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The Isle of Man - it might be tiny,
but the Manx mainland packs in a lot of landscape.
Rolling green hills in the north, rocky coastline in the south,
and a scattering of unspoilt sandy beaches.
It's the British Isles in miniature.
At this time of year, the waters around here
welcome and elusive visitor, the basking shark.
I'm hoping to catch a glimpse of this mysterious fish,
but I'm told I need three things -
patience, a keen eye and a little bit of help from mother nature.
Wish me luck.
While Julia is all at sea, I'm on dry land, reliving my youth.
In the early 1960s, I used to get my motorbike, one just like this,
and ride around the Isle of Man TT course.
And now, 50 years on, I'm going to be taking a trip down memory lane.
Tom is across the Irish Sea in Scotland.
Birds of prey, magnificent for some, a bit of a menace for others.
How much damage can these creatures really be doing
to our wildlife and to our economy?
I'll be finding out.
And on his farm, Adam is training the movie stars of his future.
These are a couple of my white parks
and I've been asked to train them to be oxen,
which means they have to wear a yoke and then pull a cart,
which might sound easy, but that is quite a challenge.
These are lively beasts and they are very strong.
Ooh, steady. Ow, stood on my foot. There we go.
33 miles long and 13 miles wide, the Isle of Man may be small,
but it crams in an awful lot of scenery -
mountain and moorland, all framed by spectacular coastline.
It sits at the heart of the British Isles
in the middle of the Irish Sea.
The Isle of Man may be within touching distance of Britain,
but it is not part of the United Kingdom.
It's a Crown dependency, which means it answers to the Queen,
but it has its own government and it isn't in the EU.
While Julia is out at sea, I'm keeping my feet dry, exploring
the landscape around the famous race they call the Tourist Trophy,
better known as the TT.
But this isn't my first trip here.
I was in my late teens when I first came here to watch the TT races,
I came on my bike and this was it.
My BSA Bantam 125, not very fast, but I was tremendously proud of it.
That's my sister sitting on the back there.
She didn't come with me, I came with a pal who had a much bigger bike
and he had to keep stopping so I could catch up.
'And for old times' sake, I want to get back on one.'
I never thought I would see one of these again.
It is your lucky day, John.
'There is no shortage of bikes on the island
'and vintage bike collector, Tony East,
'has brought along a couple of classic Bantams from 1949 and 1953.'
I don't think today's generation realise just how important
Bantam bikes were to the likes of you and me.
No, they were absolutely vital. Everybody used to go to work on them.
-That is all you could afford.
And they were all this green colour.
-Everybody wanted a bantam. There is me on mine.
That looks absolutely fantastic.
-Did you have one?
-Yes, I had one.
Did you come to the Isle of Man to watch the races?
Yes, I used to come in the '60s.
I would go round the circuit on non-race days, of course,
like everybody does.
The Bantam was a bit slow going up the mountain.
There were some dodgy bits, weren't there? Remember that bridge?
That bridge, over 30 miles an hour, particularly on these things,
and you'd leave the ground.
Years ago, they used to station a police sergeant there
with his white helmet and his stick, and if you went over too fast,
whack on your backside, just to teach you a lesson.
There were some pretty flash bikes around.
Not just the ones competing, but the spectators bringing theirs as well.
They looked down their noses a bit at us Bantam riders.
Oh, yes, us Bantam riders, yes!
They'd forgotten that they'd probably owned them in the past.
I think they stopped being made in the early '60s.
The noise of the engine is something I will always remember.
-Any chance of going for a spin?
-Of course there is.
Well, it's 50 years since I last rode a BSA Bantam,
but they do say you never forget how to ride a bike.
Let's hope they're right.
This is fantastic!
Oh, the years are rolling back!
This is an instant transport to the days of my youth.
The freedom that the Bantam gave us all in those days.
We must be doing about 30 miles an hour now.
This is the life, isn't it?
This is really moving, as far as the Bantam is concerned.
Riding like the wind!
Bending it over a little bit, I haven't done that for a while.
I'd forgotten just what fun it is.
What great fun.
'And I'm not the only one who thinks so.
'For the last 105 years, these quiet island plains have been overrun by
'leather-clad bikers, ready to take on the challenge of the TT course.
'Not for nothing has it been called
'one of the greatest motorcycle sporting events in the world.
'What I'd love to do is re-ride the 37-and-three-quarter mile course
'like I used to, all those years ago.'
But I've only ever been round it on the dear old Bantam,
so maybe this time something a little bit more powerful.
Something like this - a super trike.
Now I can let somebody who really knows the course
do the driving and I can sit back and enjoy.
As a passenger for once,
I get to admire the views, and what views they are...
whatever the weather.
The course snakes through
picturesque villages and stunning countryside,
and up towards the summit of the island's only mountain, Snaefell.
It's bends like this, known as the hairpin,
that challenge the most experienced of riders.
Well, exhilarating, Andy, thank you very much indeed.
My pleasure, my pleasure.
It really makes you realise just how demanding this course is.
It is 37-and-three-quarter miles long
and it's very much man and machine against the course.
It seems to me to be much faster than it was in my day.
There are certain things being done to the course all the time
that improve the speed and improve
the safety of the course as well, which is the most important thing.
What's the top speed these days?
They're doing over 200 miles an hour in certain places.
Around here is roughly the fastest part of the course.
Well, onwards, Andy, onwards.
There's no doubt that on race days these twisting roads
make for an intoxicating mix of thrills, danger and beauty -
a combination that's unique to this island.
We are just about at the highest point of the TT course now,
Snaefell, the island's only mountain is just behind us there.
Later, I'll be heading on foot into these uplands.
But first, Tom is just across the sea in Scotland
discovering why birds of prey are getting such a bad press.
Beautiful, powerful, formidable,
one of nature's most impressive killing machines -
the common buzzard.
Common by name and now common by nature.
These amazing birds of prey have now become
the most widespread in the United Kingdom.
But that hasn't always been the case.
Persecution, pesticides, habitat changes
and even egg collectors have taken their toll on numbers in the past.
Just 50 years ago, buzzards had become a rare sight
in our countryside and in some areas they had been completely wiped out.
Yet today, they're one of the great British wildlife success stories.
They're an extremely adaptable bird
and nowadays we see an awful lot of common buzzards
by the side of roads where they are scavenging on roadkill,
which is very easy food for them.
They've adapted to a lot of changes in the countryside very well.
So although we look at all these noble features, the beak
and the talons, actually they're happy to scavenge
and get what is going as well as actually hunt.
That's right, many of them act like glorified vultures nowadays.
It's their adaptability that has bolstered their success.
In just 15 years, buzzards have more than doubled in number,
a spectacular comeback.
Woodland like this makes perfect buzzard habitat.
In fact, some people reckon that at the height of the breeding season
there are now close to half a million buzzards in the UK.
That's not something that everyone is happy about.
'The impact of birds of prey on game birds is one of
'the most contentious issues in British conservation.
'For gamekeepers, like Alex Hogg,
'buzzards have become public enemy number one.'
We're heading up here, Tom, I'll take you up and show you.
'In a couple of weeks, Alex will release 700 young pheasants,
'also known as poults, into his pens.
'For the buzzards, it's like the dinner bell for an easy lunch,
'as he found out last year.'
As I'm letting the young poults, who only six weeks old,
run in to the wood, I've got a buzzard coming through the trees
and I'm shouting, "Leave them alone!"
But in a sense it's not surprising,
you've just unleashed a whole load of free lunch for them.
Of course we have,
but what we've tried to do in the past
is we've buffer fed the buzzards with rabbits,
we've shot rabbits and left them well out the way,
but the buzzards just got so confident
and so used to the Land Rover, that they just followed us round.
I think they found the pen even easier and it made them stronger.
Do you have any idea how many you might be losing to buzzards?
We're probably losing
getting on for over 1,000 pheasants a year to buzzards.
But you are trying to rear pheasants in a natural habitat,
isn't the buzzard pressure just a fact of that natural life?
-Of course it is, but...
-So you should put up with it?
No, no, because my pheasants are livestock, right,
so would a farmer put up with a dog worrying his sheep?
We have the same problem with buzzard predation
on our pheasant poults.
So what do you want to do about it?
What we'd like to do is,
I would love them to either come and take the buzzard away
or allow me to shoot the young buzzards that are killing my pheasant poults.
'This may seem a bit extreme,
'but Alex has tried every other technique to deter the predators.'
'More than three-quarters of gamekeepers
'feel that buzzards are killing large numbers of pheasants,
'harming a shooting industry
'that's worth £1.6 billion a year to the UK economy.
'That's why the government recently tried to launch
'a controversial project to research and possibly control buzzard numbers.
'But after a public outcry,
'the government scrapped the plan for a rethink.
'The RSPB was one of the loudest voices against the plan.
'One of its teams near Dunblane is specially licensed
'to keep an eye on buzzards.'
Some remains of a crow up here as well,
some feathers and some rabbit fur.
'And that's no easy task.'
One good-sized chick.
Still quite downy, though.
Is it surprised to see you?
It hasn't even looked at me yet.
'At this time of year, the chicks are about to fledge,
'so it's an ideal time to ring and weigh one of the new arrivals.'
So this is a perfect size for ringing.
This is the sort of ugly duckling phase before they become...
-I think that is a little harsh actually.
-Yes, come over here, yes.
That's about 620 grams.
When this bird's grown up, will make a meal of a lot of pheasants?
Well, as we can see in this nest,
this bird has been largely feeding on rabbits and crows.
I'm not denying buzzards will kill some pheasants.
The number of game birds they take is pretty low,
on average, about 1 to 2%.
A lot of gamekeepers do worry about buzzards,
could they be doing more without actually killing them?
There are quite a lot of non-lethal things that people could be doing.
A lot of the conflict arises when the young buzzards
are just out of the nests and that is precisely the time when
a lot of gamekeepers are putting their pheasant poults in their pens.
So another thing which a lot of gamekeepers are doing now
is actually releasing their poults a bit later,
because if the poults are bigger they're less successful to buzzards.
The weather is coming in so we really do need to get this chick
back up into the nest.
It's headfirst into here.
Buzzards aren't the only birds of prey which are cooking up
a bit of a storm at the moment.
And we'll be looking at some of the others later in the programme.
Time to get this guy back up the tree.
As an island nation,
the Isle of Man's identity is shaped from the sea.
From its earliest inhabitants who fished its waters,
to the Vikings who sailed in and settled here in the 10th century.
In modern times, sailors have used it as a staging post between Britain and Ireland.
But it's not just humans that are drawn to this island. There's a massive variety of wildlife as well.
Risso's dolphins and grey seals are common sights as are all manner of birdlife.
But I'm going to head out into the Irish Sea to try and catch a glimpse of a more curious creature.
Elusive and endangered, the basking shark is the second largest fish on the planet.
Up to 40 feet long and weighing in at seven tonnes,
they can be longer and heavier than a double-decker bus.
'The sharks move into British coastal waters in April
and their numbers peak here in early July.
'My boat for the day is Happy Jack.'
'Jackie and Graham Hall are my crew and expert guides.'
Hello. Hi, Graham.
-Now, I've never seen a basking shark before. Is today going to be the moment?
-I hope so.
-So do I!
'Jackie is a marine biologist.
'She's been studying basking sharks around the Isle of Man for eight years.
'We're heading to the sea off the south-west corner of the island, a favourite spot for the shark.'
-Why is this such a good area for basking sharks?
-It is all about their food, plankton.
When the currents hit the southern tip of the Isle of Man, they get pushed inshore.
We find the basking sharks where we have things called tidal fronts,
where the plankton is particularly thick.
And where are they coming from and going to?
-If we knew that, we wouldn't have to bother tagging them, would we?
-OK. That's all part of the research?
-It is, yes.
-Is it fair to say they're still quite mysterious?
These are very mysterious, enigmatic mega-beasties, yes.
We've put 17 successful tags on them now, satellite tags these are.
£3,500 each, which is a bit scary for a wildlife trust project working on a small budget.
One of the tagged sharks, a big eight-metre-long female called Tracy, went across the Atlantic,
which was a first for science -
to have a tagged shark go across the Atlantic.
All the rest of them have stayed quite local in the Irish and Celtic Seas.
They're endangered and protected.
How many do you reckon there are left in the world?
Scientists estimate there are between 6,000 and 8,000 breeding females worldwide.
-That is a tiny global population.
-It is minute.
There are some hints that the population might be increasing
because we are getting more middle-sized sharks now than we did even ten years ago,
but the remaining threats are being accidentally caught in fisheries.
There is a report of 14 basking sharks, big ones -
eight metres long - being caught in one trawl net at once.
Accidentally in New Zealand.
What about the basking sharks that are not accidentally caught?
Does it still happen in the world?
The trouble is, all sharks worldwide are being targeted for their fins,
for the shark fin soup industry.
-And the basking shark fit into that category?
-Sadly, it can be.
-What are our chances today?
-Very, very small.
-Why? What's wrong?
-The weather conditions are wrong.
The sharks come to the surface when it has been stable, flat,
hot weather for a while because the plankton comes to the surface.
At the moment, they'll still be here but they'll be feeding deeper.
'Jackie and Graham do all this work voluntarily. It's become a labour of love.'
-How did you get roped into this, Graham? You're not a marine biologist.
-It's why we came here.
Jackie got involved through the sighting scheme she set up
and then it moved from sightings to scientific work like tagging.
We realised we couldn't really charter a boat every time we wanted to do it.
That wasn't flexible enough. So, I decided we needed a boat so we bought this.
-And somebody had to drive the boat!
-Somebody had to drive the boat!
When we were learning to tag, it was kind of rudimentary
and so we had to make our own tagging equipment.
And then the underwater video equipment and so it goes on.
Because I'm a bit of an engineer, I was roped into building things.
For eight years?
Not quite as long as Jackie but I've been putting up with it for eight years!
Local legend says that basking sharks were in such numbers in the 1930s and '40s,
you could walk across the bay on them because there were so many.
Just one would be a welcome sight today.
Graham thinks he might have seen something breaking the water.
If he has, it would be incredibly lucky.
-What did you see, Graham?
-I saw a fin and it looked... it turned below the surface so...
Then I saw the fin go in, like a small shark fin.
It's just ideal under these cliffs.
It's where you get them really.
Well, it looks like that's the closest I'll get to seeing my first basking shark.
Jackie and Graham will be back out tomorrow to continue their work with these fantastic fish.
As for me, I'm heading to the Calf of Man where, hopefully,
I'll have a little more luck with the Isle of Man's marine wildlife.
Meanwhile, John's continuing his three-wheeled journey around the island.
'I'm exploring the scenery along the sinuous roads of the island's famous TT course.
'It's reckoned to be the world's most lethal motorcycle time trial.
'135 riders have been killed in the race's history, which goes back 105 years.'
One of the fastest and most challenging parts of the TT course is here in the mountain section.
But these uplands have a grim reputation which has got nothing to do with the dangers
of high-speed motorcycle racing.
'These peaks still bear the scars from more than 400 aircraft that have crashed here,
'most of them during the two world wars.
'The TT course winds its way between Snaefell and the neighbouring peak of North Barrule
'where I'm heading now in search of one particular plane that came to grief 67 years ago.
'To help me in my quest, I've enlisted local historian, Ivor Ramsden.'
We're getting there.
-Beautiful, isn't it?
-How much further?
just over the corner there. Not far.
It's April 1945. The end of the Second World War in Europe is just two weeks away.
A young American pilot sets off from Essex in his B-17 flying Fortress,
heading to Northern Ireland with 30 US servicemen on board looking for some rest and recuperation.
So, unlike thousands of other bomber flights, this wasn't going to drop bombs.
-This was taking people to have a good time.
These guys were going on R&R for a few days in Northern Ireland.
Most of them had been in the UK probably for as long as a couple of years
and they were mainly the guys who serviced the aircraft, loaded the bombs onto them -
the ground crew.
They never normally went into an aeroplane so it must have been quite an adventure for them.
As the flight was approaching the Isle of Man, what time of day was it?
It was about ten o'clock in the morning.
What were the weather conditions like?
It was fairly cloudy. The cloud was down to about 1,000 feet.
-It's often cloudy, isn't it, on the Isle of Man?
It's known as Manannan's cloak.
The sort of God of Man brings down his cloak of cloud
and, sadly, it's caught quite a few flyers out over the years.
-And the captain, the pilot, was he experienced?
-He was a very experienced pilot, yes.
He had been on 47 bombing missions over enemy territory
so you really couldn't get much more experienced than that in those days.
How come that he didn't know about this hill?
Well, that really remains a mystery.
The aircraft's flight plan took it at 5,000 feet,
just north of the island, but for some reason, it was much lower and much further south.
In the days before GPS, pilots and navigators relied entirely on visual landmarks to confirm their course,
so low cloud could lead to disaster.
It impacted just behind us.
Wreckage spread up the hillside, was scattered over probably 250 metres.
-And everybody died?
-Everybody was killed instantly. Not a chance of survival.
Just to think, everybody on board was looking forward to having a great few days.
They were. In fact, the flight, in a way, was oversubscribed.
They had to run a lottery to select the guys who went on it,
and a tragic way to end your life.
-They turned out to be the unlucky ones.
-The unlucky ones...
These twisted shards of metal are all that still remain.
The men who died here are commemorated today by a simple plaque on this windswept hillside,
a permanent reminder of some of the many lives these misty hills have claimed.
Back on the road, I'm leaving the peaks behind and heading for more fertile ground.
For a small island, it's remarkably self-sufficient.
But to see one of its best success stories, you have to know where to look.
Just a few steps from a notorious bend on the TT course there's this,
one of the most intensively farmed areas on the whole island.
'Cathy Erwin runs the Isle of Man's only mushroom farm.'
The first thing that surprises me is that the mushrooms are growing in the light.
I thought they had to be in the dark.
Not at all. They don't require the dark to grow.
They don't need the light either. It's a fungi. It's not using photosynthesis to grow.
-So that's a fallacy that mushrooms are in the dark.
-No, not at all.
You seem to have lots of different types all growing together.
It's one type of mushroom but you've got different stages of growth.
You start with the button.
Then, in 18 hours, that will double in size.
Then you go to the closed cup.
They start opening, then we leave it to grow
and it will become the large Portabella or breakfast flat in the white mushroom.
-Is there any special technique to picking them?
-It's just a very gentle...
-if you grab any size - and a slight twist and up.
-Twist and up.
-OK? And then we just cut away.
-And you grade them as you go along?
-Yes, as we go along.
Do you like mushrooms?
-And do you export?
-No, we don't.
It's a fresh product and we feel it should stay a fresh product.
-So, everybody on the Isle of Man eats your mushrooms if they like mushrooms?
We'd like to think so.
Well, these will come in pretty useful
because, later on, Julia and I will cook up
a special barbecue where everything comes from the Isle of Man.
Here's what else is on tonight's programme...
Adam's preparing his White Parks for their 15 minutes of fame.
If we can get these trained well, they'll be in a TV drama, which, at the moment, is a secret.
And will the sun have a starring role in the week ahead? We'll have the Countryfile forecast.
Earlier, we heard how the success of the common buzzard is affecting the shooting industry.
But as Tom has been finding out, that is not the only bird of prey, or raptor,
that has been accused of causing problems.
'In the eternal conflict of predator versus prey, there are winners and losers
'and that balance is constantly changing.'
With many raptor species on the increase, who is falling victim to those beaks and talons?
Well, game birds - we saw pheasant earlier - but grouse are frequently targeted.
Then some of our garden birds, like sparrows, are in steep decline,
also songbirds like thrushes...
Some people are blaming birds of prey for this.
'And that's not all. Pigeons are also on the menu.
'The Royal Pigeon Racing Association says it has 230 reports of hawk attacks on pigeons
'since the start of the year.
'From all the way down in Cornwall, right up to here in Scotland.
'William Massey and his son Brian have kept pigeons for racing nearly all their lives,
'but the success of a nearby peregrine nest has had a huge impact on their flock.'
-You've actually had attacks here?
Really? Right here in your backyard?
Flying round here, aye.
-How many have you lost?
-I think I've lost about 11 this year.
-They were only youngsters.
-That's in the last couple of months.
-You've got one that's injured here, is that right?
'At five weeks old, one of their pigeons
'was attacked by a peregrine falcon but had a very lucky escape.'
She'll never lay so I think she's just a pet.
Sometimes they've been in the process of eating them
cos they come back with wounds, but they've managed to escape,
so the mental torture that they go through,
they're never the same again.
"Mental torture" - that's quite a tough phrase.
You obviously feel for them that much,
you think that's what it is.
-They're terrified. They land and they're shaking.
Their eyes don't leave the sky and they're just different birds.
Two weeks' time, three weeks' time, those young peregrines
round about here, like last year,
will be leaving the nest
and there'll not be two hunting them, there'll be five,
and they've no chance.
-I can see it really gets to you, you really care about them?
I don't breed my pigeons to feed them and for that to happen to them,
they deserve better than that.
I spend a lot of time, effort and I love my pigeons
and I don't want to let them out there to get murdered.
The frustrating thing for people like
Brian and William is that the hawk problem is partly man-made.
Birds of prey are not only protected by law, in some cases,
they have actually been reintroduced into the British countryside.
So has this raptor revival been a little too successful?
We spoke to someone yesterday and they painted a picture of saying,
"Look, in the future we are going to have just birds of prey
"and corvids - crows, magpies, seagulls,
"that's the future for our birds."
-Do you think that's a possible scenario?
-I couldn't disagree more.
Go to anywhere on the continent of Europe where you have natural
bird of prey populations.
The simple fact is, we are not used to seeing large
birds of prey in our landscape, because they were removed
and now they are coming back, people see these changes,
they are obvious, the birds, so they see there is a problem
and of course, they try and make a link between raptors and songbirds,
which may not be there, of course.
So you don't think it is unbalanced,
you think we are emerging to a good and healthy equal population?
Yes, we are going back to a more natural situation.
Predation is natural and we need to learn to live with predators.
When it comes to birds of prey,
there are clearly two very different schools of thought.
On the one side, some claim that these feathered hunters
are terrorising the countryside,
killing game birds, pigeons and even our traditional British songbirds.
But then there are those that feel they are not only vulnerable,
but deserving of even greater protection.
So, who's right?
Well, what we need now are some good old-fashioned facts.
Professor Stephen Redpath from the University of Aberdeen
has been in raptor conservation for 30 years.
I think the problem is, for a lot of the systems
we haven't got the independent evidence to assess the impact.
We just don't know.
We don't know really what impact they have on pheasants.
I know some keepers see them as being a major problem
but we haven't got any independent evidence with which to drive
sensible management decisions.
Growing numbers of birds of prey in many ways is
a fantastic wildlife success story in this country.
Some people are worried that the numbers continuing to go up.
Will there be a ceiling and what will that ceiling be?
How will it be reached?
Well, not all birds of prey are increasing.
Buzzard numbers are clearly going up.
But other things like hen harriers declining quite rapidly,
virtually eliminated from England, for example,
so some species are going up, some species are going down.
But what is also interesting about what you are saying is that
it's perhaps not right to give the birds an unqualified welcome.
We have to acknowledge that they are going to have
impacts on bits of our landscape and trades within it?
Yes, conservation is about making choices.
Do we want have lots of predators around
which potentially have an impact, or do we want to have
hunting in the environment, how do we decide where the trade-offs are?
To do that, we need clear evidence one way or another
so we can make sensible, rational decisions based on the evidence.
So when it comes to our raptor population,
there are still many unanswered questions, not least,
which is more important, our economy or wildlife?
I love seeing more birds of prey.
On a blustery day like this, they can be a spectacular sight
and they are evidence of a rare triumph of British ecology.
But then I am not economically dependent on what they like to eat.
It seems to me that both sides need to come down
off their opinionated perches
and work out a solution that is best for the birds.
At this time of year,
the waters around the Isle of Man are teeming with marine wildlife.
As I found out earlier, when I went in search of basking sharks,
some are more elusive than others.
So it is down to luck and a keen eye.
This lot have definitely got their eye in.
Meet the Dolphineers, they're a hardy bunch
from the Manx Wildlife Trust. They keep watch from the shoreline,
armed only with a pair of binoculars, a clipboard and a pen.
-I must say... I do like your office.
-It's a lovely, isn't it?
You've got very good views! What are you spotting?
What are you looking for?
We are mainly on the lookout for dolphins or porpoises or whales.
The most common thing
you would find at this particular site is usually a porpoise.
It must be exciting when you see something going past?
It's amazing. We always get a massive thrill out of it.
And Hayley, what data are you collecting?
We collect lots of things.
We collect what the sea state is like, whether it is rough or clear,
and obviously with all the whales and dolphins, and basking sharks.
So we take how many there are, if they are adults or juveniles,
what behaviour they are displaying,
and then we go back to our office where we do all the data analysis.
The volunteers have identified at least 50 Risso's dolphins
and over 1,000 porpoises in Manx waters. But it is a task that takes
patience, coupled with the right conditions.
-And how long will you sit here for today?
-And when it starts raining?
-We will probably go in.
All right, in which case, I'll stick with it for a while. OK, let's look.
While the dolphins are shy today, the seals are definitely on show.
Most are hauled out on the rocks around the sound,
between the two islands.
Although one is a little more inquisitive.
This would be an ideal location if you wanted to enter
the Countryfile photographic competition.
The theme this year is Walk On The Wild Side.
We want photographs of wildlife, wild landscapes and wild weather.
The best 12 photographs will make it into the Countryfile 2013 calendar
sold in aid of Children In Need.
Here's John with the details of how to enter,
and a look at some of the photos we've been sent so far.
Our competition isn't open to professionals,
and entries must not have won any other competitions
because what we are looking for is original work.
You can end up to four photos which must have been taken in the UK.
Please write your name, address and a daytime and evening phone number
on the back of each photo with a note of where it was taken.
And then all you have to do is send your entries to...
Whoever takes the winning photo,
as voted for by Countryfile viewers, can choose from a range
of the latest photographic equipment to the value of £1,000.
And the person who takes the picture the judges like best,
gets to pick equipment to the value of £500.
The full terms and conditions are on our website, where you will also find
details of the BBC's code of conduct for competitions.
The closing date is July 22nd and I'm sorry,
but we can't return any entries, so, the best of luck.
Now, rare breeds have lived on Adam's farm
since his dad started to introduce them in the '70s.
One of the ways to help them pay their way is to hire them out
as extras on film shoots. And this week,
Adam is preparing two of his favourites for their big moment.
But first, he's got a messy job to sort out.
We are fattening up some of our Gloucester Old Spots in here.
These are ready to go next week.
And then there's a few which will be ready in a couple of months' time.
And you imagine farming to be pretty idyllic but often there are jobs
that are far from glamorous, and mucking out is one of them.
I used to have to do this by hand but now I have got a machine.
This machine is specifically designed for mucking out
and makes easy work of it.
By hand, it would be back-breaking and would take much longer.
A piece of kit like this doesn't come cheap, though.
It cost me a few grand second-hand so I need to put it to good use
if it is going to pay for itself.
It's a bit smelly! I'm very grateful not have to do it by fork.
'The old bedding will be added to our muck heap and eventually,
'used as fertiliser out in the fields.
'Finally, I had some fresh straw
'and it is ready to home one of my animals.'
Just bringing this Iron Age sow into the loose box
where she is going to stay for a few days before she goes to the boar.
I use a pig board to guide a pig.
The idea is they won't run where they can't see and hopefully,
I will steer her round the gate...
..and in she goes.
What a good girl.
I'll give her a bit of a feed as a reward for being such a good girl.
There you go.
Years ago, my dad started providing animals for photo-shoots and films
and dramas, really as a form of diversification
to help pay for his expensive hobby keeping rare breeds, because they
don't really pay for themselves, that is why they are rare.
It worked really well.
We have been in all sorts of films over the years.
A sow like this, an Iron Age,
was in a film called The Hour Of The Pig with Colin Firth.
In the film, Colin played an advocate representing animals
accused of crimes.
It was his job to save my pig from the guillotine for committing murder.
I ask the court's indulgence a little longer.
Our Iron Age pig, Guinevere, fell in love with Colin Firth,
but she actually bit the actor who was playing her owner.
In that film, my dad was there with the pig on set for weeks,
just for a very small part in the film.
I really like to keep my animals are as friendly as I can
because you never know when their moment of fame might come.
Might make it one day, girl.
'My Cotswold sheep have also had their moment on screen.
'They starred in a film called Middlemarch
'where they had to run out of the way of a horse and carriage.
'It took us a day to get that shot, and it only lasted a few seconds.'
Some of our biggest claims to fame are Braveheart, with Mel Gibson,
we had some animals in Robin Hood which was with Russell Crowe,
directed by Ridley Scott.
And my latest challenge is to train these two White Parks.
I've got Tony here to give me a hand.
Hi, Tony, got the food there ready.
So Tony's helped us out with lots of films over the years.
-What have you been in, Tony?
-Many years ago I was in Joseph Andrews.
-That ended up as an X-rated, didn't it?
-Not the bits I was in!
So with these White Parks, we've been asked to train them
to be a pair of oxen.
Oxen are any cattle animal trained to work.
We halter trained them as calves but we've got to give them
a refresher and then try and get a yoke on them.
So what we do is get the heads in the bucket and then try
and slip the halter on.
Over one horn, over the other horn.
And under the chin. There's a good girl.
There, that was very, very good. Got yours, Tony?
-Got mine, Adam, ready to roll.
-Walk on, then, walk on, walk on.
-If we can get these trained well,
they will be in a TV drama which at the moment is a secret.
I'm not allowed to tell you what it's for. And they're incredibly strong.
They could drag us across the fields if they wanted to.
And sometimes the directors ask for all sorts
of weird and wonderful things, don't they?
They asked once, they wanted to put a dog in between a cow
and its calf and I'm afraid I said no to that one.
No, you have to be sensible sometimes.
Try and walk them quite close together,
because soon there'll be shackled together by what's known as a yoke.
So, we'll take them for a walk.
Let them left off a bit of steam.
Right, now, have to put the yoke on.
And yokes have been used on cattle across the world
for thousands of years.
Basically, it's a bit of timber, comes in all different designs,
that goes across the two necks of the cattle,
and then there's a loop which goes under their neck. All right, Tony?
-And these two have never had one on before.
There's a good girl.
And then they'll pull from their shoulders and the weight will be
spread evenly between the two of them as a pole is attached to there.
That then goes to a cart and then they pull away. And actually...
..they are being very relaxed.
Let's let them stand there for a minute
and then we'll try and walk them, shall we?
It's quite, um...
nerve-racking, because you don't know how they will react.
If they do go mad, you've got to be ready to react and cut them loose
and try and avoid them hurting themselves.
So far, so good.
Take them for a walk, shall we? Fingers crossed!
OK? I'll try and come your way.
Walk on, then. Walk on, good girl.
It's all a bit... It must be quite strange for them.
They've got a weight on their necks, the chains are rattling.
Ooh, now, good girl.
-Now, this, so far, is pretty impressive.
It isn't normally this easy. But it is early days. Good girl.
Nearly spoke too soon, there.
That was pretty impressive for the first time out?
Oh, dear, I was holding my breath all the way round there.
I can breathe again now!
Well, what good girls.
Right, let's take this yoke off.
'That was a good start but these youngsters are going to take
'a lot more work before they are ready for a film set.
'It takes all sorts to star in a film.
'I've even had requests for my chickens, too.'
In Robin Hood, that was starring Russell Crowe, that we provided
a number of animals for, they particularly wanted a black cockerel.
The arts directors are not only fussy about the costume
and the architecture, but also that they have got the right
animals that fit that period of history.
So I went off to Cirencester market and bought this cockerel here
and saved him from the pot because he was for the eating.
Brought him back, he was in the film
and there were 13 hens that he was living with.
One day, a fox broke in, killed all the chickens and I found him
in the stinging nettles, thinking he was dead. I picked him up,
he shook his head, it was almost like he came back to life.
So he was playing dead and the fox just left him alone.
And now, he lives in here with his new harem
and my kids have named him Lucky.
And he is very, very lucky.
'But not all the animals on my farm pay their way.
'Some are just pets and recently, we have had a new arrival.'
A couple of weeks ago
it was my son Alfie's 10th birthday party and as a surprise,
we bought him this little Hungarian wire-haired vizsla puppy.
Her name's Boo and she's the same breed as Dolly,
although Dolly really never developed the wire hair.
And they are great. They get on really well. Fetch it, then!
It's brilliant when you throw a stick, Dolly will pick it up
and she will lead Boo around, treats her like her own puppy.
Alfie absolutely adores that puppy. In fact, we all do.
Yeah, you have won the battle now, Boo.
Such a cheeky thing!
'Boo came from a lovely home and she's fitting in well
'but owning a puppy is a big commitment
'so I've got my work cut out. Well, Alfie has.
'Next week, I'm helping a farming friend
'shop for some Dorset horned sheep.'
JOHN: Back on the Isle of Man, while Julia's been out at sea,
my bid to keep my feet on dry land is proving rather difficult.
We've had a real mix of weather here on the Isle of Man.
We've had some lovely sunshine and now there's a downpour.
But despite the rain, I just can't resist coming to this field
because, just look at this.
A carpet of orchids.
In fact, this field has one of the highest densities of orchids
anywhere in the British Isles.
The wetlands of Close Sartfield in the north-west corner
of the island boast tens of thousands of orchids at this time of year.
Six species thrive here, including the common spotted,
heath spotted and northern marsh.
But while we were filming them, our cameraman Jon was almost
caught on the hop when something quite unexpected popped up.
This wild red-necked wallaby is one of almost 100 descendants
of a couple that escaped from a wildlife park about 40 years ago.
Thankfully, orchids don't seem to feature on their menu.
What a wonderful sight. Well worth braving the rain for.
In a moment, we're going to have,
would you believe, a beachside picnic?
We've laid on a local chef, I'll take my mushrooms along,
and at this moment, Julia is out
searching for a Manx speciality, queenies.
Meanwhile, are we going to have rain in the week ahead?
Let's find out with the Countryfile forecast.
The Isle of Man,
a microcosm of the British Isles but fiercely independent of the UK.
While John's been on two and three wheels exploring
the landscape inland, I've been all at sea, in all weathers,
to discover what the Manx waters have to offer.
High finance and big business support the Isle of Man economy,
but the mainstay of the fishing industry are these.
'Almost 3,000 tonnes of scallops are landed each year,
'worth over £8 million to the Isle of Man's economy.'
This is a king scallop, this is a queen scallop,
entirely different species.
The scallop fishermen trawl for the queens during the summer months
and they dredge for the kings the rest of the year.
The queenies, however, are considered the real delicacy.
'Scallop fishing is part of the island's heritage.
'Into the 1970s,
'everyone on the island would have a family member who was a fisherman.
'Now, only 25 boats fish for queenies.
'Phil Comber skippers one of them.'
Phil, here was I all set for my first bout of queenie fishing,
it's just not going to happen today, no?
-No, sorry, the weather's a bit bad.
-Just not possible?
-No, not possible.
-Wouldn't be safe.
-You will have to explain it to me, then.
What's the difference between trawling and dredging?
Trawling, in the summertime, when the water warms up,
the queenies hear the net come along and start to swim to the bottom.
So the net scoops them up rather than having to dredge the bottom.
So the dredging is the more hard core,
obviously pulling along the sea bed.
Yes, a lot of the EU has put a ban on dredging.
How has that affected fishing over the last decade?
The Isle of Man is alive with queenies now.
There's virtually queenies everywhere you go.
Even the old grounds have very little left on them,
and they're all coming back now. So very good.
The Isle of Man might be a tiny island in the middle
of the Irish Sea, but it packs a punch
when it comes to protecting its scallop stocks.
The Barrule is a 72ft fishing protection vessel.
It's used to police the hundred miles of island coastline.
But with no boats braving the rough conditions, today,
the sea is doing the job for them.
We enforce Isle of Man Sea Fisheries legislation
and basically, we are looking for any vessel that may be infringing any
-regulations that we enforce.
-What are some of the basic regulations?
Basic regulations are vessels that might not be licensed to fish
in our areas, vessels that use the wrong size sort of gear.
Presumably sometimes you have got to get a bit tough
and rap people over the knuckles? What sort of things do you do?
If there's an infringement, we can arrest, we can bring people in.
They can be brought through the Isle of Man courts
where they will be punished for anything they do wrong.
-Should I be frightened of you?
At the end of the day, you should be if you're doing something wrong.
-It's something that everybody should be aware of, really.
As well as catching the crooks, the Barrule is also on patrol
to help keep scallop stock numbers healthy,
policing the closed seasons and the no-fishing zones.
After decades of decline, it is one of the reasons
the Isle of Man's fishery is enjoying a new lease of life.
Every skipper's catch is processed in here.
Cut, washed and then shipped out to Europe and the UK.
Every package, apart from this one.
This is coming with me.
And while Julia makes her way here with the queenies,
I've brought my own contribution, Portobello mushrooms,
for an impromptu Manx-style picnic beside the sea.
'And luckily, for Julia, she won't have to rely on my culinary skills.
'Instead, I've called in top Manx chef, John Dixon.'
-Here's a Portobello for you, John.
-Thank you, John.
-I cut it with my own fair hands, that.
-You did a lovely job.
-What are you going to do?
-I am going to keep it very simple.
Hello, hello, excuse me, excuse me.
I have queenies set for a queen, a rather lovely selection.
We have got something to put in the mushrooms now.
What I am going to do is quick seasoning.
A bit of salt, a bit of pepper, some local oil.
It's an extra virgin oil seed rape, pressed and grown on the Isle of Man.
-We'll cook with some lemon verbena.
-Yes, have a smell. It is a beautiful smell.
-Oh, wow, it's lemon!
Yes, really nice. A bit of oil, mind yourself, it's going to go whoosh.
-How many queenies?
-I bought enough!
-Just a couple.
-Look at that!
-Goodness me, what a sight.
It doesn't get much better than this. Put some wild garlic in there.
Sear the mushrooms, just a couple of seconds of them.
-They look good.
-Not the best day for having a picnic.
It's exactly how I like my picnics! It's absolutely fine.
Now, these are an absolute favourite of mine. Lovely courgette flowers.
Try and describe to me, John,
the special nature of the queenie what makes them such a good scallop?
Well, it's just because they are a little bit nicer flavour,
They are a more milder flavour. Just lovely. Really nice.
-What I will do now is drop a few of these.
-Look at that.
You see, that, is a pretty perfect dish for me.
It doesn't get much better than this.
Give that a couple of seconds just to finish off.
You get to try them, that's the best bit.
-It looks so pretty, doesn't it? Very elegant.
With the queenies, you don't have to cook them long. There we go.
-Fit for a queenie.
Everybody taste them, obviously.
I am definitely going for the queenie, here we go.
-It is mouth-watering.
-Those queenies, an Isle of Man feast.
Well done, John. Sadly, that's all we've got time for this week.
Next week, we are going to be in the Kent hills
exploring a favourite landscape of Octavia Hill,
who was one of the founders of the National Trust.
Indeed - pioneering lady, exceptional lady.
I was lucky to receive an Octavia Hill award recently.
-Thank you for voting for me.
-See you next week! Bye-bye.
Subtitles by Red Bee Media Ltd