Stephen Mangan, Sue Perkins and Alison Steadman travel the UK. Sue Perkins takes charge in Cornwall and leads Stephen Mangan and Alison Steadman from Bodmin Moor to Cape Cornwall.
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Where are we?
-That's west. That's southwest.
-That's west. That's north. So we've got to just...
Well, we're lost.
-We're getting nowhere.
'We've taken on the unusual challenge of finding our way
'around the country with just nature as our guide.'
-I've never been more lost.
-Where's an oak tree? Please!
'We have no maps....'
I suggest we head that way.
'No sat navs...'
-We're going east, southwest.
-Just doing this isn't helping.
'And no compass.'
You will not look at that compass.
'Instead, actor Stephen Mangan...'
We're all going to die.
'..actress Alison Steadman...'
Stand by, all right. PARP Oh, my goodness.
..and me, Sue Perkins,
'will have to rely on the trees...' I've lost you, Stephen.
'..the sun...' Here, this is it. Because that, that...
That's east, you're right, that's west.
'..and even dung....'
That's a remarkable piece of pooh.
'..to complete our journeys.
'It's called natural navigation.'
Is it time to collapse on the floor and cry?
'And we've got a long way to go.
'Because Steven Mangan will be taking us
'to his ancestral homeland, Ireland...'
Wow, just incredible.
'..Alison Steadman goes back to her roots in Liverpool and Wales...'
You have arrived.
'..but in this programme I'll be leading us through Cornwall,
'the place I call home.'
The British Isles are stuffed with natural beauty.
But it's not just pretty to look at.
Apparently, nature can help tell you where to go, if you know what you're looking for.
Our challenge is to navigate around the country
using just what we can find in the fields and forests.
But first, we're all heading back to school.
And our teacher is natural navigator extraordinaire, Tristan Gooley.
What he doesn't know about the subject isn't worth knowing.
He's a real-life action man.
The only living person to have sailed and flown solo across the Atlantic.
So whilst we were lucky to find this place, he drove here blindfolded.
While eating a cheese sandwich.
It's simple. It's the art of finding your way using only nature.
It includes using the sun, the moon, the stars, the wind and weather,
plants and animals, buildings, even puddles.
These are the techniques that our ancestors used.
The best place for us to begin is with a really simple question -
Which way am I looking?
-It's a trick question.
-Do we pass?
-Yep, that's it. Off you go.
One thing I can guarantee is after this course you'll never get lost again,
and the reason is because after this course you'll be a navigator.
Navigators never get lost, they merely become temporarily unaware of their position.
-So you're sorted.
-Isn't that just a posh way of saying lost?
Indeed, yes, but navigators don't tell people that.
If I do my job, natural navigation will change the way you look at the world forever.
'We start with the basics. Like how to read the sun.
'I mean, how hard can it be?
'Everybody knows it rises in the east and sets in the west.
'But apparently it's not that simple.'
You're going to be travelling in the middle of the summer.
It's actually one of the toughest times to use the sun
because, as we know, we've got the longest days of the year in the summer
and the reason is because the sun rises very early, of course,
about five in the morning.
in the northeast.
It starts to climb, passing through east at about 9am.
It keeps on climbing until the middle of the day,
again about lunch time, it's as high as it will get, due south again.
It starts to sink.
By about 5pm, it's passing through west.
It keeps on sinking and sets northwest, late in the evening.
The next basic lesson is about the prevailing wind in the UK.
I didn't even know we had one.
In the British Isles, the wind blows from the southwest
more frequently than from any other direction.
If we understand what the wind is doing, it can help remind us
which way is which, if we're then stuck for other clues.
For the next couple of days, we cover everything Tristan thinks
we might need for our journeys.
There's no way I'm going to remember all this stuff and then use it.
Two weeks later and we're on our way to Cornwall to be put to the first test.
Brings back hot flushes like I had during A levels,
but I can't keep these answers down my pants.
Our challenge is to travel from Bodmin Moor in the north
to Cape Cornwall on the southwestern tip, but we're only allowed to use
nature to navigate and our teacher, Tristan, won't be around to help.
Instead, he's given us guide books with just a few clues.
I like the opening sentence, "This is an easy walk." I like that.
-We're going to make it.
-..confident with the techniques to be begin with.
I've seen sheep pooh - this is an alternative map.
Use sheep pooh to confirm your direction.
'To succeed, we have to remember all that training
'and at the moment, I'm struggling. Stephen and Sue seem to have got it, though.'
Sheep pooh will dry on the south but the north face of the dung will remain moist.
You're scaring me now, you're scaring me.
-We might be on Bodmin Moor for months!
-I'll bring my beast outfit.
-Are we crossing into Cornwall right now?
This is the transitionary point. Life gets better from this point.
-What is it about Cornwall? What's Cornwall got?
-I don't know.
I just love it. It makes me feel happy, just being in the county.
Cornwall holds a special place in my heart.
And it's been a whirlwind romance.
I came here on holiday five years ago
and six months later, I moved down permanently.
I'm hoping this trip will show me
a side to my new home I haven't seen before and help explain Cornwall's irresistible pull.
I just sort of can feel all the stress melting away as I cross the Tamar
and I'm properly myself, I think.
You know, there's not so much of that,
which I'm sure will be a real relief for them.
-Because Cornwall is like that, isn't it?
-It's like a claw, yeah.
-An open mouth.
-That's all I know about it.
-That's very good!
So if we get lost, you can use my arm as a guide.
One of his special skills.
He can shape his limbs to the contour of any county. Do Sussex.
-Yeah, very good. He's brilliant.
Apart from knowing its shape, I am a total stranger to Cornwall,
but I'm really looking forward to getting out of the city
'and putting what I've learned to the test
'in what I'm told is one of the UK's most beautiful areas.'
It's one thing standing with our hunky natural navigator
telling us, you know, what to do, but when we're unleashed, alone into Cornwall...
It's a different story.
We've never actually put it into practice.
I'm apprehensive, certainly about the navigation!
I love nature and I love being outdoors.
'I've been on stage in London for months, so for me
'this is a real treat.
'I've actually been to Cornwall before, when I was 17
'and I can't wait to get back there.'
I'm the only one that's been given a stick,
cos I'm a pensioner.
I know why you got the stick, that stick is to beat us
when we get out of line. You specifically requested that.
If Sue is going to come on the trip, can I have a stick just to give her some boundaries?
-Here we go.
-This is it.
-The first bit's done, getting off the train.
That is heavy - what have you got in there?
She's got a sundial - she's taking it very literally.
She's got a stone sundial.
Our first leg has been designed for beginners.
That's definitely us.
It starts on the edge of Bodmin Moor and we've got to find our way
to the Cheesewring two miles towards the centre.
Two miles might not sound much,
but Bodmin is a massive piece of moorland with hardly any features.
The beast of Bodmin has lived here for years without anyone clearly seeing it.
There's open country for nine miles ahead of us.
If we get this wrong, we'll be here for days.
Tristan has chosen the moor since it has plenty of windswept trees and animals,
both of which will be helping us find our way.
I can't wait to ask that sheep which way is north
and why its lamb looks like Stephen.
-OK. Here we are.
-What's the first...
The first thing is to look for a solitary hawthorn tree.
Although all I can see now is a collection of horses' backsides,
which may or may not be significant.
-What's this one?
-That is hawthorn, I think, but is it solitary?
-I think that is hawthorn.
Which direction are we supposed to be going in?
God, already we haven't even walked five paces and we're lost!
-North, we've got to head north.
That's a solitary hawthorn.
That's very solitary, that is sort of almost in partnership.
It is about 11.30am, sun south-eastish,
I mean, north should be kind of that way, shouldn't it?
-So, so is there a solitary hawthorn in that direction?
-Every time she turns, it's like a Laurel and Hardy routine.
-I get a whack.
-It's this stick.
-It's the stick, every time you turn around.
-Why have I got this stick?
-Did you ask for it?
That's a solitary hawthorn, but...
-Not strictly north from here, but... It is northish.
-I think you go north. Hold on.
Look for the solitary hawthorn tree
-and use it to head north.
-The tree to head north?
When you're looking for wind clues in trees,
you're looking at the most exposed parts, the extremities,
in particular, the very tops.
And can you see how nearly all of these trees we can see here,
the tops have been just ever so slightly combed over
from right to left.
If you see this wind effect all you need to do is turn
so you're facing in the direction it looks like the wind has come from
and you will be facing close to southwest.
'Now we have to apply that principle to the trees on Bodmin.
'Problem is, not all trees show the effect.
'I'm quietly confident that we'll be OK for this beginner's walk
'whilst the girls clearly expect to spend the night.'
-What have you guys got in your...? You've got?
-All right, good.
-What have you got in yours?
-I haven't brought one.
-You are so rugged.
-It looks like you guys are carrying all my stuff for me!
You see, this tree is not very helpful.
So that's south...
But it can't be south because the sun is there.
It's too early to see, yes.
-The sun is there, south has got to be that way.
-Well, it's quarter past 11.
The sun will be roughly southeast.
I'm just sort of spinning like this.
-God, do you think there's a hotel near here?
-I don't know.
-I'm tired already! Can we eat something?!
Surely it's time to have a sit down and a rest?
But the problem is, is it says, "then the next thing is pass through the first stone circle."
Yes, that is north. The sun is telling us that is north.
But I don't know how this tree is telling us.
'What we're looking for are exposed trees.
'Because that's what's Tristan has taught us to read.'
'But this tree doesn't seem to have a clear comb over,
'none of us can see anything. Oh, dear.'
I was stuck on which way south, east, north and west are,
don't leave me behind whatever you do.
-I'll have to eat wild pony.
-Just follow the rooks.
'Luckily we have the sun, so we use it to vaguely head in the right direction, we hope.
'Then over the next ridge we see some trees that look a little more helpful.'
That's pretty compelling, isn't it?
'Other than the sun, this is the first natural signpost
'we've been able to read.'
-Like Donald Trump's hair?
-So, they're all looking that way?
-So it's a southwesterly wind.
In fact the one at the top, which probably gets the most wind,
-is the most...
'At last, something works. We're not so stupid after all.
'We can now figure out how to head north.'
Wait for granny.
You two are like mountain goats.
-Wait for granny!
-Do you want a piggy back?
SHE LAUGHS This is where I need my stick. It's the weight.
-Right, get the stick out.
-I need my stick.
-Do you want the stick out?
Do you want me to carry the bag?
The stick is just for getting her to go faster.
That is incredible.
The trees just get better and better.
Trumpier and Trumpier. Real comb overs.
The force of the wind has bent that hawthorn into that shape permanently.
It is very beautiful. Well it would take an idiot like me
to say that north is over there, so come on, let's go.
I'm still not sure we've got it right, but this is the stone circle mentioned in the guide.
And we think we're on the right track.
There are no marked paths on Bodmin and no clear way
to get to this Cheesewring thing we're meant to find.
The guide tells us to head northwest.
We need something that shows us that direction.
'Bodmin is communal grazing.
'There's all sorts of animals everywhere.
'Suddenly, I spot the beast of Bodmin. Well, sort of.'
Oh, my God, have you seen that bull over there? The horns on it?
'Perhaps he can give us a clue.' I hope it doesn't... No.
Stay away from the massive bull and horns.
-A cocktail skewer.
Anything that gives us a clue to what the sun's been doing during the day, where it's been,
its arc, it can help us find direction. I do mean anything.
There is a clue down here which gives the game away.
-OK, we're dung-watching now.
-Yeah, you've spotted it.
There is here, a little bit of dung.
if you see a difference between two sides, look for...
There's a north side and south side of dung?!
There so is! Look!
You've got a lovely dry side here,
but on the north side where the sun hasn't reached yet,
it is glistening and moist!
And so there's our dung compass.
Do you need a lie down?
I need a lie down. I certainly need to get downwind. Is there any way we could have done this
with the wind, basically, behind us?
So, pooh it is, then. We've just got to find one.
I quite feel like wrestling a sheep to the ground and making it...
-I think the act of you wrestling it ground will make it pooh.
The sheer fear of being attacked by one even hairier than itself.
I'd probably pooh, so we would have twice as much.
-Then I would have to sit around waiting for your pooh to dry.
Can we change the conversation, now, please? How about this? Any good?
It's got a mixture of new and old.
-Something borrowed, something new.
-This bit here is dry on that side
with moisture on that side,
but it is not conclusive, is it?
Yeah. How about this lot?
'Finding quality pooh is harder than you think.'
Oh, there's an excellent pooh! I haven't said that for at least five minutes.
Yes, that is very good, look at the dry bits there.
-Nice and moist up north.
That's a really good, that's a remarkable piece of pooh
and there's more here. Look at this one.
-That is precision pooh.
-That is textbook pooh.
That is saying that north, that is finessing
-what we feel to be north.
-That's a pooh you could, a man could live by.
Yeah. I might keep that
as a sort of pocket pooh compass.
I feel we ought to thank the pooh.
I don't even want to know the way in which you wish to thank the pooh.
'We use the dung to head northwest.
'I'll gladly leave that kind of clue to the others.
'Ahead there are a few more wind-blown trees
'to point us northeast and to our destination.'
Oh, look at that. That is quite something.
'At the top of the hill we've made it.
'Our first successful navigation using nature alone.
'It only took us three hours more than it should have done.
'A natural formation of rocks caused by the weathering of granite, and a symbol of Cornwall.'
-That is good.
That's a view.
That's Cornwall. You can see for miles.
There aren't many places where you can just stand and see...
-360 degrees right round. Amazing.
The Cornish would see that back there as England.
I was once on a train from Penzance and they said
"We're running late because there is a problem up in England."
Honestly, I was a bit panicked. I didn't sleep very well last night
because I was actually thinking, Oh, my God, you know, now we're going to really be put to the test.
And I'm pleasantly surprised by...
I did sort of remember the stuff about the trees, the pooh
and so I'm quite chuffed with myself.
I'm up for cloudy days, now. The sun's gone in.
I'm up for cloudy days and a harder challenge.
'So, we've cracked the first leg of the journey without too much trauma, but then again, Tristan's told us
'we'll be eased in gently.
'I'm nervous things are going to get tougher.
'Those wind-blown trees were easy to read in the end,
'but not everything is that simple.'
After a night in a hotel in nearby Falmouth, the second leg begins at St Michael Penkevil.
We have an appointment at midday
with Lord Falmouth's son, Mr Boscawen
in the middle of the Tregothnan estate
where he's promising a sample the local brew.
So Stephen is keen to get going.
He's a busy man and so we must not be late.
The private gardens are spectacular, but the whole place is a maze of paths, walkways, hedges and mazes.
Visitors get lost even when they HAVE a map.
We just have nature and my appalling sense of direction.
Stephen hasn't even remembered his guide book or his backpack.
'In this section Tristan promises that God will be guiding us. It's a first for me.'
What's the brief? I haven't got my book.
So, the book, "Using the alignment of the church, get your bearings."
Nearly all religious buildings have some relationship with direction.
Churches, Christian churches will typically be aligned west to east
with the alter at the eastern end, pointing towards the Holy Land.
Almost all religious buildings have this tendency
towards the Middle East, for obvious reasons.
Unless this is a spooky sort of church of the anti-Christ, it is going to be east-west.
-That's east, that's west. So that's, we're looking north. Right?
OK, sure. Right so, what are we doing next?
Right, through the gate south.
So, following south from the church, we have to find
the entrance of the estate.
It does say "Private - no public access".
We're about to indulge in some natural trespassing.
Yes, but here it says that we have special permission for us to cross the estate.
-I made a deal.
-The gate must be shut.
-What's happened to you?
I'm being a bit bossy today! Come on!
-You're The Country Code in action!
-I am! Let's go.
-You're all going to be bouncy.
-I've never walked like this in my life. I'm doing a Steadman.
I don't like to keep people waiting.
So these two need to get a move on.
This is a good-looking estate.
-Don't you think?
-You've got your eye on it?
-I could live here.
I feel I'd be like Toad of Toad Hall. I'd have to get the car.
-You've got the cravats, though. I've seen them.
-I've got the cravats.
Our guide books tell us to head south until we reach a field
and can go no further, then turn to the southwest,
but with no shadows from the sun, we immediately get confused.
-So then we go southwest.
-We were heading east.
-So east is...
-So west is there.
-So south is west.
-'Pathetic, isn't it?'
Oh, no. I'm just doing this, isn't helping.
I mean, we have slightly curved,
so we're probably heading more southeast.
-Yeah. It's got to be down here.
-It's that way.
I like the look of the yellow fields.
-Do we have anything to verify this manoeuvre?
-What about the wind?
I can feel the wind.
I think this must be the southwesterly path.
-Because of the wind.
-We were heading easterly. So that's east.
Ish. We did curve a bit. So maybe east is over there.
'Without the sun, we all lose confidence in which way to go.'
Keep going until you can't go further. We have reached... I can't go further.
-Keep going east until you can't go further.
-Then take the southwesterly path.
-There's a clue in the distance that will help.
-There's a clue in the distance?
Distance that will help?
One of the biggest challenges you'll face is that of scale.
The clues you need to find your way might be six inches from you.
They might be under your nose.
There might be a lichen, trying to shout direction but you don't spot it.
Or they might be miles and miles away, as in a coastline.
There is a clue that I would like to show you that is between the near and the far.
If we look in the middle distance, can you see, there is
an edge of woodland and then a green field just to the left of it.
If we look at the colours in the field, can you see it's not an even colour all the way across?
And closest to the wood, the green richens, doesn't it?
It becomes a slightly deeper, richer green.
What's happening there is the southern sun
is struggling to get over the woodland, so there's a part of that field that's not
getting as much sunlight.
What can you see? I can see fields.
I can see a house, just the top of the house.
This is basically like a semi-advanced version of "I Spy".
Oh! No. I can see a tree.
I can see a... I don't know. Oh, ...
-Oh, look. There is a ring. There is a ring of...
-It's by the tree.
-The fallow bit where they don't grow stuff.
-So that's south.
So that's on the southerly side. Yeah.
-So that is south.
That is south.
-So that's southwesterly.
-So that's west.
-We did it.
-So I was completely and utterly wrong. Basically...
-I'm the man with the ladder.
You're now infertile from the way you basically straddled that gate post.
Hey, we did it!
'This is really tough.
'I got that direction completely wrong.
'I thought I was getting all of this and now I seem to be back to square one.
'Thank God for Stephen and Sue.'
-They've raised the pensionable age. You're not a pensioner yet.
-I'm 65 next month.
That's next month, you're not a pensioner.
'I think I got that last clue right,
'but we're meant to be looking for black gates, and there are none.
'It looks like Mr Boscawen will be kept waiting and do we fail this walk,
'if he gives up and goes home, and do I still get a sample of the local brew?'
Turn west - OK.
At the black gates, take the route to the southwest.
Black gates. Surely these the black gates.
'We eventually reach the black gates
'and can enter into the central gardens.'
-I have now dislocated my arm.
-Are you all right?
The good thing is we know this is westerly, this break is westerly.
'But from here, it is about to get trickier.
'Our guide warns us we are about to enter the maze of paths
'and avenues in the garden.'
-Hang on, so turn east. We are going the wrong way, we need to go this way.
-Oh, turn east.
-We need to turn right.
-See, I'm just following you.
-I'm following you.
-Don't make me lead. We're lost.
-You are supposed to be leading. It's Cornwall.
Why hasn't Stephen got a rucksack?
Look, there's a car here.
Now, hang on.
'Mr Boscawen must be around here somewhere.
'He can't be hard to spot, can he?'
-I guess we just head down here.
-I think we just keep going. Keep going? Look at that...
-Are you serious about this?
-Maybe if we go through.
-Ah-ha. Mr Boscawen.
-We've found you, I'm Stephen.
-Welcome here this morning. Morning.
Nice to see you. Like what you have done the place.
-Very nice to see you, can we get you a cup of tea?
You've come to the home of English tea.
Hooray, I would love a cup of tea.
'Not quite the brew I was hoping for,
'but after a lovely cup of tea, we split up to explore.'
'Being keen on nature, I'm meeting head gardener Neil Bennett to see plants that can show direction.'
So I just want to show you this, really.
This is a banana plant, a Musa basjoo, they call it in Latin.
What I wanted to show you about this is that the leaves grow east to west.
-This is called a Leptospermum myrtifolium 'Silver Sheen'
Now the interesting thing about this plant, is it always flowers on the west side.
So as you can see, we are on the west side now and it's in flower nicely.
Gosh. It just gets more interesting. By the minute.
Because you know, in life we just go around saying, "Isn't that pretty?" "Look at that tree."
Suddenly, it is making me think about every single thing that I see.
-Thinking it is all so complicated and worked out.
'You just start to take in the environment you're in,
'in a different way.'
And I've also learned that as a city boy, I've nothing to fear from the country.
Don't speak too soon, because there are strange goings-on
down the road at the village of St Buryan.
I want to show the others another side of Cornwall.
So we are visiting some white witches, as you do.
I tell you what, they are quite jolly witches.
-A little bit of morris... Gothic morris dancing!
-Oh, my God!
-They look a little bit like...
-Oh, dear. A whole gaggle there.
'Paganism is alive and well across this part of Cornwall.'
The horse mounting block, is that here?
Right in the middle of the dance now.
-It's quite Alice Cooper, isn't it?
-It is. Kiss thrown in there as well.
Oh, that was intense.
It's like morris dancing, isn't it?
It is, it's satanic morris dancing.
-Are we supposed to clap?
The Pan's People of the Dark Arts, everyone.
-That was very, very intense.
Please, don't hurt me. Look at those teeth!
'Nowadays these witches call themselves wise women.
'It's that wise side I'm hoping to tap into.
'Two of them, Cassandra and Letitia, take me to the nearby stone circle of Boscawen.
'They claim they can tell me why I love Cornwall.
'And I tell them my story.'
I was born in London, a very busy part of London.
I moved to north London. A lot of work.
Stress and hustle and bustle, all of that sort of thing.
Then I was quite ill and hospitalised.
The night I was hospitalised, some smackheads broke into my flat
and terrorised my partner - it was just a conflation of really terrible, awful, miserable things.
I decided to take us on holiday.
We hadn't been on holiday for quite a while because of work and I came to Zennor.
I was there for four days
and I wept like a baby when I had to leave, and this is not my style.
It wasn't upset tears, it was sentimental. I didn't want to go, I felt a real connection.
I felt very moved by it
and about six months later, I came to live here.
And I don't know why.
I can't... Because, I mean, I'm a spontaneous, slightly irrational person,
but that notwithstanding, there was something very special about what drew me here.
You may have noticed when you're down here,
-that things are much, much slower.
In fact, there's a lot of obstacles down here that force you to go slower.
I spent four hours in a Post Office once. I know what you mean.
Time shifts things. And we live life at such a rapidy pace upcountry.
-Up in England?
-Yeah, in foreign parts.
Let's not speak of that!
You miss the plot so many times going from A to B to C to...
And you don't find time to smell the roses
or even know what the journey is about.
It make as lot of sense. Slowing down to take things in.
Perhaps that's why I'm enjoying the natural navigation.
If you try and rush it, you miss the clues.
Take your time and look around. And the right direction to head in becomes clear
on a walk or in life in general, I guess.
God, there is only one thing can make me more mellow,
that's right, a flute melody.
Next morning we head to Paul on the Penwith peninsula.
We're starting our next leg from here,
but first I want to show the others a Cornish icon.
"Here lieth interred, Dorothy Pentreath who died in 1777.
"Said to have been the last person who conversed in the ancient Cornish
"- the peculiar language of this county from the earliest records
"till it expired in the 18th century in this parish of Saint Paul."
We would have recorded her last words, but we didn't have a clue what she meant.
But in the pub next door, is Dick Kendal.
He's trying to revive the language.
I think learning the lingo could Possibly make me feel more Cornish
and help us find our way.
That sounds like me when I'm drunk! That's the sort of conversation I'll have after five or, ten pints!
I'll teach it to you.
Are there any words that would be useful for us to know as navigators?
I'm presuming that some words mean tree, hill, river?
OK. You've got the Cornish mountains here.
So you've got great piles of rock sticking up. That's a carn. C-A-R-N.
-Pasty happens to be coffin.
-Coffin? That's ominous.
-But, you see, it's is same thing as a coffin.
-Lots of dead things in it.
-What is a coffin? It's a box.
-It's sealed with the meat in it.
Wow, it's hungry work. It is making me long for a vegetarian coffin, I have to say.
Having learned a small amount of Cornish,
we're ready to start the third leg of our journey.
We have to find our way to Mousehole, my favourite fishing village.
It is because of places like Mousehole, I decided to give up
British citizenship and become Cornish.
Tristan is sending us down a hidden route probably used by smugglers.
We have to follow the clues really accurately,
except it's very difficult to find.
Well, it is a smugglers' route. They don't make 'em obvious, you know!
On this leg we're using another tree technique.
Even Tristan describes this one as tricky,
so we, frankly, have no chance.
To start, an easy first clue, use the church to head southwest.
-Is this path here?
-I think it has to be.
-Yeah, that's a path.
I'm starting to, you know, second-guess what a path was there.
We know from before that churches are west to east and so are
confident we've gone in the right direction, down the back of the pub.
Got to love those churches.
-Take this path.
"When you reach the field..."
-"Look for signs to help you continue on a southwest track."
-I told you churches were easy.
Through a field and we arrive at a farm.
"Use the shape of the branches of the leylandii tree to head east."
And we've learned how to use branches to give direction.
Green plants, they need the sun, of course.
It's their breakfast, lunch and dinner. Here's a gingko
grown in a greenhouse, because the greenhouse gets rid of all the wind,
and all we are looking at is the sun's effect.
So on the southern side,
the side that's getting most of the light we've got nice, bigger leaves.
It's a heavier side of the plant.
On the side that doesn't get as much light, fewer leaves,
it appears lighter and the leaves are growing more vertically.
This leads to what I call the tick effect,
because if you get down and have a good look at it,
you might be able to see a tick.
It is more vertical on the northern side
and slightly more horizontal on the southern side.
It is very subtle.
The leylandii tree we found, seems to offer some clue to direction.
Much more heavy on this side, isn't it?
-Yes. Is that right?
-The growth is much, much heavier.
-Yes, on this and the south side.
-So if that's south then that is east.
-Looks like you're lost.
-We're trying to work out east.
You can't tell us!
-Don't tell us!
-Don't tell us!
-Right, I think it's this way?
-North's over there.
-No! Keep calm. Don't panic.
-We are doing it by a hive mentality.
Unfortunately, even our three minds aren't equivalent to one normal one.
-That's the leylandii tree.
-So, it's heavier this side.
-Heavier growth should be on the south.
We need to look around the tree. We haven't walked around the tree.
True. We've jumped to a quick conclusion.
Do you think that these people would mind if we went into their driveway.
Tristan did say this was tricky, but a closer look around
the leylandii does reveal a hint of a tick effect on the bottom.
With some branches more vertical and therefore, pointing north.
Is this the most trespassing you've ever experienced?
-Is that why you are caring a knife?
Please don't hurt us. You've got a compass!
-No. No, no, no!
-You've become like a God in our community now immediately.
-We cannot use it. Team!
-Don't look at him.
-Listen to me, team.
-You will not look at that compass.
-I will not look at it, Alison!
-You will leave this place! Follow the sun and the trees. Now go.
There it is. There is south, which means...
I can't help but feel we missed a trick there.
We should have taken the knife off her
and used it to get the compass off him.
You have now lost all ability to understand the basic...
-It's nearly lunch and I'm starting to feel...
-I think it's here.
-Here we go, this is swinging right round.
-This is swinging right round.
-We didn't need your compass.
We have no need of it.
'We use the tree to head what we hope is south,
'and then follow the path around to the east.
'The path is blocked, so I wonder if this is actually the right way.'
-I can't get through that.
-I'll move it.
It's like Miss Tiggy-Winkle causing brambles when I get through there.
I've seen The Six Million Dollar Man.
-I can't move it.
-I'll have a go.
-How embarrassing will this be if I can't get through?
-It's your backpack.
-Oh, I can.
-We could do a play here.
-Slender Brenda, come on.
OK. "Hug the northern perimeter." This.
"Continue east." So we're continuing east.
Now the style.
-God this is just getting so beautiful.
-Wow! Oh, my goodness.
It's amazing. I think there might be a path that goes around there.
-There is a gap in the hedge.
-Shall I go and have a look?
Beautiful, it may be, but suddenly there's no path and no way forward.
I wonder if Sue packed the tent?
It's this one, maybe? That is more easterly, isn't it?
Never has a man looked more alone or confused.
Shall we leave him here? I think we should.
Do you know what, I think it might be too early to call this,
but I think we're lost.
-God, there is supposed to be a cattle trough.
-South is that way.
-We are lost.
-We need to be over there.
Continue to follow this path that we haven't found - "Careful, it is slippery.
-"At the next T junction..."
-It's all right.
-I'm going to sit here and wait for death.
Do you mind if we eat you? I'm starving.
I'm definitely having some water now.
If I light a fire and start cooking you from the back end up.
Just a slice of buttock, and if we get rescued
then at least I'll have lost weight off the ass.
-Do you have good marbling in your meat?
-It is very good,
but don't stress me, because it will adrenalise the meat.
Right, this calls for the Harriet Jones and the cowpat field of doom hat.
That's what you are carrying in those bags. Hats.
-Do you have any...? I need one.
All I have is a Viking helmet, a pith helmet and a turban. That's all I've got left.
-Have you got a Fez?
-No, I've not got, I didn't bring the Fez, to be honest.
I'm going to try opening up another gate,
seeing as brute force and idiocy seems to be my forte.
Is this a bit of a path? Is that a path?
Why am I asking myself, is it a path?
It is either a path or it is not a path.
-This is an act of trespass or genius.
-I'll either be applauded or shot.
-What's the plan?
The plan, I think this is east.
It didn't say open the gate, though, did it?
We can see our goal of Mousehole down below, but no clear way to it.
-And that's west?
-"At the next T junction head south."
We haven't hit a T junction, but that is south.
So should we head south? OK, we're going to head south, shall we?
-What's this? What's this?
-It's a path!
-We spoke too soon. We're idiots.
'Ha-ha, the hidden path!'
The ups and downs of natural navigating.
A minute ago, I was going to tuck into your backside. Now we're in clover. Wow!
That's fantastic. You'll like this.
-It's like a little tunnel.
-Oh, my goodness.
-A little smuggler's tunnel.
-I think coming down backwards is your best bet.
'Like many Cornish ports,
'smuggling was rife in Mousehole over the last couple of centuries.
'Tea, tobacco and brandy all came in
'and today, the vodka in my backpack.'
-This is definitely a T junction.
-'There's some chocolate in Alison's.'
-Is that a T junction?
-Look at that.
-You need to verify that that is a T junction.
-Head south. That's Mousehole.
-That is Mousehole.
Cornwall is remote. It seems like a totally different country to England,
and with a rebellious free spirit -
sounds like a polite version of one of my school reports,
and maybe that's why I'm so drawn to this place.
-"Gone to the pub!"
-I know how they feel!
-'In the middle of the village, the place where, supposedly,
'the last Cornish speaker, Dorothy Pentreath, once lived
'and it's the end of this leg of the journey.'
-It's a dead end.
-I think that's all right.
-What are we looking for?
-At the next east turn is the end of the walk at Dolly Pentreath's house.
-Is she called Dolly?
-Well, they called... Yeah.
-I don't know the woman, but to be honest...
-Here it is!
"Here lived Dolly Pentreath.
"One of the last speakers of the Cornish language as her native tongue. Died December, 1777."
We're here, we've done it, but I think it would be a shame not to carry on and see the sea.
-That was our toughest one so far.
-Coffins all round. Yeah!
What a beautiful setting this is.
-Isn't it? It's perfect.
'I once came here on holiday with three friends when I was 17.
'It was our first trip away from home without our parents
'and a complete thrill.
'I remember a lovely little pub on the harbour.'
Alison, see the Ship Inn over there? I think that's the pub you went into when you were 17.
That's really the only pub on the front here at Mousehole.
I remember we just loved it so much because it was opposite the harbour,
and we were fresh from Liverpool
and here we were in this fantastic place.
In fact, I'm sure at home somewhere I've got a photo
of the four of us standing outside the door of the pub.
A little 17... God!
-So, do you fancy a stroll around town?
-I'm going to have a look in the Ship.
-To see if any memories come flooding back.
-It will for them.
It will for them!
They'll go, "Oh, no she's back, she's back. Brace yourself, lads.
-"She's going to trash the place again."
-"This time she's got a stick."
-"Don't give her the cider."
-"She's a man-eater."
-"Here she comes, she's a man-eater."
-"The other two haven't aged as well, mind you."
-"That tall girl with the curly hair..."
Here's to happy memories.
Whilst Stephen and Alison enjoy the charms - and beers - of Mousehole,
I'm going to go on a special flight.
Special because I'm at the wheel...stick.
Yes, I've never flown a plane before.
-And we're flying!
-Top Gun. Top Gun alert.
'But I'm taking to the air to see if I can naturally navigate at 200 feet.'
OK, so just now roll your hands to the right.
That will just put us into an angle bank.
-Yes. And you feel it just banking over to the...
Once you've made the adjustment you then leave it to do its work?
It now stays there and it will stay like that all day, basically.
Now you need to be able to take us east...
'Instructor Glen Corcoran covers the compass and tells me to find east.'
If we go west by southwest, we then bank right, which would take us north, I think.
So we will have to move...
Pretty much have to go back on ourselves in that direction.
-Right, OK. Give it a go.
-I've got to turn?!
-Yep. So just...
'It's mid-afternoon and the sun is southwest... I guess.'
Not too much. Just enough.
-Shall I tell you when I think that east is coming?
Straighten up when you think east is there.
-I think that's about right.
-You're not going to believe this...
-Oh, it's north?
-You are 10 degrees, which is fantastic.
I've seen professional pilots not able to do that.
That's really good.
'Believe me, I'm as shocked as you are.' There you go.
'Then we fly over a house I recognise.'
There's my niece! There's my niece!
There's my little niece in her pink dress!
The flight has shown me that I'm really getting to grips with natural navigation.
And now I've seen Cornwall from the air, I love it even more.
It is SO beautiful.
The next day after a successful handbrake turn in the plane,
I'm really gee'd up for our last leg of our journey across Cornwall.
We're starting in the village of St Just, the farthest west we've been
and we've got to get to our final destination, Cape Cornwall.
On this leg, we have to master the most difficult clue yet - lichens.
Tricky little fellas. They are the dark art of natural navigation.
They change wherever you go
and you have to learn their local likes and dislikes.
-We've got to take up the most westerly route.
-The sun is...?
If it rises in the northeast, by now...
-So this is almost an east-west road, isn't it?
-That's northeast as the sun is there.
-It rises in the northeast, but now it's due east.
It's coming round.
I'd say it rises in the north, it's going east.
-If that's east, then that's north.
-You're right. I'm such a doofus.
-Rises in the northeast in the middle of the summer.
-You know what? It's... You could...
Why is it I get the really complex stuff like, that leaf seems to be photosynthesising, but why...?
-The talking goat has thrown you.
-So does that mean west is over there?
-West is that way.
I need to start again cos I'm an idiot.
'There are two paths and both look like they could be west.
'We've got to be really accurate with our direction.'
So it'll be just south of east.
-So this is east-west, but I got north-south wrong.
-The road is east west.
'Or our or first step will be a wrong one
'and we'd be lost straightaway.'
Is that the tree that has been wind blown?
It looks like it has been south-westerly'd to the max.
There is a lot of comb over at the top. So, yes.
'The sun and the wind are inconclusive,
'but behind us is the cricket pavilion.
'We've been taught that buildings can sometimes offer us obvious clues.
'In this case, the clubhouse is giving us
'an unmissable sign for our direction.'
Once we're comfortable with the sun's arc, once we understand
it's spending so much time in the southern part of the sky,
everything we see that has a relationship with the sun,
everything that needs its light or heat
will give us a clue to direction.
Up here we have a sundial. Sundials of course work by casting a shadow.
You'll notice it's got something pointing out to cast that shadow.
So anything that has a relationship with the sun, anything that needs
its light or heat, more often or not it will point the way south for you.
-There are some solar panels facing south!
We've got to head west.
I think we should go along this path here.
Is it the most westerly point?
Yeah, this is west. This is it. Cos that...
Yes, that's east, you're right. That is west. Good.
I'm fine on east and west, just don't ask me to do north and south.
-That road swings around, anyway.
-Let's give it a go.
'Having chosen a path, we confidently set off
'and immediately think it's wrong.'
The road is west.
The road is kind of west, but the road does suddenly veer north.
'We're meant to find a farm, but there are lots
'and we're totally confused.'
Southwest is over there. Is it?
Southwest is here.
That's what I got confused by. Southwest is here, due west is there.
-That looks suspiciously like we've taken the wrong path.
-I don't know, actually.
-West by southwest.
-I think it is right.
-I'm totally muddled now.
Completely and totally...muddled.
-I want to sit here and have a couple of coffins...
-We've only come 100 yards and we're lost!
One foot in front of the other and I don't even know where the sun is.
We've come 100 yards, it's taken us half an hour and we're lost.
And even then, we've needed a book to do it.
Now, come on, team! Let's keep calm. Keep calm.
-I think it's this way.
-Let's go. Shall we do it?
-What's the worst that can happen?
-We all die a horrible death!
Yeah, I fall down a mine and shatter my pelvis.
'We see a farm ahead of us and we go for it.'
-We should see the chimney somewhere.
-There we go, there's a path.
"Look around and study the lichens."
Lichen is a symbiotic organism.
It's actually two organisms living together
in a partnership. It's a fungi and an algae that have teamed up.
They're sensitive to the surface that they grow on, the minerals that are in that surface.
They are also sensitive to their environment, to the amount of sun light they get,
the amount of water. So we can use to navigate naturally by looking for differences.
Because as we know, you get more sun on the southern side
so we can start to looking for patterns. Here on the northern side of this wall,
we've got the greys and the greens, but if we move around to the southern side,
what you'll notice is suddenly,
It bursts into this bright orange.
It won't always give you a perfect south,
but if you see a bright orange lichen, start to suspect
that this is a wall or the bark of a tree that's getting a lot of sunlight.
The real challenge with lichens is that there are 15,000
-different known lichens.
All you need to do is spot patterns
so you need to get to know the lichens in each area.
As you travel to a new place,
start to notice the lichens on the stone
and on the trees, and very quickly,
you'll start to spot the patterns.
Mmm. I'm liking...lichens.
"Look around and study the lichens,
"particularly the concrete-like lichen...
-"and the pale hairy one."
-They could be talking about me!
They might be talking about Steve or the lichen!
There's the pale hairy one.
-Pale hairy one here.
-Loads of it.
-Is that right?
-If that's west...
-Of course, yes.
-There's loads of white on the other side.
-I think possibly more.
-There are more on the other side?
-It prefers south-facing.
-Yeah, this is almost completely white.
-Have you got any green action over there?
-Let me look for something green and hairy. Hang on.
-Much more white
-on this side. You can see right along.
-'So, the white lichen definitely likes facing the sun,
'but the green and hairy likes the shade so it's on the northerly wall.
'And we need to go north.'
-That's green and hairy.
-And this way.
-So we go this way.
'We follow the path until we reach the road by the entrance of a golf club.'
"Use the gates of the golf club...
"for directional clues."
-'The gate posts are covered in lichens.'
-Oh, look here.
-Got green and hairy?
-Green and hairy!
Sorry! 'Yes, that became our mantra - green and hairy -
and we followed it all the way north.' It's very exciting.
OK, I forgive the lichens now. They're starting to work.
-I like it.
-So which way do we have to go?
We know that that's north. This side.
"And continue on a northerly path."
-So we continue there.
-So down there.
-I'm liking lichen now.
-There's 20 seconds instead of...
'We've come the right way since we can see our final destination -
the peninsula of Cape Cornwall.
And it's breathtaking.
-What a spot to live in.
Now that's a view.
It really is absolutely...
Just.. Sorry, I've just got really emotional cos...
It's because there's no people here and it's...
Not that that's a good thing, but it's just...
sea, the rocks...
It's just incredible.
It's just to be with nature quietly and just to...
..see everything just happening
in a completely natural way.
so uplifting and moving.
And it's so beautiful. Just wonderful.
The witch yesterday said to me,
"Cornwall either sucks you in or spits you out."
And it's obvious clear which one it's done.
But that's exactly the same, that's why I came because I was so...
I was so coiled, and the moment you allow yourself to release a bit
and just take a bit of it in, it's so deeply profound
I won't even bother putting words to it.
It's really beautiful.
-It's almost too much.
I feel quite privileged to be here, actually.
Our journey from Bodmin to Cape Cornwall using the sun, wind,
lichen and sheep's pooh to guide us, has left me feeling privileged too,
privileged that I can call this wonderful county my home.
I know how everything's worked
geologically, environmentally, on the way here and I never would've done that before,
never would've stopped to notice anything.
This has been about experiencing the journey, it's not about the end goal...
..although the end goal is quite a shock.
On a day like today, in a place like this,
it's really nice not to be listening to an automated voice from a GPS,
or trying to fold up a map
and work out where you are.
It's quite nice just to be out here.
Everything's so convenient now with cars and planes and sat nav
and all the rest of it. It's just been a wonderful experience
to realise that every single thing in nature means something
and is a sign for us, and if we can only appreciate that,
it makes life all the richer.
It's important that everyone on Earth should have somewhere where they feel safe...
..and expansive and free,
and most fully capable of realising who they are,
and this place is for me here.
'Coming up next week, I'll be taking Sue and Alison'
'to a place I hold dear...' This is the spot that I asked my wife Louise to marry me.
'..County Mayo on the west coast of Ireland.'
I imagine my grandmother trying to bring up a young family in this tiny room.
'It's spectacular, beautiful...'
It's pretty epic, isn't it?
'..and unfortunately, extremely challenging
'for your novice natural navigator.'
I think that's a T-Wreck. It's well embedded.
Subtitles by Red Bee Media Ltd
E-mail [email protected]
Stephen Mangan, Sue Perkins and Alison Steadman ditch their maps and compasses and attempt to travel the UK using nature as their only guide.The sun, the trees and even sheep droppings are their new sat nav, all providing clues to point them in the right direction. Each episode is led by one of the trio as they travel to a place of special significance to them.
Sue Perkins takes charge in Cornwall and leads Stephen Mangan and Alison Steadman from Bodmin Moor to Cape Cornwall. But as amateur navigators they soon discover that one wrong turn could mean disaster. Along the way, Sue takes to the skies and consults some wise women as to why her life has led her to Cornwall.