Martin Dorey travels around Britain in his classic campervan. In Trossachs National Park, Scottish brown trout is on the menu - if Martin can get to grips with fishing.
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Today on One Man and His Campervan, I'm in west Scotland,
where I go hunting for my food, but I'm not sure if I can actually do the deed.
-I've not decided whether or not I have the heart or the stomach to take that final shot.
I feel like a merman!
I reveal one of the more novel approaches to fishing - with rather mixed results.
And, as I host my first ever campervan dinner party,
I'll be showing you that comfort is as important as the menu.
It's great food, but I have to say, this chair is a little low.
I've travelled over 1,500 miles, visiting the New Forest, Norfolk,
Yorkshire, Northumberland and Angus on my journey to here.
I'm here in the Trossachs, which is an area of Scotland known for its windy roads,
as well as being the Highlands in miniature,
which is pretty strange, because it doesn't look very miniature to me.
The landscape is unbelievable. It's massive.
Big skies, big mountains, big lochs, it's very, very pretty indeed.
And whilst the local lambs look pretty free-range,
there was a much wilder and rarer beast in these mountains,
and hopefully it would form the centrepiece of my campervan dinner tonight.
Today's your lucky day, my pretty.
I'm about to do something today that I would never normally do,
but I've got the opportunity, and I'm going to give it a go.
Today I'm going stalking for red deer.
Red deer are Britain's largest land mammal.
Although heavily protected, licensed game wardens are allowed to cull a number of stags a year
to keep numbers at a sustainable level for the food available.
I'm off to meet Alan
and I'll leave this behind, because...
apparently red deer can spot them a mile off.
On tonight's menu, it's venison loin with a whisky sauce and garden veggies.
So I was going into the hills to experience stalking first-hand.
Alan Sneddon is a local farm manager who's licensed to shoot red deer.
What are the chances for today?
Well, at the moment we've got not a strong wind, but it's a sort of a north-east wind.
-There are some stags, which I saw earlier, just across the brow of the hill.
Well, I'm in your capable hands.
-Shall we head off?
-We'll head off.
I firmly believe you should never eat anything you wouldn't be prepared to kill,
but this is was really going to put my philosophy to the test.
Would I actually be able to shoot one of these magnificent creatures?
-I mean, we cull on this estate roughly 30 to 35 deer a year.
-And that more or less keeps the population stable.
Alan took me on a route that guaranteed we would always be downwind of the deer,
which have an incredible sense of smell.
As long as we stayed quiet, this would get us closer to them.
Once we establish where they are...
we'll do the final stalk...
-which is quite a stealthy...
-Hands and knees?
It's going to be hands and knees, yes.
-So we are going to get a bit grubby?
We headed up towards the top of a ridge, behind which Alan hoped our deer would be.
My campervan was now just a small dot on the landscape.
So these deer now hopefully are directly above us,
-but on the other side of the hill.
We'll just progress really slowly now,
-and see what we can see.
-Fine. Let's go.
The walk itself had been enjoyable,
if a little arduous, but now the fun stopped.
My heart was pumping as Alan talked about the gritty reality of the stalk, and dispatching a stag.
With the equipment we're using, the deer will be well visible.
Your point of aim will be clear, and you should be absolutely steady before you take the shot.
It's my job to make sure that the shot is taken as safely and as humanely as possible.
-Yeah, OK. The last thing I want to do is do some damage and not...
-Not do it properly.
Now, Alan's confidence in my ability to handle a gun was not just blind faith.
We'd met up the evening before for some shooting practice.
-Not a bad spot.
-Beautiful spot, Martin.
-And that looks like the target.
-That certainly is.
I'd had to prove to him, and myself, that if the situation arose,
I could be trusted to dispatch a stag as swiftly and humanely as possible.
So, if I can't hit that metal board, there's no hope for me?
It's not the metal board I'm interested in, it's the dot in the middle of it.
I thought you might say that.
We're using a pretty good rifle with a modern scope,
and you'll be shooting from a rest, so very definitely achievable.
Right, OK. Well, we'll see, shall we? Yeah.
Raise the butt of the rifle up, and put it on your shoulder.
The target was placed 100 yards away.
I'm sort of half terrified and half extremely excited. It's...
Now I'm no arms expert, but this was the biggest gun I'd ever seen.
It's amazing, when you see it through the scope, how close you see.
Alan took me through the firing procedure with the gun unloaded.
We donned our ear protectors - it was time to try a live round.
And then squeeze the trigger.
-Did I hit anything?
-Yep. You're just slightly to the right.
I was close, but not close enough for Alan to be convinced to let me try on a stag.
One last chance to prove myself.
-Is that all right, is it? Look, I knocked it off!
-You just cracked the top edge of the bull there.
-Wow, is that all right, is it?
-Ah, ha ha ha! How exciting!
Your first shot went slightly right and clipped the edge of the circle.
-The second shot was slightly above, and your third just clipped it right here.
But back at the hunt, as Alan left me with the gun
while he crept up to have a look over the edge,
yesterday's adrenalin had been replaced with a moral dilemma.
-I still haven't decided whether or not I've got the heart or the stomach to take that final shot.
You know, I've certainly got stomach to eat venison,
so, you know, this is all part of the process,
and it's a part of the journey of that food.
And if it's not me, it's going to be somebody else.
Alan had spotted two deer on the other side of the valley,
and as we watched, another one stood up in the long grass.
They were too far away to give us any chance of a successful stalk.
However, Alan was convinced there were a couple of stags
somewhere just below us, on our side of the valley.
I was signalled by Alan to join him, and as we made our way along the ridge,
we found ourselves very close to a female and her calf.
-We just spotted two red deer just above the tree line.
Alan motioned for me to be quiet, as he'd seen something else
that was going to leave me with a choice I could really have done without.
So, the dilemma is, I think there's two stags lying within 100 yards of us.
But to the left of that, only 50 yards away...
-a hind with her calf that's probably about a month old.
So, you can either go and look at this wonderful sight, or we can...
or we can actually go for the stag. I think we're so close now
-that we either go and just look at the deer...
or we go and try and take a shot at a stag.
OK. I think, er...
I think it would be good to have a look.
Decision made. Naturalist Martin had triumphed over hunter Martin.
Will we have another chance?
Difficult to tell. I think those deer are the deer we saw earlier this morning,
that just moved, they were very settled.
-But they're very, very close.
And the mist is coming in now, too.
-Let's go and have a look.
The deer, of course, had not been informed of my decision
to abandon plans to try and shoot them, and had fled.
They can reach speeds of 40mph, so by the time we reached the top of the ridge, they were long gone.
They have either saw us or heard us.
So close, 50 yards, and their senses are incredible.
And they've just taken off.
One hind gave a little bark, they've got an alarm bark,
and what I was seeing before, that I thought was a stag lying,
was actually a hind that had just turned its head towards us.
And I just saw it for a split second.
There are two hinds and a young calf.
-Pretty special to see...
-..a calf like that.
-To get so close, as well.
It's not far at all.
-The calf would have been 30 yards when we saw it initially.
We'd been on the mountain for six hours when the mists suddenly began to roll in.
It was time to make our way back down to the comfort and security of the campervan.
As Alan warned me, conditions can turn treacherous in an instant up here.
As we carefully descended, we did get one final glimpse of a buck on top of a ridge.
We'd come down the mountain empty-handed,
but Alan had agreed to give me some venison meat from the farm to cook for tonight's dinner.
Well, it's a bit of a shame, but in fact, if we'd shot a stag,
we couldn't have eaten it, could we?
No, that's right. We generally hang them for about ten days anyway.
So the one we got today would have still been in the larder for a couple of weeks.
So, what's to eat tonight? Have you got any that's been shot previously?
I can sort you out with some venison, don't worry about that.
-I tell you what, if you bring some venison, I'll cook.
-Sounds like a deal.
To be honest with you, I'm really quite pleased that we didn't come across any stags to shoot.
But we did get some glimpses and it was worth going for that.
But also, a fantastic walk.
I'm going to park the van down by the side of the loch, and get out of these wet things.
Well, that was the plan anyway. The weather had closed in.
The rain was getting worse, and the still loch that I'd passed this morning was now choppy.
My God, check out the water.
It's absolutely tipping it down, and I'm supposed to be camping in a field by the loch today.
So I hope this rain stops, otherwise I could end up waking up...
in three feet of water.
On the way back, I raided the estate garden for some vegetables to go with Alan's venison.
There would be no chance of using my bucket barbecue in this weather.
Time to put a positive, campervan spin on the situation.
Because the weather has drawn in, and it's absolutely tipping it down outside,
it means I can hold my first dinner party in my new van, which is very exciting.
If maybe a little cramped.
On tonight's menu, venison loin with a whisky sauce and fresh garden vegetables.
But, chopping my parsley, I felt a splash of water on the back of my neck.
We are a bit short of space, so I've popped the top,
and I have noticed that we've sprung a little bit of a leak.
So I'm hoping that Alan won't get too wet, because he's going to sit here.
We won't mention it.
-Hello, sir. How are you doing?
-How are you doing?
Nice to see you again. Come in out of the rain.
Yeah. There's a present for you.
Oh, look at that. Wonderful.
Fantastic. What we're going to do... I'm going to swap seats.
-Do you want to sit here?
-Yeah, can do.
-And then I can cook easier from there.
This is all like a bit of a game, really.
Because I've had such great weather on my travels,
this is the first time that I've actually had the opportunity
to invite a guest for dinner in the van.
It's a privilege.
-Well, let's hope so.
-I'm glad I'm in here and not out there, anyway.
-Oh, it is miserable outside, isn't it?
-It certainly is.
But the campervan bistro atmosphere I'd tried to create was shattered
when Alan spotted my socks drying over the stove.
Yeah, hopefully they won't affect the food too much!
They were literally...literally dripping after coming back.
I wrung them out, outside.
The boots are under the van, because they're too wet. Full of newspaper.
I was sure Alan was relieved about that.
Time to get cooking.
First of all, I flash-fried the venison in a drop of olive oil to seal in the juices.
-They look good, anyway, don't they?
-Yeah, it's lovely.
-That's a piece of loin.
-A piece of loin? Do you eat a lot of venison yourself?
I do, when I get the chance, yes.
It's one of my favourite meats, actually.
This particular animal has been hung for ten days.
Ten days. OK. Because the hanging obviously makes the flavour a lot stronger?
It does. It also relaxes the meat, so it has a tenderising effect as well.
So, this animal... Did you shoot it?
Yes, I did, yeah.
-And you butcher it as well?
-I do, yeah.
After just four minutes, the succulent venison was cooked.
I put it to one side to let it rest,
and had to hurry to saute the baby vegetables in the meat juices before the meat got cold.
That's all just going in the same pan there?
Just in the same pan. I'm going to try and use the juices from the venison to make a little bit of a...
to help steam the veg.
create a little bit of a sauce as well.
The thing about using great quality meat and really fresh ingredients
is just to be as simple as possible.
There's no point in mucking around with it too much,
because you don't want to mess around with the flavours too much.
Now, get some of this pak choi in, the last thing.
-It smells great.
-It does smell nice, doesn't it?
This is where we hope the pak choi does in fact wilt down a little bit.
It was now time to add the secret ingredient - Scottish olive oil, or whisky to you and I.
And while that's reducing, time to slice the venison,
which was crisp on the outside and beautifully pink in the middle.
Now, being a campervan, there isn't a separate dining area,
but with Alan's help, I erected the stowaway table, and voila,
we were now in the campervan dining room and ready to eat.
There you go, sir.
It looks wonderful.
The pouring rain and howling wind outside was but a distant memory as we tucked into my campervan venison
with baby carrots, courgettes and pak choi in a whisky jus.
-Are you getting any of that whisky?
-I can definitely taste it.
Those carrots are so sweet. It's lovely.
Of course, a dinner party can't be judged just by what's on the plate.
It's great food, but I have to say that eating for the first time,
my first dinner party, if you like, in the van...
this chair's a little low.
I feel like I'm having to reach up like a small child,
but it doesn't, obviously, have any effect on the flavour of the food.
Still to come, I reveal what must be one of the most unusual methods of fishing known to man.
And then you put flippers on your feet and you sit in this and you kick with your feet.
And the heat is on with my dish of traditional Scottish oatmeal-rolled brown trout.
This is where you want smelly-vision!
The rivers that feed the loch had swelled significantly during the night,
forcing me into some swift campervan relocation.
At about two o'clock in the morning, when I was cosy in my sleeping bag,
the rain started getting heavier and heavier and heavier, and it was battering down on the roof.
And I decided I couldn't stay because I was worried I would wake up in a sea of water in the morning.
So I got up, in me sleeping bag, drove the van across the field
and parked up here, where I know it's safe.
I'm still really wet from yesterday.
I've had my socks drying over the stove and I might have burned them a bit,
but at least they'll be dry.
My coat's hanging up, which is part of the great things about being in a campervan,
but the brilliant thing about it is at least I'm not in a tent.
Can you imagine waking up in the middle of the night to find yourself in a flooded field
in a tent with nowhere to go, but go and sit either in the car or sit it out until the morning?
In my campervan, I might be a bit damp, but I'm happy.
After a quick breakfast, I fled the boggy field back to the comparative safety of the road.
Today, I'm heading west to Loch Drunkie, a brilliant name.
There, I'm hoping to do some fishing.
If I get lucky, I shall be cooking up a traditional Scottish dish,
which is brown trout, rolled in oatmeal.
With this road surface threatening to loosen my fillings, it was time for a campervan tip.
Well, I've pulled off onto the road to Loch Drunkie
and the surface is terrible and, as you can probably hear, it's a bit of a bone shaker.
Everything's rattling away.
The secret to driving these roads, you either drive really fast or you drive really slow.
I think I'll go for slow.
Luckily, it wasn't much further.
By the loch, I met Roger Draper, a keen angler with an interesting take on fishing. Hello.
-Hello. Well done.
-You must be Roger.
-Martin, well done.
-How are you?
-Very well. Nice to meet you.
-Yeah, nice to meet you too.
-Now, you're taking me fishing.
-That doesn't look like normal fishing.
It's slightly unusual, called a float tube.
-And we sit in it and we go out into the water
and float around like a big armchair. You'll love it.
For an armchair sportsman like me, this could be my finest hour.
So, I'm wearing some of the gear you're going to need.
You put flippers on your feet and then you sit in this and you kick with your feet.
You don't need oars, you don't need paddles, you don't need an engine.
It's just you, your flippers, your wet suit and your waders.
What sort of fish are we looking for?
We're going to be fishing for brown trout.
We're going to try two different ways of fishing for them, fly-fishing and bait fishing.
There are other fish in here, pike and perch,
but brown trout is what we want and that's what we're going to try and target today.
I was beginning to suspect that the film crew might have paid Roger to humiliate me.
Well, that's the funniest-looking fishing kit I've ever seen.
I feel like a merman.
As you know from my previous fishing experience in Devon, I am a terrible fisherman.
Anything that makes my endeavours more comfortable had to be a good thing.
It was time to push off.
-How do you steer this thing?
-Just work your feet.
You paddle more with one foot and you'll go around.
Roger gave me a crash course in fly-fishing and away I went.
It's like the most...
..I've ever done.
I haven't caught a fish yet, and I've only caught myself so far.
It may look rather relaxing, but I was feeling the pressure.
If we didn't catch any fish, there wouldn't be anything to eat later. And I'd promised to cook for Roger.
Roger told me to look for ripples on the surface,
a sure sign there were fish close by.
The great advantage of this floating chair
is that you can glide gently through the water,
getting to places where it's impossible to cast from the bank.
Well, that's the theory anyway.
Roger had told me to tease the fly across the water.
I ended up whipping it with the line.
No wonder the fish were avoiding me!
I've got to get better at this casting.
If I don't catch anything, it looks like it's going to be pasta for tea again.
Like on all my other fishing trips.
But then all thoughts of another bowl of campervan pasta disappeared.
Roger had a bite!
You see it? That's about plate size.
It's a wee brown trout.
Beautiful. Martin, we've got dinner!
A couple more of them and we'll have a feast!
Beautiful spots. A typical little Scottish...
Whoops. Where did I put that dried pasta?
We'll get another one.
I abandoned the fly-fishing in favour of a normal rod and line, but still had no success.
Luckily, Roger was doing a bit better.
That's what it's all about.
-Let's have a look. That could well be dinner.
-That's definitely dinner.
We're going to gut him and then we'll scrape the scales off
and we'll roll him in oatmeal and fry him in a bit of butter, a bit of oil.
And a quick fry and he's going to taste delicious.
We had our dinner, but no fishing trip is complete without telling the tale of the one that got away.
I had one on and I got it to within about two metres of the end of my line,
and then, of course, my inability to land fish got the better of me.
By now, I'd given up hope of ever catching anything.
So I made the paddle of shame back to the campervan.
I've been chasing them round this bit for the last hour.
Not far to go now, you'll probably start feeling the bottom soon.
Ever the optimist, I kept my line in the water, just in case.
Nearly back to shore, I was already thinking about how to make one fish
stretch between two for dinner when, suddenly, there was a tug on my line.
OK, Roger, do you want to get...
With dinner literally hanging on the line, I feared I'd lose this fish as I tried to reel him in.
I'm beached now.
I'd crashed into the bank, which gave me an idea.
-Shall I just beach him?
-I think so.
It might not have been a textbook landing,
but 30 years of hurt just disappeared, I was now a proper fisherman.
I'm pretty happy to have caught and landed an actual fish.
It's been amazing, being out on the water, and even better for bringing home...
even though he's not huge...
my very own Scottish brown trout.
All that was left to do was get out of our waders, open the van and let the cooking commence.
I've had a glorious day.
I've done some fun things in my life and that was one of the funnest.
I didn't just like it. I absolutely loved it.
And Roger's fish, slightly bigger than mine.
My fish, slightly smaller than Roger's.
Anyway, he's putting the fishing gear away and I'm going to get on with gutting these.
Fantastic as it is to be by the lake side, there are millions upon millions of midges around.
So, I do it quickly...
..and then we're going to cook them...
away from the van to stop the van stinking.
Some people are squeamish about doing this, but I don't mind it at all.
And if I do it by the lake side,
then we're making use of everything by giving the little fishes some supper, too.
After gutting and washing the fish, they were ready for cooking.
It has been a long time since I actually caught a fish.
So I've got you to thank for that.
We're just rolling them in oatmeal, which is the traditional Scottish way of doing things.
-This is the way my mother did it.
I'd got some porridge oats from my campervan staples cupboard and ground them up to coat the fish.
They would help protect the skin from burning and keep all the fish oils locked inside.
I'm looking forward to this.
In case you were wondering whether or not I was turning this into a romantic meal,
-obviously, we're trying to do our best with the midge candles.
Ah, yes, the midges.
No Scottish campervan cook-up in the wild would be complete without them.
-These midges would drive you insane, wouldn't they?
-They sure would.
People will try and camp here and then head for the hills.
No, they're impossible.
-We're being driven mad here now, aren't we?
-We are a bit.
It seemed that every hungry midge for miles around had decided to pay us a visit.
Battling on, I was about to start frying the trout
in a half-and-half mixture of butter and vegetable oil.
-You can spoon some butter into the middle of them.
-How long would your mother have given these?
-You've got to get them cooked properly.
A few minutes a side.
They're starting to smell absolutely beautiful.
Oh yes, I'm getting that.
I tell you what, Roger, would you mind keeping your eye on those for a second?
-I'm going to sort out some couscous to have with it.
This is where you want smelly vision!
-How are they doing?
-Just keeping them just nice.
Perfect. What do you think? Does it taste better when you catch it yourself?
Catch it, cook it and eat it.
Fresh as...fresh as can be.
On the campervan hob, I had fried up courgettes,
peppers, onions and toasted some almonds to add to the couscous.
-I can't wait.
They're looking very good. Here we go, Roger.
Look at that.
-After about five minutes each side, the trout were ready.
My brown trout rolled in oatmeal had turned out a treat.
The traditional oatmeal coating had helped to hold the skin together.
But what would Roger think? Would it be a taste of home?
Look at that. You've cooked that perfectly.
I can't express how good that is.
-It's such a delicate taste, isn't it?
-A delicate flavour.
A sweet flavour and you don't really need to muck about with it, do you?
No, I don't think you need seasoning, do you?
No, I don't think. I think it's just simple, as usual, is best.
Not only that...
but I caught this myself!
-Here is to our new friendship.
To your health! Cheers.
I've realised one of my life's ambitions today.
I was a bit worried that my visit to the Trossachs would end with...
..catching nothing, but actually...
-I'm quite glad it's the fish and not the stag.
Well, there's not a lot left on my fish is there?
And yours was bigger than mine, but we won't talk about that.
Sitting by the shore of Loch Drunkie,
we fought off the midges and finished off our delicious, freshly-caught dinner.
It was the perfect ending to my campervan adventure in Scotland.
Next time, my van and I are in the glorious Cumbrian Fells.
Hey, look at that. That's stunning.
I set my van the ultimate driving challenge.
We're getting there. Come on!
With a bit of help, I reveal the secrets of sausage making.
That's a real camper banger.
And I'll be showing you how local wild berries can brighten up a clotted cream tea.
Subtitles by Red Bee Media Ltd
Email [email protected]
Martin Dorey, campervan lover and passionate foodie, travels around the UK meeting growers, fishermen, farmers, larger-than-life local experts and fellow holidaymakers. He forages for local delicacies and cooks for his new-found friends, creating local dishes in his small campervan kitchen.
This time, Martin and his campervan are in the glorious Trossachs National Park. Scottish brown trout is on the menu, if Martin can get to grips with fishing - in an inflatable armchair.