Liz Bonnin explores the Lake District. She starts her journey in Whinlatter Forest, travels through Keswick, and finishes at a pudding club in Ambleside.
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Today I'm on a journey through the Lake District,
one of the world's most spectacular landscapes.
I start my travels in the North Lakes,
over 2,500 feet above sea level, in Whinlatter Forest.
That was so cool. I felled a tree.
I'll travel to Keswick to learn how a pencil factory
helped keep Second World War RAF pilots safe behind enemy lines.
Is that the compass? Oh, my gosh, it is so tiny.
I'll meet the photographer
whose collaboration with writer Alfred Wainwright
immortalised this amazing scenery...
The landscape has been here
for hundreds of thousands of years, untouched,
and I really do try to avoid photographing man's hand upon the landscape.
..and end my journey
indulging in any pudding lover's fantasy in Ambleside.
That looks yummy.
OK, so it's nothing...
I'd just eat that with a spoon, Lucy.
Along the way, I'll be looking back at the best of the BBC's rural programmes
from this part of the country.
This is Country Tracks.
The Lake District was one of the first areas in the UK
to be given National Park status.
Here, you can find England's highest mountain and its deepest lake.
Its vistas have inspired paintings by Constable
and words by Wordsworth.
I've come to Whinlatter
to get a taste of the only true mountain forest in England.
Whinlatter Forest rises to 2,591 feet above sea level,
giving spectacular views of the Lake District, and on to Scotland.
Now it was originally planted after the First World War,
in order to replenish the dwindling timber supplies in the UK.
Now back then, the main objective was to grow the most productive tree species possible,
offering very little diversity for wildlife.
But by the 1970s, the Forestry Commission decided to change the way they managed this forest.
'I'm meeting ranger Nathan Fox, to find out why.'
So, Nathan, why was the decision taken to change the management of this forest?
The remit changed, really.
These are public forests and we need to manage them for public benefit,
so the emphasis on timber production reduced,
and the emphasis on more wildlife conservation and public facilities obviously increased.
That's a lovely thing to hear, so what exactly is the scale of this change?
I mean, how big is the forest for managing?
Whinlatter is a very big forest, obviously.
It's about 3,000 acres in size, and forestry's obviously quite a long-term thing.
So we've got a bit of work to do before we reach our ultimate goal.
It's a work in progress.
What are you doing with this particular patch of it?
The whole area's going to be clear-felled
and it's going to be replanted, but not with the same type of species
but with a different type of species to give a bit more diversity.
Cool. OK. How do you tackle such a big forest?
I mean, how do you cut this down efficiently?
Historically, it was done by axes, then it was done by saws.
-That's hard work.
-Then, it was done by chainsaws, but we've do something different with it now.
-Where is it?
-Just round here. I'm going to let you see.
-Liz, this is my colleague, Dave.
-This is Liz.
-Very nice to meet you.
-How are you, love?
-You have got the best toy in the world.
-I've leave you in Dave's capable hands.
Thanks a million.
Wow, how many trees do you get through with this baby?
It'll do 250 trees a day.
-Not too shabby.
-No, that's right.
How come the wood's all separated into different piles?
We're cutting that many different products out of the tree.
The first piece is a saw log, what we call a nice, green saw log, a big, chunky log.
-Used for timber?
-Yeah, timber industry. So, we cut that one first,
then as you start getting down the tree, towards pallet wood.
Then as we get further down, if it's got any bends or twists in it,
we cut pulp wood, which is for paper and cardboard.
-So nothing's wasted.
-Nothing at all.
-That's good news. Can I see it in action?
-You can indeed, yeah. You'll have to jump up.
-Can I go up there with you?
-Awesome! I'm going to leave my rucksack here.
Now, where can I stand, Dave?
-Squeeze in there if you can.
-Okey-dokey, no worries.
Not much room in these cabs. All right?
-Are you in?
It's an incredible-looking piece of kit. It really is.
That's the felling head there.
Oh, look at that!
Got feed rollers that feed the tree through,
and as you feed the trees through, there's knives, these pieces here.
-Yeah, yeah. Whoa! You wouldn't want to be caught between those.
Oh, my God. That's incredible. That's better than any Transformer I've ever seen.
Basically, this is your length. These are diameters.
So when I saw this tree off now, it'll zero itself.
When I feed the tree through, it'll optimise what it can get.
-Would you like to have a go?
-Oh! Are you kidding me?
I can position it so you can fell a tree, if you like.
-Oh, my gosh! Yes please. Seriously?
Dave, you are amazing. Thank you so much, I would so love to try and have a go.
-All you need to do is...
-..press this little button here.
-Yeah, and that's it?
OK. Here we go.
That's it. We just pull that lever back and feed the tree through...
That was so cool! I felled a tree!
You cut a tree down.
There is still a lot of work to be done in this part of the forest,
but some areas are already geared up for the public.
Adam Henson saddled up to try out the bike trails.
You obviously love it up here. What makes you so passionate about it?
Look where we are, first of all.
The views are spectacular, and even better on a bike.
It's just a great place to live and work.
And the trail itself?
It's been advertised as putting the mountain back into mountain biking, and it really has.
We're on one of the biggest, highest mountain trails in England.
Not only have you got the views,
but you've got amazing descents and just huge amounts of fun.
It's graded red. That's like skiing, I suppose, is it?
Yeah. We start off with green, blue, red and black, so it's second-highest.
You need to know your stuff, but most people do.
-I suppose we ought to give it a go.
The trail's 19 kilometres long and takes about two hours.
For a novice rider like me, it's pretty tricky.
-Rich, that's quite technical stuff, isn't it? Quite tricky some of that.
-Good fun though.
Now, going down past some of those tree roots, my back tyre was slipping out
and I - well, I nearly fell off.
That does happen. Often, if front wheel goes, your back wheel's going to follow,
so either avoid it altogether, stay clear of it, or if you can, front-wheel lift,
and your back wheel will follow, and you clear it.
OK. Try the next bit, shall we?
Happy days, let's go.
The trail was getting tougher and the mist was closing in.
Whoa, Adam, slow down.
Got a bit of a technical feature to look at.
So what we need to do here, is look past the puddle.
So where you look is where you're going to go.
As the front wheel drops down, push the bike away from you.
That gets the bike over the technical feature quite quickly.
Go easy on the brakes and just enjoy it.
What happens if I slip off into the trees?
First of all, you won't.
It's all about confidence. If you think about falling, you will fall.
-Don't think about falling.
-OK. Let's give it a go. I'm feeling confident!
It might not look much, but when you're on a bike
with a hefty drop next to you,
it's a different story.
Well, Adam, what do you reckon, then?
it's just great. I'm loving it. Really, really good.
-Thanks for all the tips. It's fantastic.
Don't let me hold you up, you crack on and I'll just make my own way down.
-Nice to see you.
-See you later.
The Whinlatter mountain forest is owned by the Forestry Commission,
so I wanted to find out about their input into the trail.
-Hi, how are you doing?
-Hi, how are you doing?
It's a brilliant trail. Adrian, how did this come about?
Well, about five years ago, we were inundated with self-built trails
within the forest, and that's groups of people
coming in and building their own trail.
So the Forestry Commission here at Whinlatter thought, "Well, it's about time we did something,"
and created a trail that was purpose-built and sustainable.
How does it fit in with the wildlife?
That's why a lot of people have been coming here in the past.
The Bassenthwaite ospreys are in the area, there's a red squirrel reserve here.
We've got a good population of roe deer.
So we wouldn't develop something that was unsustainable or detrimental to that either.
MUSIC: "Kitty Jay" by Seth Lakeman
One of the great things about this trail is the absolutely stunning views.
You can see right off across the Lake District and even into Scotland,
and Keswick's 1,600 feet down in the valley.
The last kilometre of the trail is specially designed for disabled mountain bikers.
The bikes have four wheels instead of two, and the momentum is gained
by the gradient they ride on, rather than through pedalling.
So I caught up with these rough riders, who tow each other up on a quad bike,
to get their take on the mountain biking experience.
Dave, how did this trail come about?
We approached the Forestry Commission, you know, with our club,
and asked, basically, that any future trails that are built,
that they could bear us in mind
when they come to the construction of them.
It's worked out quite well.
It's a first attempt, so it's not brilliant because we're all learning.
The Forestry Commission are learning and we're learning as well,
but hopefully with a few tweaks it's going to run a little bit faster and be a little bit better for us.
The only prohibitive thing about this, if me and Dave
are riding we can never ride together,
because either he's towing me or I'm towing him.
If there's an up lift service, where we can both get a tow behind, we can just come up
to the top like this, and ride together, which is the next stage.
We just want to be like everybody else, chuck our bikes in the back of the car,
come out, and take part without having to bring a trailer and a quad,
and all that infrastructure, but at the moment that's the starting off and developing.
That's really what we wanted to do initially, is just be part of the
mountain biking family, rather than sort of separating in any way, you know.
And you, when you're going down, you get pretty extreme, you talk about air time.
Yeah, you know, you can jump them. You know, they're not quite as, you know,
you can't take the impact with your legs like a normal rider can.
So what tends to happen is it lands and it will get a rebound kick,
which can get quite out of hand at times.
But particularly when you get a good jump, with a good landing transition,
you can land smoothly and ride away.
That sounds quite extreme! Are you not worried about hurting yourself?
-Yes and no.
I still want an adrenaline rush.
Obviously, self preservation kicks in at some stage, but you can't do
an extreme sport and be constantly afraid of what might happen.
Being a wheelchair user, people think, you know, you're disabled
and you're doing an extreme sport, are you mad?
But why should I not try it any more than an able-bodied person?
You know, you might fall off a bike and get injured, same might happen to me.
It's a slightly different bike but it's the same risks involved.
In some ways you could sort of see it as, well, I'm in a wheelchair, how much worse can it get?
Although you don't tend to say that to people!
and I reckon the more popular this sport becomes, trails like the ones
they've got here really are going to come into their own for people of all abilities.
For me, I think it's high time I got that well-deserved pint!
Whinlatter's mountain bike trails. As well as these bike trails for visitors,
something else has benefited from the changes to the forest
The flora and fauna. Barbara Thompson is my guide.
Barbara, immediately, all around me I can see a very different landscape
from the one I've just been in.
Talk to me about the kind of trees that are here then.
Well, you can see over there, a mosaic of different trees,
different ages, different species.
Some of them are conifer, larches, spruce. Some pine in there.
But there's also some clear fell and some deciduous stuff.
So you've got a whole range of different trees.
We've got them in sort of species pens. Each pen is then felled.
But that, of course, then opens up a whole new place
where you've got young trees coming up, young deciduous trees coming up.
And, of course, that means you've got lots of margins for wildlife then.
-And different sorts of plants coming up.
OK, so what kind of wildlife can you find?
What we've got at the moment, of course, is red squirrel.
They particularly like mature pines with the pine cones on the edges.
We've also got small animals. Voles, little mice, bank voles
-and you have the bigger predators like weasels and stoats coming in.
And then you have your big predators on top like buzzards coming in,
sparrowhawks, occasionally a goshawk coming in
and they'll be taking all those little animals in the food chain.
Fantastic. What about ospreys then?
Well, ospreys are exclusively fish eaters
so what they like best are these native pine trees we have up here,
which is our only native pine tree, the Scots pine.
That's what they like nesting in because it has a big, broad open top to it.
So this is very different and a big improvement on the original forest.
Of course, I'm seeing lots of wild plants, some blackberries there.
-Oh yes, they're just ripening up nicely, aren't they?
-Amazing. There's only one that looks a bit ripe.
Now, if you have a look over there, we've got some wood sage.
-What, this stuff here?
-This stuff here, yeah.
This is a very interesting one because it's our only native sage.
You can put it in stews but it's very bitter to eat.
The Romans brought the Mediterranean sage across
and it went quite out of fashion then.
If you have a look here, Liz, there are two different sorts of heather.
This has been completely eradicated underneath the conifers
but now we've cleared it again, it's coming up.
This is the more common Scottish heather.
It's the one I recognise. What is this one?
This one's bell heather.
If you have a look here, you'll see each little flower is like a little ringing bell in there.
It's so cute.
So, this is indigenous heather but it was completely eradicated
because of the old way the forest was planted?
When you put the conifers in, that would shade out all this sort of thing.
So, just letting a little bit of light in and it just seems to come up
-from perhaps ancient seed that was there beforehand.
It's also quite nice in the fact that at this time of year
-it will make a very pleasant golden dye out of the tips.
You are a fountain on knowledge, Barbara.
Beautiful. Great to see it here.
Barbara, what would you say are the main advantages of managing a forest in this way?
Well, I suppose it's because of the total diversity of the place.
-As you can see, you've got lots of different ages of trees.
Most of those are conifers so they'll be going for wood pulp or timber,
so you're getting an income from that.
You've got clear spaces where you'll get wildlife coming up.
As the trees grow up, you'll get different wildlife coming in.
It's opened it up so you can see these magnificent views
and, of course, it's just wonderful for people.
It's really great to see the transformation of the forest here.
And it's not only the fells and forest getting a new lease of life.
When Griff Rhys Jones visited,
he went underground to check out a slate mine rescued from closure.
Mark Weir has single-handedly resurrected this relic of Cumbrian industry.
In the 1980s, the mine was closed down.
'But Mark's grandfather, who had worked in the mine all his life,'
always dreamed that it would open again.
After his death, Mark risked everything and bought it.
The only problem was that Mark, a former helicopter pilot,
didn't know the first thing about slate mining.
I'd never been underground in a mine
till I actually walked through here for the first time,
and I hadn't been underground as I bought it.
Isn't that weird?
But Mark has been transformed into a slate expert like his grandfather,
having taught himself the skills.
-I know this is a good bit of slate because it rings like a bell.
So all I would want to do now is hit it in the middle of the middle.
I just tap it.
And because it's gone thin on me...
It's amazing how, with just that knock,
you've ended up with something as finished as that,
as beautiful a surface as that.
'It looked easy enough so I thought I'd have a crack.'
-Are you a practical sort of guy?
-Not really, no, but I'll have a go.
-At almost anything, I'll have a go at it.
-Go into the middle there and a slight tap.
-Into the middle?
-In the middle there like that.
-How hard am I going to hit this?
-A nice, swift strike.
Now, I'll probably...
-And again. You're committed now, Griff.
-Am I? OK.
You just nicely tap it through.
That's gone through. There's definitely something coming off.
-Look at that! I mean, it's not perfect.
-No, it isn't.
No, it's not a tile, so much as a...
Well, it is a cheeseboard.
Or possibly it could do in my garden, couldn't it, really?
It didn't take me that long.
'After I'd ruined a perfectly good bit of slate for him,'
Mark took me up the mountain to find the green gold, as slate is called.
When Mark bought the mine, it was derelict.
He had 11 miles of tunnels, many of which were blocked or unsafe.
And he had no money to employ anyone to help him.
In getting it back to a workable state, he was completely on his own.
Look at this.
Isn't that fantastic?
When I first started, for the first three years
I used to do seven days a week
and two 24-hours shifts mixed between that week, every week.
-You would work here at night on your own?
-But did you hate the mountain then?
-I did. I hated every bit of it.
So what drove you on?
Basically, I bought a mine and it wasn't doing anything
and I was going to lose everything.
So my great idea of being truly grit and all the rest of it
and I lose everything, genuinely was on the horizon.
I was going to lose the lot and the only thing that kept us going,
the only get-out that I could,
was to basically work and work and work and work
until I saw the green gold of Honister.
But the days and nights of toil paid off
and now Honister Slate Mine employs 40 people
and produces 10,000 tonnes of slate a year for building companies in Cumbria and beyond.
Mark hasn't just been busy extracting slate.
He also has a project he hopes will leave a legacy to this Cumbrian industry.
Deep in the mountain we came to an astonishing slate cave.
-What's your plan here?
-I'm creating an amphitheatre.
A monument to the people that lived and died.
So you'll put in seats and a stage?
Yeah, in rock form. Yeah.
-That's a huge amount of work to do.
-It is. This is my home.
This is my inspiration.
This is my piece to carry on after my time.
If Mark's inspiration becomes a reality,
the slate amphitheatre will be a place of congregation.
Visitors will be able to sit right inside the mountain
and feel its might and beauty.
Since that interview was recorded, Mark Weir has sadly passed away
but Honister Slate Mine remains as his legacy
and continues to play an important role in this lakeland community.
Leaving the mountains of Whinlatter behind,
I'm heading south to the popular town of Keswick.
People first started visiting Keswick during the Victorian period
inspired by the area's close connection with writers
such as Coleridge, Ruskin and Wordsworth
and also because of its popularity with artists like Constable and Turner.
Today, this is a thriving tourist town
but very few people actually know about one of its major industries.
In 1500, a local shepherd discovered a strange black material in the roots of an upturned tree.
That material was actually graphite
and thus began the pencil-making industry right here in Keswick.
The local graphite was mined out in the early 1800s
but the pencil industry here in Keswick survives today.
750,000 pencils are produced here every week,
exported to no less than 72 countries.
These days, production is largely automated.
It's a far cry from the early days of mass production
here in the Lake District.
The first factory opened in 1832
and back then it was a dirty, labour-intensive industry
employing hundreds of local people.
But it was in between these two eras
that this factory was responsible for a unique product.
I've come to the museum built on the site of the original factory
to find out about a secret operation that was going on
right here during the Second World War.
I've worked in the museum for three years.
Keswick is well known for the pencil-making industry
but there was a big secret that was kept during the Second World War.
-What was it?
-There was a gentleman called Charles Fraser Smith.
He came from the government in 1941
to challenge our technical managers to create a pencil
with a map and a compass inside.
For use in the Second World War?
It was. It was given to RAF airmen in standard issue kits
and to POWs as well.
Oh, my gosh, so escape maps and stuff like that?
The maps inside held pictures of Germany
and they were coded between 101 to 104.
How on earth did they make this pencil then?
-First off, they created the pencil as normal.
Then they drilled out the inside.
-To about halfway, three quarters.
So there's still some pencil here, so they can write. Amazing.
So, it's hollowed out and then what happens?
-They would insert a map into the centre, like so.
-Oh, right, OK.
-Nicely bound up.
-Yeah. Then a compass was inserted on top.
Is that the compass? Oh, my gosh, it is so tiny.
-Oh, look, it's amazing. Brilliant. So you put the compass...
And then you put a metal ferrule on top.
-Which is normal to have on a pencil anyway?
-Yep. To help hold the rubber on top of the end.
And it would look like a normal pencil.
How many people actually knew about these special pencils
because it was a well-kept secret, wasn't it?
-It was. Only six members of management knew about it.
-Yeah, the factory workers created the pencil fully as normal.
And then after work hours,
the management would come in on nights and drill out
the three-quarter length of pencil, insert the maps, the compasses,
then put everything in boxes on the shelves ready to be shipped.
-It was a small number of people who knew, to make sure the secret never got out.
-So do we know whether Germany ever found out about our amazing secret pencils?
Unfortunately, due to the Official Secrets Act,
all records were destroyed after being made,
so we don't know how many were made, how many actually left
or if they're actually still in people's attics or bedrooms.
Absolutely genius, though. What a great thing to display here.
The remarkable story of the secret wartime pencil,
designed to save pilots' lives behind enemy lines
and produced right here in Keswick.
Exploring the Lake District's industrial heritage
is one good reason for visiting this beautiful part of the world
but, for most people, the biggest draw continues to be the wilderness
and the water.
Lots of people come to the Lake District to soak up the tranquillity,
stretch their legs and generally take it easy.
But if you prefer a bit more action and you don't mind getting wet,
there is an alternative way of exploring this countryside.
Right, arms crossed, wriggle wriggle. Go!
Cumbria is bidding to become the UK's adventure capital
and ghyll scrambling is shaping up to be one of the most popular,
if not unique, activities here in the Lakes.
Earlier on, I caught up with local instructor, John Wady.
He's been running ghyll scrambling courses here for the past nine years.
Many of them take place at Stoneycroft Ghyll.
So, John, why is ghyll scrambling the next big thing?
It's for people who have tried the traditional outdoor activities
and want to get closer to nature.
In the unique way the Lake District was formed through volcanic action and glaciation,
it's left us with many of these really steep mountain streams
which are the perfect venue for ghyll scrambling.
'And, unlike many sports, you can do this come rain or shine.
'I'm taking part with seven others.'
Quick, get me in the water!
I don't know what I'm expecting but I'm scared to death.
Just to give you an idea of how chilly this water is,
there's icicles hanging above us.
Guys, we're all wearing wetsuits.
The only way for a wetsuit to work is if it's wet.
The clue's in the name, so have a seat.
-I love it!
-Have a seat.
-There we go, well done.
Get your legs up there, hands in the air.
Do yourselves a favour, put them in the water! Splash!
Have some of that!
'We're aiming to get through a kilometre of the ghyll. Here goes.'
-Arms in, wiggle, wiggle!
-If it's a full on adrenaline rush you're after,
this won't disappoint. Suddenly, sliding down a rocky landscape
feels like the most natural thing in the world.
This is so bizarre
because you'd never believe that it would fit you so naturally.
It's like you're in a theme park cos you're going down all these slides.
So where does the term "ghyll scrambling" originate?
The scrambling is using your hands and feet to move your body along.
A ghyll is just a local word for a steep mountain stream
from the old Vikings,
cos the Vikings had many settlements in this area.
'Well, I'm pacing myself, as it's about to get even tougher.'
-This is the first of the dives on the ghyll...
-..So we're thinking swimming pool, a racing dive's coming up.
-So you go on your belly?
-On your belly, yeah.
We're looking for the best belly flop going. There's an award at the end of the ghyll.
It looks painful but it's too exhilarating to notice the bumps.
And can you scramble through any part of the Lake District?
Obviously, some ghylls are just too steep to be safe.
You'd have to use rocks and rock-climbing ropes and techniques
to protect them. But there's 20, 30 ghylls like this
that can be used really easily by anyone of average ability.
They've had ghyll scramblers as young as six here.
Some of these jumps are just incredible.
If you're brave enough, it's an ideal opportunity to face your fears.
How are we feeling?
-I just don't want to do it.
-You don't want to do it! Bless you!
-You'll be all right.
-Just go for it.
I tell you what, she's a brave girl. Here we go. It is a bit slippy
and it looks like a very long way down.
-Go for it!
One, two, three...
It's been great fun. Loved the jumps and the slides. It's been excellent.
It's great experience to weather when you're in the water.
It's been cold, it's been wet but it's been brilliant.
'I'm feeling a bit battered now but I don't want to get left behind.'
Continuing my journey through the Lake District,
I've arrived at the beautiful Rydal Water.
The Lake District has been immortalised
by countless poets and other literary giants.
But in recent history, one name has become synonymous with this area
and that name is Alfred Wainwright.
Wainwright became known for his famous pictorial guides to the Lakeland Fells,
which he compiled between 1952 and 1966.
I'm on my way to meet photographer Derry Brabbs,
who spent nearly a decade working closely with Wainwright
on seven illustrated walking guides.
-Sorry to disturb you. How are you getting on?
-On a day like today, getting on famously.
-Gosh, I'm not surprised.
What are you focusing on now? Can I look?
I've been trying to get a photograph
of that beautiful boathouse on the other side of Rydal Water
but I might have to come back later in the day
when the sun's moved round further.
-You've photographed this place many times with Wainwright?
Tell me a bit about how you got to work with him.
Almost by accident. I was wanting to do a book on the Pennine Way
and somebody at the publishers suggested Wainwright
because he'd already done his famous pocket guide to the Pennine Way.
But he said before he would do the book on the Pennine Way,
he said I had to do one on the Lakeland mountains for him.
The only problem was that I'd never climbed a Lakeland Fell and suffer from vertigo.
So, in terms of a job description, it wasn't ideal.
When it comes to photography, how much experience did you have
and how much did you learn from Wainwright himself?
I was a novice at the game so it took me a couple of books with him
before I started to feel comfortable and know my surroundings
and also get to grips with the extraordinary microclimate that is the Lakeland Fells.
What are the top tips about capturing, first of all, that incredible mountain
and also a body of water like this? What do you need?
Really and truly, the best time for photography is as soon as you can after sunrise
and just before sunset.
When the sun's at a low angle, you get rich colours, textures, shadows,
and it transforms the landscape into a three-dimensional picture
rather than, as the sun gets higher later on in the day,
you lose all those wonderful textures and shadows.
To me, skies are an integral part of the landscape,
inasmuch as the reflection in the lake is important,
because that adds another dimension.
If you're doing a wide-angled picture of a landscape,
you've got almost half the image is sky.
And if you're exposing for the darkness of the trees and the water,
-then it means that inevitably the sky will become bleached out.
Use a graduated filter and it reduces the exposure
that you need in the sky.
You can either hold it across the lens like that or you can buy filter holders.
We're going to focus in on those rugged rocks
because the sun is directly on them, there's a lovely pebbled...
Is there a man at the very top dressed in red up there? Look.
-The top of the mound on the right.
-It's entirely possible.
-That's a brave person.
-It doesn't look so bad from up there,
but when you're looking down here...
and you realise just how much effort is going to be required
to get to the summit.
This is why we have heavy tripods, because your heart rate goes so fast
you could never hold a camera still in a month of Sundays!
You will find that if you get just a bit more height,
you can see so much more in the landscape and the whole perspective changes so much.
-You're not going to make me climb that?
-No. But I can take you to a famous viewpoint
called Loughrigg Terrace, which has stunning views back over Rydal Water and also over Grasmere.
-Let's do it.
-Can you manage with that?
-Yes, absolutely. I'm used to it.
-Well, sorry it was a bit of a climb...
-It was a bit.
..but I think you'll find that the retrospective view
back to Rydal Water is stunning.
Ah! That is spectacular! There's the boathouse.
Exactly, and you can see what I mean by height giving you
a completely fresh perspective on things.
We had a wonderful view right down by the lakeside
but how much more can we see now? The lake itself is set into its context
and that towering mound of Nab Scar becomes less significant now
as it's developed into part of a ridge of hills.
So...this is what we could do.
And personally, I would probably... In fact, I just have,
taken quite a tight picture, showing the lake with the boathouse as a predominant feature.
Oh, right, but not in the centre.
Not in the centre because it would be off-balance
with so many islands full of great clumps of trees.
If I zoom out there and recompose the picture,
you can see, we've put the lake more in the natural setting
of the fells that surround it.
The landscape has been here for hundreds of thousands of years untouched.
And I really do try and avoid photographing man's hand upon the landscape,
and so, even though everybody's got a perfect right to be here as well,
I do try and avoid people, too. A bit like Wainwright.
Wainwright always said that you should walk by yourself.
If you wanted to walk with somebody, preferably in single file,
but if you had to walk with somebody side-by-side, you should not talk.
-Excuse me while I get this...
-Go on, then.
-Just in case we get the clouds rolling over.
-True artist, you are.
-It's just too good a day to miss.
One of Wainwright's most successful books
details his famous coast-to-coast walk.
The route he plotted is still listed as one of the most popular walks
in the world today.
We join Julia Bradbury as she hikes part of it
between Kidsty Pike and Haweswater.
A succession of rolling whale-back summits with few crags or cliffs
to block the elements.
And at the very top is a peak I know well.
High Street, named after the road once built by Roman soldiers
to carry them north-south across this inhospitable landscape.
It would be very tempting at this spot just to go straight on
towards High Street,
but actually, you need to take this left turn by the cairn.
We've come all the way down from Patterdale to the Knot.
There's the left turn there and that's Twopenny Crag.
That's what you're looking for.
Take the path branching over Twopenny Crag, named pre-decimalisation.
Skirting the rim of Riggindale, take Kidsty Pike.
The route now follows in the steps of the Romans.
And there I'm afforded my first view of Kidsty Pike,
just beyond Twopenny Crag here.
Maintaining an elevation of more than 2,000 feet for several continuous miles,
this road is a permanent memorial to the skill of surveyors and the endurance of the legions,
who marched along it in all weathers.
Here we are. The highest point on the coast-to-coast route.
Sadly, you can't see either coast from here, even on a clear day
but there is a real sense of satisfaction.
Kidsty Pike is a milestone on the journey.
The last place to offer a final look at the fells of Lakeland,
among which the past few days have been spent.
It is a sad farewell. But they have not gone for ever.
They will await for other visits in the future
and, unlike so much else, they will not change.
Say, "So long," not "goodbye".
St Bees is just a gentle buzz in the memory now.
But there's still a long way to go.
and we've got to go beyond that, all the way to Shap.
The broad, grassy slopes off the summit are a rugged alpine environment
offering an ever-increasing view into one of the lake's quieter valleys.
This is my last descent of the lakes and it's a real thigh-burner.
But it is the most direct route down, down the spine of Kidsty Pike,
straight into Haweswater.
This ridge would have once led me to the old valley of Mardale
and into the lands of Riggindale Farm.
But as with so many landmarks, it was wiped from existence 70 years ago,
when Haweswater the lake was engulfed by Haweswater the reservoir.
There's a certain beauty about the new reservoir
but nothing like the romantic charm
of the old valley.
There was a natural lake along here called Haweswater.
There used to be little green pastures, farmhouses.
It was fringed with rowans and birches
and there were little beaches where the cows could come and stand.
All that's gone.
It's sad. If you knew Mardale as it used to be in 1930,
this is a sad sight.
The old beauty's gone from it.
There's the Haweswater Dam, and that is my symbol that I'm truly leaving the lakes behind me.
Unlike Julia, I'm not ready to leave the lakes behind just yet
because my journey has now brought me to the town of Ambleside.
I don't know about you but after a mammoth walk like I've had,
I always fancy a nice big, fat slice of cake,
and, from what I hear, this is the perfect place.
Ambleside is a bustling town full of specialist shops and eateries.
I'm visiting one of its restaurants to learn the art of baking an exotic pud with a local twist.
Lucy, it's safe to say you're bit of a cake freak, right?
-I do like some of the sweet stuff!
-Good stuff! What are we making,
-cos the ingredients look very interesting?
-We've got some quite nice ingredients.
We're sort of settling into autumn and winter
I'm making a Cumberland Rum Nicky but with a bit of a difference,
cos we're using some Grasmere Gingerbread crumbs as well.
-That's the stuff.
This has got the secret recipe that nobody can find out. Is that right?
Yeah. That's the way things should be occasionally.
-It smells like coming home. It's so gorgeous.
And you won't be telling me what's in it?
-No, I can't tell you cos even I don't know!
Even I can't find that out. It's locked in a vault.
Usually, the Rum Nicky doesn't have this in it but we're adding...
No, but I'm putting that in because we like to play around with some of the recipes.
And we use it a lot on tops of mince pies and things like that,
and it's lovely on apple crumble, tart and...
-Yeah, it's good.
-OK, what do we have to do first?
First of all, we've already lined our pastry case here
with some gorgeous pastry
into which there is icing sugar and zest of oranges.
-Can you smell that?
-Yes. It smells really orange-y, gorgeous.
-That's a sweet pastry base.
Now we're going to actually cream together our butter and brown sugar.
Do you want to have a go at doing that?
Lucy, I have never made a cake in my life.
Is that really bad?
No. But there's always a first time for everything.
Use nice softened butter. That's really good.
-You just literally...
..working the butter and sugar together.
Eventually it becomes nice and pale.
That's wonderful, that's really good.
Now we're going to add a bit of the good stuff here which...
-What kind of rum?
This is just dark rum.
So, you wouldn't use white rum?
No, the dark rum gives it a nice flavour and also
you've got to remember the origins of this particular style of dessert.
Tell me about the origin of this, actually.
Well, the northwest, and particularly Whitehaven
were very much the spice capital of the North.
We have things like ginger, dates, the rum, the sugar,
everything you could possibly need,
coming in from the West Indies.
We used to trade with them.
So we would have all this stuff, guess what they got?
-I think we got the better deal.
-That's a rubbish trade-off.
-That's the ginger syrup.
Ginger syrup. What kind of ginger is that?
This is just stem ginger. So, it's nice.
-My dad used to love this.
-I love it.
-This is good fun.
-Now, we've got a nice, creamy mixture there.
-Put that to one side.
Now we need to mix all these drier ingredients together.
It's very easy. Here we've got some dates.
I'm going to tip those in like that, aren't they gorgeous?
-Can you smell those?
-It all smells divine.
It's really nice and comforting.
We've got some nice plump raisins here which are lovely,
which go into there and mix in.
-I love it.
Finally, we'll have to grate some apple now.
Do you use the skin of the apple or just the flesh?
I tend to put the skin in as well. But you can do whatever.
I'm going to put the skin in
because I like it and we've washed it.
-How much apple would you use?
-I use the whole apple.
-So we go straight through into it.
-It's nice and juicy.
It will add a nice bit of liquid together with it.
So, we're going to go right the way down.
And then we are going to put this mixture,
we are going to mix it all up together.
So, we'll put that to one side.
OK, I'm going to mix this with my hands.
All right? Hands came before implements.
I'm happy to do that.
See how that nicely...
Straight on to the floor, that's good(!)
-It's nicely glistening up.
-That looks yummy.
-OK, so it's nothing...
-I would just eat that with a spoon, Lucy.
Well, you could do.
It's very like mincemeat type of thing, isn't it?
-It's that sort of filling.
We'll get our nice, little pastry base.
Don't worry that it's not all... Can you see?
I mean, this one is a loose-bottomed one.
Don't worry that it's not neat. People get very fanatical about...
I prefer food that looks rustic and rough than really, really neat.
Yes. A lot of it's about... We do eat with our eyes,
so you need to make sure that it's got some nice textures with it.
-And it's not slapped on the plate.
-That looks great.
-That's all going on to the top there.
So, that looks nice,
you can see that you've got a nice, even spread of the mixture.
-Then we're going to put that...
just spread that out on the top, really.
As that cooks, that's going to melt through into it.
So you can get that right out.
Not much left to lick, but they say you're never too old to lick the bowl,
-I already thought of that.
-You already thought about that?
You weren't going to... Yeah, look at that!
No, no, no, that's not going on the cake.
-Is that nice?
-It's so good.
This is the bit where we make it a little bit different.
Normally, you would take some more of the pastry and lattice it over.
We're still going to do that,
but we are going to take some of these crumbs.
If you can't get hold of the Grasmere gingerbread,
then use ginger biscuits finely chopped.
Feel how a course that is.
-There's a nice piece there, you could eat that.
-Go on, them.
It's quite different, isn't it?
It is not like a Ginger Nut.
It is so much nicer.
I'm going to literally just put a couple of, well,
three lines of ginger crumbs.
And the pastry will be across it?
-The pastry, I'm going to lattice across it.
-So, there we go.
There we are, that is your very own
Cumberland Grasmere gingerbread Rum Nicky.
-Awesome. And how long in the oven?
-About 40 minutes.
And we're actually going to serve that up tonight.
-For pudding night.
It better be OK, but with your guidance,
-I have no worries whatsoever.
-It'll be fine.
It'll be absolutely fine.
It has to be fine because I don't have one I made earlier.
Don't drop it, don't drop it, don't drop it. Right, then.
40 minutes in this oven
and this Rum Nicky should be edible and acceptable for all
the pudding fanatics at Lucy's pudding night in her restaurant.
But before that, here's the Country Tracks weather for the week ahead.
Today, I have been on a journey through the Lake District.
I began in the North Lakes,
in England's only true of mountain forest at Whinlatter.
I travelled to Keswick and learned how a pencil factory played
a key role keeping RAF pilots safe behind enemy lines
in the Second World War.
Then I spent the afternoon with a photographer whose collaboration
with Alfred Wainwright helped record the area's magnificent scenery.
Now I'm ending my journey in the town of Ambleside.
Right, the moment of truth.
It's actually not looking too bad.
Wow! Look at that.
OK. Look at that.
It actually smells amazing, but I've got to serve this up
to everyone in that restaurant, so hopefully they will like it.
Because you know what they say, the proof of the pudding and all that.
Each month, Lucy's restaurant celebrates all things sweet
with a night exclusively devoted to puddings.
From a list of 11 deserts,
each customer gets to choose six to feast on.
My very own Rum Nicky is high on that list
and I want to discover how it's going down with the dessert aficionados
before getting stuck into six delicious puddings myself.
Hello, did you order Rum Nicky?
There you go.
Now, I made that with my own fair hands
and I would love you to tell me what you think of it.
-What's the sauce?
-It's a rum butter.
-That's really nice.
-It's really rich.
What's the sauce again...?
That is really nice.
-Is that the kind of dessert you usually eat?
-Not really, no.
-I'm more of a chocolate person...
..more often than not. But I am a big fan of rum, so...
-Mm-hmm? Yeah? You sure?
-And can you taste the rum?
-Yes, you can actually.
You got a double helping of rum there because
there's some in the cake and you've got your rum butter to go with it.
I don't think I'll sleep tonight.
-The problem is you have to choose 6 from 11.
You just have to come back and do the others another time.
How does this rate compared to the others so far?
So far, they've all been nice.
I mean, I like them sweet, but not too sweet.
Is that too sweet for you, or is that OK?
Well, I think this one, you can give a little bit of leeway with this one.
-It's meant to be sweet, but not too sweet.
Thank you so much for your feedback. I'll leave you in peace now,
because it's time for me to try six puddings. Awesome.
My journey through the Lake District has been inspiring,
and above all stupendously beautiful.
This might be a slightly unusual way to finish it,
but I'm ready. Bring on my desserts.
SONG: "Yummy, Yummy, Yummy."
Does anybody have any liver salts?
Subtitles by Red Bee Media Ltd
E-mail [email protected]
Liz Bonnin enjoys the sights, sounds and tastes of the north Lake District. Liz begins her journey two-and-a-half thousand feet above sea level in Whinlatter Forest, where she tries her hand at tree felling. In Keswick, she learns how a pencil factory helped keep Second World War RAF pilots safe behind enemy lines before meeting a photographer who worked with the great guidebook author, Alfred Wainwright. Finally, Liz spends an evening with the Ambleside pudding club where she tastes no less than six desserts.