Matt and Ellie head to Britain's largest lake, Loch Lomond in Scotland. Matt explores the islands of the Loch and helps one resident exercise his horses by swimming with them.
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The largest expanse of freshwater in the whole of mainland Britain.
A special place where the Highlands meet the Lowlands.
Much of the beauty of this Scottish Loch comes from its many islands.
It's the islands of the Loch that I'll be exploring.
Each have their own individual character
with some great names. There's the Island Of Oak.
The Island Of Monks. Even the Island Of Goats.
And I am going to be experiencing a few different types
of horsepower today, but this is the first.
While Matt's making a dramatic entrance,
I'll be sticking to the shore on the east side of the Loch.
With its glorious crystal waters and lush woodland,
this might look like a winter idyll,
but the cold weather also brings the chill of the criminal world.
I'll be out and about with the police
as they gather their evidence.
While we're surrounded by water, John's discovering
why we shouldn't take it for granted.
With a climate like ours, it's hard to believe
that we might ever run out of something like this.
But with our ever-growing population, I will be investigating claims
that in the future there may not be enough water to go round.
And Adam is watching one of nature's most impressive hunters in action.
-Ferocious, the way she goes in!
Loch Lomond is the largest freshwater lake in the UK,
covering around 27 square miles.
Just half an hour's drive north of Glasgow,
and you're by its beautiful shores.
Today, I will be discovering the islands within it.
And what better way to explore this place than in one of these?
Wow! The nose comes up slightly as the power kicks in.
'This seaplane flies regularly from Glasgow to Loch Lomond
'and with water for a runway,
'we can take off and land wherever we like.
'David West is my pilot.'
David, you've flown jumbos all over the world,
how does zipping around here in a seaplane on Loch Lomond compare?
I've got to tell you, I love this.
I am not saying any more than that. I absolutely adore this.
It's that mix of seamanship, and airmanship.
And look at the landscape.
It's just amazing, it really is.
It is the oddest feeling as we're coming in to land.
We're heading into water.
-And we are on.
-Thank you so much.
It was a pleasure to have your company.
The Loch is dotted with many small islands,
some of which are no bigger than a rock.
Only two are inhabited.
Having got the lie of the land,
I've dropped in on the smaller of the two, Inchtavannach.
I'm meeting some four-legged island residents and their owners,
the appropriately named Roy Rogers and his partner Susan Gill.
Apparently, their horses like nothing better
than a swim in the Loch.
First, I need to get to know the animals better.
-Roy, how are you doing, all right?
-Is there room for a small one in there.
-I'm sure she'll let you join us.
-Hello, my darling.
-This is Rosa.
I have to say, Roy, you have the most incredible existence.
Of all of the farms and the crofts that I have visited,
this one has to be one of the most exciting.
-How big is the island?
-It's about 200 acres.
About one mile long by a quarter of a mile wide.
-Is anyone else on it then?
-No, just us.
-Just you and the horses.
-Just how we like it.
For me, to give you an idea,
my parents always said I would be a recluse when I was a kid.
I was brought up for a while in the Highlands.
Horses came along quite late in life.
I was 48 before I started with horses.
Is that where the swimming comes from?
You have this water between you and the mainland,
you have to get from one to the other.
It sort of came in that way.
I had certainly seen these types of people who work with horses
doing that sort of thing and they do it naturally.
It was primarily because we wanted to get to the other side.
Aren't you beautiful. She's saying, "Can I go for a swim?"
Well, it's not your turn today. No, it will be this horse
getting her regular swimming exercise in a very fresh Loch.
Is that you being acclimatised, Susan, or the horse?
-Is it nippy?
-Just a bit(!)
-Seems like a very long way away, Roy.
It only takes about four minutes or so.
The horse is a powerful swimmer so it won't take long.
We have literally swum hundreds of them there.
-In the winter though?
-In the winter as well!
We've done it with the snow coming down and all sorts.
Susan's not so keen these days.
If Susan's got to get in the water, I'm not surprised.
Oh, this is the moment. Here we go.
It's getting deeper.
And she's...swimming now, is she?
There she is. What a good girl.
So the technique here is just to keep her straight
with the lead rope?
The main thing is, when we first start swimming them
they try and use the boat as a little safety zone.
We usually have to push them out, away from the boat
and it's getting the distance from the boat that's the important thing.
-It is a wonderful form of exercise.
-It's absolutely brilliant.
If you've got a lame horse, you can keep them fit by swimming.
She sounds like she's taking quite a lot of air there.
That's the way they breathe. Because they close...
They swallow. You know yourself when you swallow, you do that.
Then they're breathing through their nose
rather than through their mouths.
Almost there. It's an incredible rate that she is swimming at.
She swims very fast.
Some of the other horses swim a lot slower than her.
She's one of the fastest.
You can see she is very buoyant, her bum sticks up.
Some of the horses, they sink quite low down.
-Yeah, yeah. I think she's got her feet down now, has she?
The Loch's quite high just now, normally there's little bits.
Many of the islands are so close together
that swimming between them probably is the easiest form of travel,
but I'll definitely be opting for a boat
to explore this wonderful loch later in the programme.
Tap water is something that most of us take for granted,
but how much longer can this precious resource
meet the needs of our growing population.
John has been to investigate.
The plains of East Anglia enjoy some of the best sunshine
and most fertile soils in Britain.
It's prime agricultural land but it's also dry and getting drier.
It might seem strange to be complaining
about a lack of rain in this country,
but surprisingly there are parts of the UK
that are actually drier than some areas of the Middle East.
It has rained so little this year
that here in Essex, as in other large parts of Eastern,
Southern and central Britain,
there are droughts that could well last until the spring.
Essex and Suffolk Water has to make sure
its customers' taps run whatever the weather.
That's why major changes are afoot at its reservoir at Abberton.
It can already store 26 billion litres of water,
but these days that's not enough.
-What is happening here then?
-We're raising this reservoir.
We're raising it by about three metres
and that allows us to hold another 60 per cent more water.
So this dam is going to be much bigger, is it?
It's going to be another three metres higher,
it's all made of clay, it's not a concrete damn
and that will hold back another 16 thousand million litres of water.
-That sounds like a pretty big job.
-That is a big job.
In fact, apart from the London Olympics
in terms of ground covered, right now this is the biggest
construction site anywhere in Britain.
The whole project is costing £150 million,
-it must be pretty vital.
-It's essential to us.
What we do here is we store the excess rain
in the winter for the drier summers.
When we get very dry summers and dry winters,
we don't have enough water for the population.
That population is continuing to grow.
Demand for fresh water is continually rising,
driven by an expanding population and modern lifestyles.
Today, 13 billion litres are used every single day.
But as our climate changes,
the rainfall which provides nearly all this water
is expected to become less frequent, and more unpredictable.
'Some campaigners claim urgent action is needed.'
Well, just how bad is the situation?
I think we're in the middle of a slow crisis. So year on year,
we're using more, resources become tighter, climate change,
population growth, it means there's more pressure on water resources.
If we carry on like this, we're in real trouble.
'So where is all the water going? Well, the biggest users are homes,
'which guzzle up half the total supply.'
'Peter Acteson-Rook and his family are fairly conscious about water.
'But as Jacob points out, even their house uses plenty of it.'
This tap on full flow is about ten litres a minute,
which means this washing-up bowl is full in a minute.
The dishwasher here sometimes can be more efficient than using the bowl.
That's about 18 litres per wash.
Add a few other things around the house, and it starts to mount up.
So, 43 buckets, Jacob. What do they represent?
Well, if these were all full of water, that's 500 litres of water.
That's as much as a family of four - two adults, two kids,
the average family - uses in a single day.
-Just one day?
-One day, all this water.
People will be absolutely staggered by this.
It's about a third more than we used a generation ago
and it's slowly rising.
Every single year, more and more water's being used.
We're clearly a thirsty bunch,
which isn't a problem as long as there's enough of it to go round.
But is there?
The source of virtually all our water is rain, collected from rivers
and boreholes and aquifers, their natural underground reservoirs,
in a process known as abstraction.
But take too much of it, and nature begins to suffer.
'And that's what the WWF claims is happening
'at the River Mimram in Hertfordshire.'
Now this river is certainly shallow, isn't it?
Yes, it is. That's the problem.
I mean, even not withstanding the fact we've had a dry summer,
it should be much higher.
So how high should the water be then?
Well, it should be above our wellies,
if the water company wasn't taking 15 million litres of water
every day from this catchment to supply the local town.
What impact is that having on the wildlife in the river?
Water is the lifeblood of the river.
Too little and it affects everything
from the smallest bug to the biggest fish.
In a chalk stream like this, you should have
really gin-clear, fast-flowing water,
which is really important in order for the water weeds to thrive.
They're home to all of the little bugs and freshwater shrimp.
If you don't have those, you don't have the fish, birds and mammals.
But the problem is that we all need water, don't we?
Yes, but I think a lot of people just don't realise that the water
they're using at home is coming from rivers like this one.
The environment agency says it's trying to reduce
the amount of water taken from rivers
and is reviewing all abstraction licences.
It admits that around a quarter of rivers are currently at risk
of over-abstraction during dry periods.
In many places, taking even more rainwater out of the environment
simply isn't an option.
But with an ever-increasing demand for water,
what can be done to avert a serious crisis?
That's what I'll be asking later in the programme.
'This week, Matt and I are exploring the vast Loch Lomond
'and The Trossachs National Park near Glasgow.
'This world-famous beauty spot
'attracts some five million visitors a year.
'But with those visitors come something a little more sinister.
'You might find some images in this report distressing.'
I've come to the eastern side of the loch
and it's much like the rest of it.
Beautiful, crystal waters and lush woodland.
Not exactly the place you'd expect to find
a thriving criminal underworld.
MUSIC: "Sound Of Da Police" by KRS One
'And it's up to these guys to deal with it.
'They're park rangers with a difference.
'They've been trained up as special constables with full police powers.'
-I'm joining them on the beat. Hi, Matt. How you doing?
-Yeah, good. Thank you.
-Good to see you.
It does seem strange to see a man in uniform
in this beautiful environment. Is it really that bad here?
Yeah. Some incidents we've had have been pretty serious.
If we weren't working with the police, we wouldn't have the back-up.
What kind of crime do you get here?
Anything from assault, vandalism, there has been attempted murder.
-In the National Park, over the weekends, yeah.
It's all drink and drug-related incidents.
-I guess drink fuels a lot of these problems?
I've got a few photos here with me.
People have just been for the weekend and have just left everything,
God! They've left the lot. Like they've abandoned ship.
They wake up, it's wet, there's midges and they just...
-There's damage to trees, vandalism and spray-painting.
This is quite a serious arson attack on a visitor's car.
-They burnt out a car?!
Why is it on the east side that things are bad?
It's just easy, really easy access for people.
If there's hundreds of people camping,
everyone's tripping over each other's tents and people can get aggressive.
Scottish law allows wild camping
just about anywhere if you respect your surroundings.
But things have got so bad on the east side of the loch,
that new by-laws have had to be introduced.
No wild camping and no public drinking.
At this time of year though, it's just a shade too cold for camping.
But that doesn't mean the police get a quiet live.
'Whilst most of us are gearing up for Christmas by stocking up
'from our local supermarket, a select few head out here
'in search of an illegal contribution
'to their Christmas dinner.'
'Paul Barr is a police officer seconded full-time
'to the National Park to deal with wildlife crime.
'At this time of year, his big problem is deer poaching.'
-Gosh, this is a grisly scene.
-It is, yes.
This is a scene that we've recreated basically to train
some of the National Park rangers into the aftermath
-of a deer poaching.
-I guess the point is not to be squeamish,
because deer is a managed population and culls do go on legitimately.
-How is this different?
Because a professional deer stalker
wouldn't butcher the animal at the roadside.
They would remove the insides,
but they wouldn't leave deer heads or legs lying about.
So how are the poachers operating then?
Well, they operate under cover of darkness.
Deer come close to roads and poachers take opportunities
at shooting deer, sometimes from a vehicle.
We've had instances in Scotland where people have used crossbows
to shoot at deer, air weapons. It causes immense suffering for the animal.
Why is it quite bad at this time of year in the run-up to Christmas?
People buy venison at Christmas and New Year as a special treat.
But there's also some indications,
with the financial climate, people are going back to poaching.
Everyone's feeling the pinch a bit.
Let's say you came across a scene like this on the side of the road.
Is there anything you can do at this scene?
We would take DNA samples.
If we were to find a suspect back at their home address,
and recovered a knife or a saw,
we could try and match up the DNA of the deer to that.
In an area as vast as this,
it's impossible for Paul's team to cover all the ground.
'So intelligence from locals and gamekeepers is crucial
'in tracking down crime scenes.'
But nothing beats preventing crime in the first place.
And for that, the National Park have got another trick up their sleeve.
Get in there while they're still young.
'I'm joining St George's School for Girls for a geography lesson.'
We find that people just leave their stuff.
And if they see it lying around, they're more inclined to leave it.
So if you keep yours nice and tidy, it encourages other campers.
'National Park ranger Adam Samson is taking the class.'
So what are you teaching the girls today?
It's your National Park, it's your countryside.
Come and enjoy it, but respect it.
The activity shows the issues we've been dealing with.
Is it not obvious to say, "Pick up after yourself when you go camping?"
You'd think so, that when you go anywhere, don't drop litter,
don't leave the place in a mess.
But over the years, that's not the case.
You see the look on some of the kid's faces.
They go, "But have they just left this?" And you go, "Yes!"
"Why?" And you go "I don't know!"
So yeah, you'd think it was obvious,
but we've had to go down this line because of that.
We realise the problem that's actually gone around,
with people coming and having alcohol
and doing damage to the environment.
It's surprising how things can be.
There's some really respectful campers,
and some people just have no regard for their surroundings at all.
So would you say the by-laws are working?
It's early days, obviously. They came in June this year.
But go up the east side of Loch Lomond and it's not covered
in tents, rubbish, fires, just the detritus of the night before.
It's families having picnics, canoeing, paddling,
just out enjoying themselves as they should.
The problem's not totally gone away,
but it is day and night as to what it was like last year
and in previous years.
If you live and work by such a vast body of water as Loch Lomond,
the idea of running out of drinking water seemed unimaginable.
But early in the programme we heard about how one day
Britain might face a serious shortage of fresh water.
So what's being done to avert a crisis? Here's John.
The amount of water we use is growing,
and we're running out of places to find it.
Many of our rivers are already depleted
putting wildlife under threat.
Some experts are warning of an impending crisis.
If we're not careful, demand for fresh water
is going to outstrip available supply,
so what are the water companies doing
to try to stop our taps from running dry?
At Abberton Reservoir in Essex, I'm getting some idea.
It is normally filled by water pumped out of the nearby River Stour,
but that can't be relied on so there's got to be a plan B.
And what happens, should the River Stour dry up?
Essex is actually the driest county in the United Kingdom.
-And we get less rainfall than Jerusalem.
So it's quite likely it dries up.
We also have to bring water in from Kings Lynn in Norfolk
and the water comes 90 miles from rivers and pipes
into this reservoir.
That's the only way of filling this, then?
Yes, there's just no more water in Essex
so we're having to go to the extremes of Norfolk
to find the next available water.
Unlike gas and electricity there's no such thing
as a National Grid for water.
Instead water companies will have to increasingly work together
pumping supplies from where it's wet to where it's dry.
But should they be tidying up
their own backyards before borrowing from someone else's?
About half of all the water that's used in this country
is in people's homes, but here's a shocking statistic -
of what is left, the biggest chunk doesn't involve as you might think
agricultural or industry,
it's water that's wasted.
A quarter of all water collected by utility companies
simply leaks from their networks.
Essex and Suffolk Water has got its leakage down to 14% and this is how.
Put the listening stick down.
A listening stick?
-That is correct, yes, or an aquaphone.
-And can you hear anything?
-In this case I can hear a noise.
-Can I have a listen?
Just a gurgling, water sound?
Sort of water running noise, you'll be able to hear.
Oh yes, I can hear that. Yes. It's quite faint.
With some rather more high-tech gear
Billy pinpoints the leak's exact position so it can be fixed.
At another leak a few blocks away a repair team
is already doing just that, but is all this enough?
14% of your company's water supplies are lost in leakage,
that's an awful lot of wasted water, isn't it?
It sounds like it but that's one of
the best leakage rates in the country.
And all water networks leak
through a combination of corrosion of pipes and fittings,
through ground movement.
Whilst the water is lost from the network
it isn't lost from the environment.
Most finds its way back into aquifers, rivers and streams
and continues through the water cycle.
wBut I imagine most customers would think 0% was acceptable, not 14%.
I'm sure many would but at the moment it's just not achievable.
But it's not only the utility companies
who could cut down more on waste.
Pressure's mounting on homeowners too.
That's why the Acteson-Rook family have been given
a water meter by their supplier, Anglian Water.
And has it made much difference to how much water you use?
It has. We are very conscious now on what it is
and what we do with our water,
brushing your teeth, and turning the taps off in between.
The sort of appliances you buy,
water in the garden,
that kind of thing, really.
On average homes with a meter use 10% less water.
Most households are entitled to get one installed free of charge,
and in some instances they're compulsory.
What we have been discovering is that water companies
are hoping to meet future demand by,
on the one hand persuading us to use less of it,
and on the other, by moving more of it around the country.
But what if that doesn't work?
When water's scarce, farmers are among the first hit.
Although nationally agriculture only uses around 1% of our supply,
arable regions like East Anglia rely on much more.
Farmers here are already wondering
how they're going to irrigate their crops next spring.
Our water comes from the River Deben which is half a mile away from here.
At this time of the year when we are filling reservoirs or trying to
we have to phone the Environment Agency every morning to see
if the flows are good enough in the river to pump,
and obviously at the moment it's been so dry that we can't pump.
We usually have the reservoir nearly full at this stage.
Very important we get it filled by the end of March
before we need it next year.
-Quite worrying, then.
-Very worrying. Yes.
So what happens to a crop like potatoes if there isn't enough water?
It's not just the yield we lose, it's the quality,
which is essential to all vegetable crops we grow.
With potatoes, for instance, we end up with scabby potatoes,
we can end up with odd-shaped tubers
which obviously our customer doesn't want.
Everybody likes to see perfect potatoes.
Well, of course they do.
And that's what we strive to achieve.
But we can only do it with water.
And when drought does persist other water restrictions follow.
Now, with millions of families
facing up to the possibility of a hosepipe ban we are being urged...
Are dry rivers, wilting crops and hosepipe bans something
we'll be seeing more of?
What are your predictions, then?
I think there are two scenarios for the future.
One is a negative one where we continue using more water,
there is more pressure on the natural environment,
prices continue to rise, we have to build more infrastructure,
things get worse and worse, and we end up in a water crisis.
The more positive one is we see water companies,
and they are already starting to do this,
working with homeowners to make their homes more efficient,
that the pressure on the environment drops,
the amount we all use and the amount we waste reduces,
and slowly we move to a more sustainable future for water.
And which of those two scenarios is the most likely, then?
Well, ourselves and a lot of other people
are working towards the second and I really hope that's the one.
But basically it's in people's own hands.
Water is something we simply can't do without.
It might seem unthinkable
that in the British Isles we could ever run dry,
but if that possibility is to be avoided,
then it is time we stop taking it for granted.
Later on tonight's show...
Adam picks up his dog Dolly,
from the boyfriend's house.
Where have you been, on your holidays?
Ellie challenges me to an off-road race with a difference.
Do you want me to wait for you, Matt?
And of course
there's the Countryfile weather forecast for the weekend.
Today I'm exploring Loch Lomond,
and the ideal way to explore it is by boat.
There are 23 main islands on the loch,
many have Inch before their name,
which is the term for small Scottish island.
Some also have a second name
that either describes it physically, or reflect its history.
My first port of call is just here,
it is known as Inchtavannach, or Monk's Island.
A house now stands where the monastery used to be,
but back in the day the monks would climb that big hill there
and ring a bell as a call to prayer.
Nearby is Inchmoan, or Peat Island.
It got its name because the villagers
from nearby Luss used to harvest the peat
as a source of fuel for village fires.
We are just drifting past Inchconnachan
or Colquhoun's Island as it is known,
and it is thought it gets its name from the Colquhoun's clan,
a Scots family that owned a lot of land in this part of the world.
It's said you can experience six seasons in one day here.
What a wonderful day for a boat ride.
This is the weather to explore Loch Lomond, I'm sure you'll agree.
Taking me around is local lad and skipper, Mark Aikman.
We're heading to the appropriately-named Narrows,
it's said to be the most beautiful spot on the loch.
Mark, what is going on with this place,
it is extraordinary, the weather?
Just another day on Loch Lomond.
It's just incredible, isn't it?
We go from the contrast of out in the open loch,
to into the scenic beauty of The Narrows here.
The magic of Loch Lomond. Look at the hills there.
Snow on top!
At its deepest the loch is 220 metres,
but we are now heading for the shallowest bit,
known as The Geggles.
We are in very, very shallow water.
We have got about two metres beneath us, currently.
And at this time of the year it's a lot higher than it is
during the summer season when the loch sits a lot lower.
-I've got a crook somewhere.
-Yes, very good.
I'll get out and give it a little tap and see how far...
-That's us just above a metre now.
-Is it really?
-OK, this is the point for the crook.
-Oh, right, shall we go then?
There it is. Wow!
So you can actually walk across here, then,
Mark, when it's low water?
You can indeed. During the summer
when the loch sits at a much lower level
you can walk between the two islands.
-So we are obviously not going that way.
Winter's probably not the best time to take to the water,
but coupled with what the elements have thrown at us,
it's been a memorable experience.
You may remember that Adam was asked to be a judge at this year's BBC Food and Farming Awards.
His category was, unsurprisingly, Farmer Of The Year,
which recognises exceptional farming practice.
On the shortlist for the gong,
Adrian Dalby farms the largest spread of organic land in the UK.
Adrian, these red clover flowers look absolutely stunning.
This is your fertiliser?
This is our fertiliser and this is a key part of what we are doing.
Paul and Celia Sousek,
nominated for environmental awareness on their small-scale farm.
'OK. So Paul, this must be a flaw in your plan.'
You are using diesel here.
Well, actually, we use biodiesel. We make the biodiesel ourselves.
A little bit of methanol and mainly vegetable oil,
which we get from fish and chip shops and restaurants and so on.
And for our final nominee, Andrew Hughes,
it's all about putting farming back at the heart of the community.
'We put this pond in last year, this time last year.'
We had a lot of dew ponds on the farm, years ago, and they were lost because of pipe water
coming in, and so we thought we would put something back.
Then for the big moment.
So the winner of this year's BBC Radio 4 Farming Today Farmer of the Year is...
A triumph for a man who has put the community
and the environment at the heart of his farm in Hampshire.
Andrew, congratulations once again. Fantastic.
What does this mean to you?
I am just over the moon by it.
It is great for all the people that I work with on the estate
and everything. It is brilliant.
Now, back in the Cotswolds,
our very own farming champion is bracing himself for a busy winter.
Adam has just received the results of his latest TB test and, for a change, it is not all bad news.
A couple of months ago,
I had some devastating news that all cattle farmers dread.
On a routine TB test, we found out that our herd
has been struck down with the disease again.
And that for me makes me upset and angry and frustrated.
We lost three White Park cows that had to be slaughtered,
and one of our Highland heifers was inconclusive, which means that she did not have it
bad enough to be slaughtered but she has to be isolated and tested again.
Now we have just had the herd go through their next test,
and that Highland heifer, who is a lovely, black,
beautiful animal, has got the disease and has got to go.
She is waiting in a box at the farm before she goes to slaughter.
The Highlands are such a tough, resilient breed.
We don't get TB in them very often.
I was delighted that Eric here, my bull, was safe,
but sad that the heifer has got to go.
But amongst all this frustration, there is a little bit of good news.
When it came to the TB test,
two animals I was very worried about where these lovely little White Park calves.
On the last test, their mothers were taken and had to be slaughtered
because they had TB and I was worried about these ones, that they
might have caught it from their mothers and might be hatching it for the next test,
and they passed, which is fantastic.
I have been bottle-feeding them and so have become quite attached
to them and now that they are clear of TB, I can let them
suckle straight from the Gloucester cow.
This is their adopted little sister.
This Gloucester cow producers plenty of milk,
so I'm sure she doesn't mind a couple of extra mouths to feed.
Right, then, babies, fill your bellies.
She will eat away, having her tea,
while the three calves help themselves.
She has got four teats and she is producing
so much that there is enough to go round. We feed them twice a day.
Out of all the animals on the farm,
I was really worried about these two White Park calves.
I thought they were goners. But to see them passing their first test like this
and now suckling on the cow, it gives me a bit of hope.
She has finished her tea and with three calves, that doesn't take long.
With the calves fed, the rest of my cattle have to be housed for the winter.
Every year when the weather turns,
my cattle retire to the comfort of the barns
One of my good friends, who is a dairy farmer, has popped over to give me a hand.
He has had the dreaded TB test too.
It is good for us farmers to stick together at times like this.
-So your herd has got TB?
-It has. 16 reactors. Disaster.
And what about the cows that went, where they valuable milkers?
Very valuable milkers. I had seven heifers, hadn't had a calf yet.
Due to calve before Christmas. And they have all gone.
-One was within seven days of calving when she was shot.
For me, I took on all these rare breeds over from my father,
and we are just trying to keep them going.
Recently, I went to buy an Irish bull, just down near Evesham,
and he reacted to TB for the pre-movement test,
so I couldn't get him. It just makes the whole thing frustrating.
It makes you wonder whether it is worth being a cattle farmer.
Nobody wants to see sick wildlife or cattle, do they?
It is a disease of the countryside.
It isn't wildlife versus cattle, you know?
Everyone has got to come together.
-Great, job done, thank you very much.
I am actually more use than your dog. Time you got a new one!
-You are right there! Goodbye.
This is their winter quarters.
It is going to be a long winter for these girls.
They come back out into the fields in the spring, weather permitting,
around March or April.
They have got another TB test in a couple of months to look forward to.
But before that, they are sitting here quite happily,
snug in their new shed
With that job done, I have a bit of a journey ahead of me.
Our family pet dog Dolly, who is adored by the children and lives in the house,
spoiled rotten, is away visiting a dog at the moment
in the hope that she will get pregnant, so in three months time we should
have the pitter patter of tiny paws on the kitchen floor.
Fingers crossed, anyway.
Dolly is a Hungarian wirehaired vizsla, which is a breed of gun dog.
I bought her four years ago from Clint and Anita, who live in West Sussex.
She has been back for a ten-day visit to get in pup.
-Anita, how are you?
-Lovely to see you.
-How has she got on?
-Not very well, unfortunately.
I am not sure if it is the time of year or what,
but she is extremely nervous.
-So no puppies this time?
-Not this time, I'm afraid.
-What a shame.
-Can I see her? I am excited to meet up with her again.
-Come on, then. Who is this?
-Hello! Hello! How are you?
-And this is her boyfriend?
-This is the boyfriend. This is what the breed should look like.
This is the coat she should have. But unfortunately hasn't.
Well, I know when I got her from you, a Hungarian wirehaired vizsla,
and I'm still waiting for the wire to come in the post.
When we sold her to you, we were certain she was going to get a coat, but hasn't developed it.
They do develop a coat up to four years after,
but she obviously is not going to develop a coat.
We love her the way she is. She is just a sweet little dog.
-Why are you so attached to them?
-Well, I use them as...
They're gundogs, initially, they are a hunt, point, retrieve breed,
which means they hunt the game up themselves
and then point it staunchly,
then if you shoot it, they'll retrieve it for you.
They are a multipurpose dog.
'Clint doesn't just hunt game using his dogs,
'he also uses golden eagles, which I am keen to see at work.
'But before I see them in action,
'I want to find out if Dolly has retained any of the breed's hunting instinct.'
-Is this a good place to train a dog?
There is lots of cover, lots of places where wildlife can hide,
you'll find a reasonable amount of pheasants
and rabbits, and of course there will be a reasonable scent for the dog to pick up on.
It would be ideal for Dolly in here, because there are pheasants around,
lots of corners, crevices and cracks for wildlife and game to hide in.
-She is slowing down a bit now.
-Yes. That is called the road.
That is called roading in.
That is the first stage of the pointing process.
First they road in, then after that follows the point. And that is the staunch point.
And it looks like she may well come up and point any minute.
Look at her now. That's it. It's the way she is lifting up her foot.
-That is a solid point.
-There's something in there.
-I think so.
-Steady, steady. And then, what do you do now?
-The next stage is the flush.
With a young dog, you wouldn't allow the dog to flush, you would flush it yourself.
But with an experienced dog, you can ask the dog to flush.
That finishes the three stages.
-Chasing, flushing out what ever is there.
-Flush anything out to make it run or fly.
-And then it's the job for the eagles.
-Then it's the job for the eagle.
Then the eagles then fly after them, chase them, depending what it is.
I have not got an eagle at the moment, so I'll call her off.
Good girl, Dolly, there's a good girl, there's a good girl.
Good girl. Was there something in there?
-Let's go and see your eagles, shall we?
'So now it's time to unleash the eagle.
'This is just a practice exercise, so no dogs are involved,
'but it's a great excuse to see Clint's eagle in training.
'Although, it's not the best of conditions in all this fog.'
What's the plan now?
The plan is for the buggy to drag the lure and when the lure passes us
by about 50 or 60 yards we'll release her and she'll chase it as fast as she can.
Roy'll gun the buggy and see if she catches it.
And how often are you doing this sort of training?
Ideally, seven days a week and the fitter you can get the birds,
the better it is for them.
Looking forward to seeing her fly, let's do it.
OK, Roy when you're ready.
That was incredibly impressive. The speed of the bird.
Now she's stepped up.
-Excellent. Hood goes on.
-Hood goes on and that's it, she's calm.
And when you're using your vizslas how does the eagle know
the difference between the quarry and the dog?
This is something you have to train them to do.
They come to realise that the dog is their working ally
because the dog comes on point, they recognise the point
and if something has flushed in front of it then they'll chase it.
Yeah, amazing. Thank you so much and thank you for having Dolly.
-Maybe we'll try again next year.
-All the best.
'Next week, I'm at the winter fair at the Royal Welsh Showground
'helping a young lad keen to take up shepherding buy some rare breeds.'
You might think that no plant or animal could have possibly survived
the extreme conditions of the Ice Age but in a corner of Wales,
if you look hard enough, there are living relics of that barren time.
Snowdonia - this rugged landscape might look inhospitable
but it's home to living relics of plant and animal species
left behind by the last ice age.
And I'm here to discover a few of these rarities
and see how they're coping in the world today
starting with my favourite subject - botany with Dr Tim Rich.
Well, here we're at Cwm Idwal National Nature Reserve,
one of the botanical gems of the British Isles
in a fantastic place for Arctic Alpines.
We're a long way from the Arctic or the Alps,
so what are they doing here?
20,000 years ago this place was covered in ice,
and as the ice then thawed you found throughout Northern Europe
a lot of these species that really like it cold were very quick
to colonise and get here but then as the climate continued to warm,
other species came in and it's pushed these Arctic Alpines
up on to the tops of the mountains which is where they are today.
What happens if the climate warms again due to climate change?
There's nowhere for them to go.
So, we already know the climate has warmed by two degrees
during the last interglacial, say 5,000 years ago,
so they're probably OK for another two degrees
but once it gets beyond that point then we really begin to see changes
and I suspect many of these things will go.
There's a lot of evidence around that, all over the world,
of Alpine plants growing higher up mountains, looking for the colder temperature
-and eventually the mountain's not tall enough for them.
-They've got nowhere to go.
And the Snowdon lily that occurs here is a prime example.
It's got no way of getting off this mountain to anywhere else,
so once that's gone, it's gone from Britain forever.
The Snowdon lily flowers in May so I won't be lucky enough to see it today
but it really is a dainty little flower
considering it lives in such extreme conditions.
But it's not just the plants here that are left over from the Ice Age,
I'm here to find another relic from the past.
Just two years ago, a unique and very rare fish was also in jeopardy.
Described by some as a landlocked salmon, the Arctic char is found
in very few places and one of them is just a stone's throw from here.
Unbelievably, their ancestors were originally a saltwater species
but they became trapped in these lakes as the glaciers retreated.
Eventually, they adapted to their freshwater environment
but two years ago their future looked very bleak.
So, just how rare have these fish become?
I've come to meet Alan Winston from the Environment Agency.
Well, we think there are about 1,000 adult fish left in the lake
and in reality there should be ten-times that number in the lake.
-Gosh, so a 90% drop?
-That's right, yeah.
So, we're quite concerned about that because they are a unique strain
of Arctic char that have evolved to the conditions of that lake
over the last 10,000 years or so.
I was about to ask, how rare are Arctic char?
Well, they're found in about half a dozen lakes in North Wales
they're also found in the Lake District in a few lakes
and also in Scotland.
But the important thing is that each population in each lake is genetically different.
In order to secure this important genetic diversity,
the Environment Agency has begun a breeding programme
to help secure their future
in these highly sensitive and isolated pockets of Snowdonia.
So, Keith, these are the next generation?
Yes, the parents of these fish came from a lake in Snowdonia
last December and these are about ten months old and although
they're the same age, there is a size range developing in the tank.
Yeah, there are huge ones almost like sardines
and tiny little ones like sprats.
So, if we don't separate the sizes out
you can get aggression from the larger ones attacking small ones.
How do you separate them out, dipping in and going through them by hand?
No, what we use is a machine which is over here.
We put them into this machine and this machine grades them
into three sizes.
-Small, medium and large.
-How does that work?
The rollers, they go down these rollers
and these rollers are graduated so they get wider,
the small ones go through first, the larger ones afterwards.
That's genius, all kinds.
When you look at this it doesn't look like it's going to do a lot of good,
it almost looks like a horrible James Bond villain death, like they're going to be crushed.
It's quite a routine job for us, it doesn't do the fish any harm.
And in true James Bond style, what happens
if they try to escape the rotating steel wheels?
So, this paint brush it's for just kind of gently brushing them down.
There we are, he's out and he's down.
'And it doesn't end there for these larger fish.
'they're dropped into an anaesthetic bath to prepare them
'for the their fins to be clipped, which I'm not altogether looking forward to.'
-You can see they're suddenly not moving around so much.
And which fin goes off?
It's the little fin on the back of the fish called the adipose fin.
And why are you doing that?
Because we can monitor the stocks when they're back in the wild.
We can see which has hatched from this hatchery.
-Is it kind of lick clipping off a toenail, something like that?
It makes me feel a lot better about doing it.
I'm going to get in there. What do I need to do?
Get hold of the fish fairly gently now it's asleep.
-This little one here?
-Yeah. Takes a bit of practise.
-Oh, that's not bad.
It's fairly soft.
-It's like gelatine, the fin, it's not hard or kind of, bristly.
Now this might look a little bit uncomfortable
but it's all part of vital conservation work to preserve
the future of this incredibly rare local variety and the brilliant news
is these little guys will be swimming around in the wild
in just a few weeks.
With Christmas Day just a couple of weeks away
you might still be looking for the perfect stocking filler.
How about the Countryfile calendar for 2012
sold in aid of Children In Need? Here's how you can get hold of one.
The calendar costs £9 and a minimum of £4 from each sale will go to Children In Need.
You can order it right now on our website:
Or you can call the order line on:
You can also order by post. Send your name, address and cheque to:
And please make your cheques payable to BBC Countryfile Calendar.
In a moment I'm going to be getting to grips with one of these.
Apparently they're very good for off-roading around the loch
but before that there's just time to find out
what the weather has in store with the Countryfile forecast for the week ahead.
This week, Matt and I are exploring the windswept shores of Loch Lomond.
Not many people brave these waters at this time of year.
Biting cold and rain keep the hordes of tourists away,
leaving it unusually peaceful.
But even colder weather like this doesn't deter the locals.
They have found an eco-friendly way
of breathing life into the loch on a winter's day.
These electric scooters are a more familiar sight around cities,
but here in Scotland, they have found a new use for them -
off-roading. Right, my turn.
Apparently, it is one of the best ways to see the loch.
-All right there, Ben?
-So get me started on one of these.
Right, first things first. You need one of these to protect your head.
You're going to stand with your feet on each of these contact points.
So if you start to lean forward slightly
and move your weight beyond where the wheels are touching the ground,
it will start to roll forward.
-Oh, my God!
-Now, it has got no brakes.
So if you kept going, you might get wet. So...
-If you just centre your weight again...
-There you go.
Will you take me see the sights?
-Yeah, we will go for a ride along the beach.
-Let's do it.
Ben leads loch safaris on these and I need the practice as later,
I will be racing Matt on one.
It's funny, cos they're associated with the skateboarding crowd,
-which isn't what you would expect from these things?
it is the people who snowboard, skateboard,
BMX, skiers, they are the ones that want to try the new stuff.
The good thing is that they are not noisy,
they are not churning out fumes, they are not petrol-based.
No petrol, they don't churn up the ground so much
cos you can't really wheel-spin them.
If you manage to do a wheelspin, you are doing something wrong.
-How fast do they go?
-You can go about 12.5 miles per hour.
-Whoo! Dizzy speeds.
-Let's just say, hypothetically speaking,
I wanted to beat somebody at a race.
Matt Baker. What would be your tips for me to win?
We could sort something out that means that you will win.
-That's more like it.
'Don't tell Matt,
'but the speed of the scooters can be restricted to a measly 6mph.'
Now, Ben has promised me a spectacular view of Loch Lomond.
Oddly, though, he seems to be taking me to the nearest tee.
But this is no ordinary golf course.
It is part of the National Park and we have been given
special permission to explore it in this way.
-Ho-ho! Look at that view!
-Incredible, isn't it?
That is awesome.
Even on a rainy day. Almost makes me want to convert to golf.
Wow. Love that.
The site of this golf course is so special,
it has its own countryside Ranger, James Elliott.
-Hi, James. How are you doing?
-Hi, Ellie. How are you?
-I am good.
Apologies for the random arrival. What are you doing here?
I am planting some oak trees here
along with some other native broadleaves.
Just to replace these Sitka spruces that have been felled.
What is wrong with the spruce? Why have they come down?
Spruce are actually non-native to Britain.
They provide pretty poor habitat for wildlife.
Oakwood on the other hand has the most biodiverse habitat in Britain.
You have quite an unusual job - you are a ranger at a golf course.
That is quite specific, isn't it?
It might seem unusual,
but this golf course takes up a fairly large chunk of land,
only a proportion of that is used for the game of golf.
The rest of it, we have woodlands, wetlands, native grasslands...
And the landscape here is amazing.
Where we are at the moment
is right on the boundary between the Highlands and the Lowlands.
-Right here, yes.
So going back 450 million years ago, these were two different continents.
They came together and if you look at the islands,
going right across the loch,
that is the crumple zone of where these two continents met.
-Amazing, isn't it?
-Yeah, it is fantastic.
It's all very well admiring it from up here,
but it's time to get myself back to shore for the big race.
Look at this - Highlands...
And Ben is going to be our umpire.
-You are going to love this!
-Where is the other half of your quad?
Oh no, this is completely different. Do you want a quick lesson?
I do. I have had horses, boats and planes today, so why not?
-Why not two more wheels? So stand on, first.
-How do you go forwards?
Lean your whole body forward. So we are going to go for a little race.
-If you're up for it?
-First around the loch?
No, first to the end of the big, big puddle.
-That is an easy marker. Ben is going to start us off.
-Oh, hello, Ben.
-How are you doing? Can I get you both level?
-So it is an even playing field. OK? Ready?
-Oh, it's a leaner! Slowing down, slowing down!
-Look at this. Oh!
-Do you want me to wait for you, Matt?
-How do you make it go faster?
I am hanging over the bars and it is... I'm leaning forwards and it...
It's a first on Countryfile - I am beating Matt at something.
-Here comes the puddle.
Ooh la la la la la! I win. Woo-hoo!
Oh, here he comes. Slowly.
Proper leaning forwards - this is rubbish.
How are you going that fast?
-You know what, Matt?
-I've got to tell you something.
-Have you got a little trick?
-I have had the limiter taken off mine.
-You are kidding me!
-It is dirty play, it is dirty play.
-What a surprise(!)
If you want to try something just as bonkers as this,
the BBC has got together with a range of partners
who offer activities all across the UK.
Just go onto our website and click on "things to do".
But that is it from the shores of Loch Lomond.
Next week, we will be in Warwickshire getting Christmassy
as we try and recreate some of the country village community spirit
of Christmases gone by. Hope you can join us then.
Right, can we swap now? Can I have the one without the limiter?
It's only fair.
Subtitles by Red Bee Media Ltd
E-mail [email protected]
Matt and Ellie head to Great Britain's largest lake, Loch Lomond in Scotland. Matt explores the islands of the Loch and helps one resident exercise his horses by swimming with them.
Ellie explores the Loch's darker side by investigating the anti-social behaviour which goes on once the summer tourists have left. She goes on patrol with the police, looking for evidence of poaching and vandalism.
John Craven investigates our insatiable appetite for water - and asks whether, in the future, there will be enough to go around. On Adam's farm the latest results are due from his TB testing, and it is time for the cattle to come in for the winter. And James Wong is in Snowdonia looking for evidence of plants and animals left behind by the ice age.