in force from the Met office. As we head into the night we


will get the women going and then this chap turns up across the far


south-west of England by Tuesday, south-west Wales, we could see some


patchy rain. Further north and east it stays predominantly dry. Again a


question about cloud amounts, hopefully some brightness till.


Chilly across the North and east but a bit milder further south and west.


That front headed by north-eastwards, not much rain on


it, followed by another one which is a bit more potent, Samaria and


possibly thundery showers turning up across some western part of the UK


on Wednesday, but by the stage the wind is beginning to come in from


the south or even the south-west. Those temperatures will be creeping


up, double figures quite wildly and it will feel quite comfortable,


particularly Ducatis and sunshine. I Thursday most of the action, the


wind and rain will be across the far north of Scotland but further south


things are quiet down. It will turn light and mostly dry and feel quite


pleasant, light winds. The ridge of high pressure builds an albeit


temporarily, these phones will eventually arrive as we head towards


Whee Kim, but we are now week on the night, plenty of sunshine around by


daylight. You could see some showers across the South West of England but


most places will have a settled into the week. Burglars and indeed with


some -- very pleasant indeed. This could well be the scene as we end


the week. But with light winds, we could well see some frost overnight


and some patches of fog, which could linger in some places well on into


the day. As we head to the RADIO: '..forecast,


issued by the Met Office 'on behalf of


the Maritime and Coastguard Agency. Cold and unforgiving -


the North Sea. '..fog patches,


occasionally very poor.' This is Filey


on the east coast of Yorkshire, where winter can be


a turbulent time. '..otherwise increasing gale 8 at


times. Rain at times, moderate...' fishermen have braved these waters


to bring home the catch of the day. But the story of the fishing


industry is also interwoven with a fascinating yarn


about winter woollies. # I don't know if we'll get lost


at sea # Or we'll end up


where we're supposed to be # Are you brave enough to swim


against the tide? Today, the last great fishing


families of Filey spend most


of the winter months inside, mending their lobster pots


and creels. But Graham Taylor remembers when


winter was the season to be at sea, This is one of the winter lines,


long lines. and hopefully we're going to fish


in the right place. What was it like, Graham,


working out at sea, in small boats, Bearing in mind you're


three men in an open boat. Yeah. because that's the only reason


you'd get any money. But that was it,


it was a way of life. As their battered boats


tumbled through the waves, fishermen like Graham and the


generations that went before him were thankful for one simple


reminder of home - their thick woollen jumpers,


known as ganseys, Now, as you know,


I'm partial to a good pullover. But I'm told that often these were


so tightly knitted around the neck and the cuffs,


to keep out the wintry blasts, that when you pulled


them over your head, they could actually


make your earlobes bleed. In other places,


they're known as knitfrocks, Knitting and fishing


have long been intertwined, both part of the fabric


of coastal life. And it's what links Graham


to his wife Margaret. She's one of the few keeping


this centuries-old tradition alive. So how old do you reckon


those needles are, Margaret? I would think these needles are


about 100 years old. I've used them constantly


since 1967. Well, what is it about these jumpers


that makes them so special, then? They're special because the


guernseys knit all in one piece, on five needles,


and they're close-knit. So this makes them kind of water


resistant, and almost windproof? They fit tight to the body -


they're like... referred to as


a second skin almost. And is there a kind of standard


pattern for them, then? There's about 17 variations of


guernsey patterns that I'm aware of, The diamond -


that's the mesh of the nets. Uh-huh. This one is the cliffs - you walk


down in a zigzag pattern. Yeah. If that was a double row,


two stitches side-by-side, it's the ups and downs of


married life... ..or walking along


life's path together. This one's also got the initials in,


of the wearer. If you found that jersey


on a washed-up body, somebody in the know would know


that that was a Filey guernsey. They would know from the pattern it


was a Filey jumper... They would. ..and they would know exactly who


the victim was because of the... Because of the... ..initials, yeah.


That's right. They don't take identification


to sea with them. No. And there would be nothing worse


than not having the body brought back to the right place.


Yeah. It takes a skilled knitter like


Margaret at least 100 hours You couldn't make a living


knitting these. They're a garment of love,


you've got to want to knit them. And you want to do them for somebody


who will appreciate them. 'Over the years, Margaret has made


him 25, and he's kept them all. 'And this is the very first one


she knitted for Graham, 'more than half a century ago,


when they first started courting.' The lady who taught me,


Lizzie Hunter, she was an old fisher wife,


and said, "then you've got to learn to knit


a guernsey". who used to come down


on the Cobble Landing and sort of mix with all us


young fishermen. But she obviously didn't impress you


as much as Margaret. So that was quite a challenge


for you, then, Margaret? Mine had to be better


than the one he already had. It also had to pass


Lizzie's approval, When I'd finished it,


that was the end of the lessons. but I've managed to go through my


career as well just wearing jumpers. I bet you've never worn


a Filey guernsey. I've got one here


if you want to try it on. You had a blue one


during the working week... And a grey one... ..and a grey one


on a Sunday. Absolutely. Tight-knit and certainly


a bit of a tight fit... but it does feel incredibly warm,


this jumper, on a bitterly cold day. And ways of keeping ourselves warm


in wintertime have certainly come And we'll be finding out more about


that, and many other things, in Countryfile Winter Diaries,


every morning this week, Nothing could be more


pressing than the tide. That's every morning this week,


at 9.15. Before I met you,


I was a civilised woman.


Ellie is in Scotland on a winter wildlife safari. The Cairngorms National Park is home to 25 per cent of Britain's threatened wildlife species, and Ellie hopes to spot some of them.

Matt is on the Cumbrian fells, where a winter's day barely starts before it is over. He meets Peter Bland, who farms herdwick sheep. These are the hardiest of herds, and their blizzard-proof fleeces can embrace everything that winter throws at them. Matt hears how their access to amazing grazing on the fells all year round creates a real depth of flavour to their meat.

John Craven is in Filey on the east coast of Yorkshire, where he hears the history behind the fisherman's gansey, a winter woolly with a distinctive pattern.

Richard Taylor-Jones is on the Isle of Sheppey in Kent. This one of the best places in the UK to watch birds of prey in winter because of the amount of food on offer for them. To avoid being eaten many of the birds stick together in huge flocks, hoping to confuse the attackers, and this is a spectacle only seen at this time of year. Richard sees just how many birds of prey he can track down in one day.

In Carmarthenshire, Adam is meeting the farmers pulling out all the stops to preserve the future of some of our oldest and rarest cattle breeds.

We also spend a day with one of Britain's most renowned landscape artists, Norman Ackroyd CBE. Inspired by extremes of weather, Norman embraces winter and creates shadowy studies of some of the harshest landscapes of the British Isles. We see him on home turf - at Sutton Bank, North Yorkshire.

We also meet budding designer Jamie Kunka in Perthsire. He transforms the surrounding trees into handcrafted, and now award-winning, skis. We see him at work and hear about his ambition to make skis that will last a lifetime and be beautiful enough to hang on the wall between the seasons. Then we put them to the test on the snowy slopes.