Matt Baker and Ellie Harrison visit the Isle of Wight. Matt explores the locations where a real Warrior war horse was raised, trained and died and became a legend in the process.
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The Isle of Wight. England's largest island.
A mosaic of contrasting landscapes.
Clifftop trails, sandy beaches
and lush meadows make this a walker's Paradise.
Love is in the air,
and with Valentine's Day just a couple of days away,
I'm going to be meeting some hopeful singles
taking part in speed date walking.
But is it possible to find love on an island in a five-minute walk?
-It worked for me!
-Did it? Oh!
And, while Matt is romantically engaged, I'll be seeing how,
50 years ago, the Isle of Wight's wild side brought a new sport
to this part of the world.
It may seem unlikely, but winter is the perfect time
to go surfing off the south side of the island,
but how would this original wooden surfboard fare against those waves?
We'll be putting it to the test.
Back on the mainland, John uncovers the dangers of our country roads.
New statistics compiled for Countryfile reveal that
young drivers in rural areas are far more likely to be killed or injured
than those living in towns and cities.
I'll be investigating why and discovering how, using tactics
like this skid car, safety experts are trying to reduce the dangers.
Meanwhile, Adam is taking a trip away from the farm.
This ship is being loaded with 3,750 tonnes of barley,
and some of it's mine.
I'll be seeing why my crop is being exported
to the brewing giants of Germany.
The Isle of Wight lies off the Hampshire coast
between the Solent and the English Channel.
It's just 23 miles by 13, but, in sheer variety of landscapes,
it punches way above its weight.
West Wight is the less populated, remoter side of the isle.
This is a landscape that has been walked
and enjoyed by some eminent people.
Alfred Lord Tennyson and Queen Victoria to name just two.
But, as well as being a haven for walkers and Victorian nobility,
these downs have bred countless generations of horses.
One of which was to become a legend.
His name was Warrior, and his fame was forged
in the turmoil of the First World War.
This was the so-called Great War.
Man and animal, fighting side-by-side
in the most devastating conflict the world had ever seen.
Millions never returned.
Michael Morpurgo's book, War Horse, adapted for the stage,
and more recently, a Spielberg film,
depicted this man-made hell from an equine point of view.
Well, the war horse that everyone is talking about at the moment
is a work of fiction, but the Isle of Wight's Warrior is true.
Racing journalist and former jockey Brough Scott
knows the story of this heroic horse better than anyone.
It was Brough's grandfather who owned Warrior, and took him to war.
So, this is the horse you're going to be riding out on then, Brough.
This is Laddie, the massive Laddie.
And this is Sky, your very own Warrior.
So we're going to take a little ride
out over the landscape that Warrior would be used to?
Yes, this is Where warrior was born,
and it's a gorgeous place to ride in.
-Sea and downs.
-Lifts the heart.
Warrior was born here in West Wight in 1908.
He soon lived up to his name.
This is quite an iconic field that we are in now, I understand.
Sidling Paul, it's called.
Warrior was here from yearling right through to three year-old
And, just here, grandpa would have got on him the first time
and he bucked him off, three times running.
And he sat there and said, "Now, listen,
"you're going to have to make this work for me."
Anyway, they then rode on together for the next 30 years.
The feisty young Warrior enjoyed his early years
in the idyllic surroundings here in West Wight.
But, with the coming of war, Brough's grandfather,
by this time a cavalry general,
decided to take his precious six-year old into combat.
What kind of situations were these horses riding into?
Well, they're riding into shells landing
literally in front of you, and bullets knocking them over.
And, of course, horses are very big targets.
And remember, this is mud, a lot of it, horrible.
A lot of the horses were pack horses, pulling things.
And because the mud all got churned up,
and they would literally sink in and die where they were.
And Warrior, at Passchendaele, he sank right into the mud
and only, but for the luck of the people around him, who got him out.
Escaping the mud at Passchendaele wasn't the only time
Warrior survived when many around him perished.
His front-line service took him to all the major battlefields,
from Ypres to the Somme.
But, his bravery and fortune were legendary,
and carried him through the duration of the war.
Soldiers must have wanted to come and see this horse, you know,
as he went into battle after battle,
and everyone suddenly realised that this horse was just invincible.
Well, that's the thing,
that he became the ultimate mascot.
And he stands still when the shells fall,
and there would be bullets whirring, you can imagine
the sort of inspiration he would give other people.
When he died in 1941, his obituary in the Times,
the headline said, The Horse The Germans Could Not Kill.
What had sealed Warrior's status as a war hero
was his leading of a cavalry charge in 1918 near Amiens,
which crucially checked the German advance.
But, even after his war exploits, Warrior still wasn't finished.
When he came home, he still wanted to run.
He became a racehorse. He won the Isle of Wight point-to-point.
And he won it, four years to the day
when he led the cavalry charge at Moreuil Wood.
And what was rather sweet, normally, after a race, the horse is led away,
and the owners all pat each other on the back and go and have a drink.
And my grandfather said, no, set him up again,
and the two of us are going home together.
He rode him up over the downs, and home.
It was too important an anniversary.
To share it with anybody else.
Warrior saw out his days in peace,
on the island where he'd been born and raised.
Over 70 years have passed since he died.
Warrior had destiny on his side.
And he seems destined to be remembered for many years to come.
Now, every day, more than 70 people are killed or seriously injured
on Britain's roads, but there's a far greater chance
of being involved in an accident if you live in the countryside.
John has been to find out why.
Cheers, Sky. Really enjoyed that.
Britain's roads are some of the safest in the world.
Despite the massive rise in the number of vehicles we're using,
in the last 40 years, deaths have fallen by more than two thirds.
But there are still problems that are proving difficult to crack.
You might think that our quiet country roads are far less dangerous
than those in towns and cities,
where the traffic can often be bumper-to-bumper.
But, in fact, the opposite is true. And, on rural roads,
it's younger drivers who are in greatest danger.
Now, for the first time,
Countryfile can put a figure on just how much greater those risks are.
We're working with a company called Road Safety Analysis,
who've put together a detailed study of rural accidents,
based on the number of drivers on a particular kind of road.
The results are pretty stark.
Young drivers living in the countryside are 47 % more likely
to be killed or injured in a road accident
than those living in urban areas.
So, why are the risks on country roads so much greater?
Two teenage friends killed by a disqualified driver...
Paramedics were called but the driver was pronounced dead...
..facing the wrong way up the carriageway
-and was struck by another car...
-In Lincolnshire, serious accidents
are a regular feature on the nightly news bulletins.
Most roads here are surrounded by farmland.
There's no motorway and few dual carriageways.
In the past, it's had one of the worst road safety records in the UK.
I can see the white lines in the centre of the road have got longer
indicating I'm approaching a hazard.
On patrol today is PC Jim Wollaton.
The area he looks after is very different
from the busy streets covered by his urban colleagues.
We've got such an eclectic mix of vehicles and drivers.
From vehicles moving at higher speeds,
obviously, a passenger car at 60 miles an hour,
right down to the agricultural vehicles at 15, 20 miles an hour.
And we've got some very fast roads.
This one in particular, the A15, is a very straight road all the way,
this stretch, from Lincoln to Sleaford.
You would think that visibility is good.
But it is single carriageway here as well?
It is and whilst cars can be doing 60 miles an hour,
HGVs shouldn't be doing more than 40.
Time and time again, officers like Jim have seen driving here
that simply beggars belief.
Their own figures show that the faster you travel,
the more likely you are to be killed or injured
or to do the same to someone else.
Despite the county's long, straight roads,
bends are a particular problem,
as is overtaking.
Within the last couple of years, I've attended a collision where
a young driver performed an ill-advised overtake
on a slower moving vehicle,
on quite a good stretch of road, although it was a rural back road.
Unfortunately, he came into collision head on
with a young lad on his motorcycle.
The young man who died was John van Spike.
His mother Emma has agreed to talk to us.
I believe that he had left late that day
and it was the week after the clocks had gone back
so it was dark and it was raining.
He set off on his motorbike from home.
Probably a third of the way into the journey,
a car overtaking a taxi,
in fairly bad driving conditions,
just hit him straight on.
John was just 18-years-old when he was killed.
Another young and inexperienced driver was charged
with causing his death but Emma felt he had suffered enough.
When the young driver appeared in court,
you did what many people will think, perhaps, is a remarkable thing.
You wrote a letter to the judge
asking him not to send this young man to prison.
Yes. I couldn't see that, on top of everything he had been through,
being in jail away from his family and support network,
was going to help him.
He was obviously very, very contrite and he just kept on saying,
"I didn't see him, I didn't see him."
-And he didn't go to jail, did he?
-No. He didn't.
I believe he had a driving ban
and community service.
Do you think anything can be learnt
from accidents like the one that killed your son?
It seems that the onus has been on speed,
and obviously, I don't know enough about that,
but I have observed a lot of careless driving.
Having driven myself for quite some years,
I am surprised at the overconfidence that I see on the roads.
That overconfidence combined with inexperience is a dangerous mix
and our research shows that young people are two thirds more likely
to be involved in serious accidents than older drivers,
maybe because they just don't realise how vulnerable they are.
I think to some extent once people get into their vehicle,
they're in their own little bubble and feel protected.
Whilst they might consider that they don't want to get caught speeding,
I don't think people appreciate they're also at risk from having
a serious or even fatal collision.
This can be a problem anywhere,
but the nature of rural roads seems to increase those risks,
especially as people in the countryside
tend to make longer journeys.
Kevin Delaney is from the Institute of Advanced Motorists.
Is part of the danger, do you think, the fact that people have the thrill
of an open road in the countryside?
I think the big danger, John, is that if you look at it,
this road looks safe. If you think about city streets or the motorways,
there is something about them which makes us feel uneasy.
They seem inherently unsafe.
So we actually take a lot more care about how we use them.
You come to a road like this, and especially on a day like this,
it looks so safe that nothing bad could ever happen here.
It lulls into a false sense of security
because, of course, roads like this
do have their hazards. They're just different hazards.
So exactly how do we persuade young people to take more care
on country roads? That's what I'll be asking in a few minutes' time.
This week, Matt and I are taking in
the rugged scenery of the Isle of Wight.
'I'm exploring its wild west coast and I couldn't help but notice
'one feature that just keeps recurring.'
Come and check this out.
We've got Cowleaze Chine, Shepherd's Chine,
Whale Chine, Ladder Chine
and they carry on all the way across the back here.
But what are they?
Geologist Trevor Price is going to show me.
If we have a look at the map, they are tiny, little, short,
steep-sided valleys and the clue is in the rivers.
There's a little stream approaching each one of these things
and basically they dive over the top of the cliff
very, very quickly down to the sea
and they leave a very steep-sided, very short, little valley.
We call those chines.
'So this is a little baby one, this is a new one'
It's probably going to get bigger as it eats its way into the cliff.
If we look at the map from about 30 years ago,
it's not here. It's actually marked as being a little waterfall.
But it's not only the chines that are exciting geologists.
As erosion by the sea causes the chines to cut deeper
into the cliff face, they are revealing prehistoric treasures.
-Any ideas at all?
-It looks like a rock.
-It is a rock.
Trevor's taken local school pupils on a journey back in time.
We are looking here at an object that is about 126-million-years-old.
We can see that it's got a point here and a point there
and another point there.
That makes it really special.
It's a foot cast and it's a foot cast from a very large dinosaur.
Whoa! That's really awesome.
-It's amazing, isn't it?
The fascination with chines and their hidden secrets
goes back some 200 years.
Shanklin Chine was the island's first tourist attraction.
This is so much bigger than the one I've seen.
It's like a tropical paradise in winter.
It's lush forest drew famous Victorian admirers...
Keats, Turner, Jane Austen.
Today, the chine is owned by Anne Springman.
It's been in her family since 1705.
It's got a unique microclimate here
so a lot of people compare it to a tropical rainforest.
It's very famous for its flora
and fauna and we have all these liverworts
and mosses and lichens
and some of them have never been discovered anywhere else.
Is this all natural or have you planted anything here?
No, it's completely natural.
I've had to uncover all its history, gradually.
I've always known about it but we came down after the war
and it was the first time. It was just known as
a shortcut to the beach.
Is there a lot of responsibility
that comes with having a feature like this?
Yes. You do have a great responsibility to maintain it.
It is so unique and it's got this wonderful, magical quality.
Here at Shanklin, work has been done
to prevent the chine from cutting further inland.
But elsewhere, it's a different story.
The Military Road runs
all along the cliff top on the south side of the island
and it's a major tourist attraction. People come here to drive it,
to walk it and to cycle it because the views out there are stunning.
The trouble is, as these chines or valleys cut deeper into the island,
over time, they will literally take out the road.
But conservationists are worried that holding back the sea
could threaten me chines and the wildlife that call them home.
These cliffs are protected. They're internationally important
for their geology and their invertebrate interest.
There's potter wasps and mining bees and mason bees
and they like all this water coming out with the mud and the sand.
They build their little cells
that they lay their eggs in on this stuff.
With the island's chines causing wildlife to thrive
but our infrastructure to crumble,
the scene is set for an interesting conflict.
Earlier we heard how there's a greater chance of being injured
or killed while driving in the countryside than driving in cities.
So is there anything that can be done to make our rural roads safer?
John's been investigating.
Countryfile has been given figures that illustrate for the first time
just how much more dangerous it is
to drive on rural roads, particularly if you're young.
The statistics from road safety analysis show people under 30
are 37% more likely to be killed or injured in the countryside.
Young rural drivers are the highest risk group so what can be done?
The biggest problem is the actual lack of driving experience.
As you might expect, the riskiest time for any new driver
is during the first year after they've passed the test.
These students from Kesteven and Sleaford High School
in Lincolnshire are all new drivers.
Do they realise the dangers they could be facing?
Once you pass your test, you're really confident
and you want to go out and show your friends that you can drive
so you probably don't think about the safety.
Although your test teaches you how to pass your test,
I don't know if it teaches you how to drive. Experience,
you don't get much of it.
You maybe get a bit cocky and think you know everything,
but really, you've not got much experience on the road.
In Lincolnshire, young drivers are singled out
by the county's Road Safety Partnership for special training.
It was set up a decade ago with the aim of
making the roads safer for everyone.
Since then, the number being killed or seriously injured has dropped
by more than 40% and the figure is even greater for young people.
Young drivers in Lincolnshire represent 30% of the casualties.
We've reduced that by 50%,
just by educational programs and the things we interact with them.
And by things like this. A skid car. How does this work?
Well, this is almost a technical innovation.
Rather than an oily pan that we would normally use,
we can make the car rear-steer and over steer and under steer.
-On a normal surface like this?
-Yes, on a normal surface.
We don't have to train them to make it skid. We can do that for them.
We just have to train them how to recover the car.
So, what will our students learn from a session in the skid car?
I'm scared. What do I do?!
You'll feel the steering phone, OK?
It can seem like a bit of fun but this training is teaching Olivia
what it's like to lose control of a car
and how to recover it before she has an accident.
So, has the experience made an impression?
-How was it?
-That was so weird. I don't even know how to explain it.
It was so strange. It was like driving when there was ice there.
Seeing those two in the back... It's an eye opener,
but it was scary. I thought I was going into the cones a few times.
Methods like this are increasingly being used across the country.
They're even more effective when put together with better enforcement
and improvements to the roads.
But some groups would like to go even further.
We want the Government
to reduce the default speed limits on rural roads to 50.
But we also need drivers to change their attitudes towards rural roads.
The road safety charity Brake wants to see not only lower speed limits
but also a new way of introducing young drivers to our roads.
You would have a minimum learning period, say, of a year.
-Before you get your licence?
-Before you can take your test
and get your licence, yes. Then, after you get your licence,
you would have a restricted licence for the first year.
There would be restrictions such as, zero tolerance drink drive limit.
So that's no alcohol before driving.
And a curfew, a night-time curfew,
and also restrictions on having young passengers,
people who are your age in the car with you.
The reason we're calling for this is we know it works in other countries.
This is when all the crashes happen for young people.
But what about the roads themselves? Could they be made safer?
Part of Lincolnshire's success has come from better signs
and safer junctions, but that all costs money.
So why don't we just bring down the national speed limits?
There is obviously some scope for reducing speed limits
-on local roads like this.
-What about reducing it from 60 to 50 everywhere?
If speed limits are going to be effective,
they've got to be virtually self-enforcing.
They have to be logical to road users.
If they don't see the logic, they're less likely to respect them,
they're less likely to keep to the speed limit.
So the idea of reducing from 60 to 50 everywhere,
I think is going to be counter-productive
and what it will actually lead to is people not obeying the speed limit
and then possibly disobeying the next speed limit they come to
which otherwise might have seemed logical.
The success they've had in Lincolnshire clearly shows
the dangers of rural roads can be reduced even for young people.
Across the UK, we may never be able to make driving in the countryside
as safe as it is in towns and cities, but we can make it safer.
Still to come on tonight's Countryfile,
Adam's following his barley to the great brewing houses of Germany...
So we leave the police boat behind and now we're motoring upstream
and my barley's on board.
Ellie gets a crash course in surfing...
Paddle, paddle, paddle, push, off, go. Perfect.
But will she be able to handle the Isle's Whitewater?
And if you're heading to the coast this weekend,
we'll have the Countryfile forecast for the week ahead.
The Isle of Wight may be part of England,
but as an island it feels removed from the mainstream world
in its affairs, a kind of retreat.
So maybe it's not surprising that here on its north coast
is one of the UK's few Benedictine monasteries.
The abbey has kindly allowed James to spend a day getting an insight
into the life of the monks here.
And monastic life starts early.
I can tell you the first thing about being a monk, it means 8pm lights out
and a 5am wake-up time, which, I can tell you,
for someone who doesn't really get to bed before 1am,
I haven't had a huge amount of sleep.
So I'm really looking forward to seeing what this day has to offer.
'Quarr Abbey was founded on this site in 1132.
'For 400 years, the monks lived a peaceful life of seclusion,
'prayer and devotion to God.'
So being a severely lapsed Catholic
who hasn't been to church in pretty much 20 years or so,
that brought back lots of memories but was strangely unfamiliar,
so I'm really looking forward to catching up with the monks
over breakfast and finding out what's in store for me the rest of the day.
'Unfortunately, the monks prefer to have breakfast away from the cameras,
'while I have to respect the rules and have mine in absolute silence.'
'After a contemplative breakfast...
'..it's service number two.'
After morning services, the monks return to their rooms
to read scripture and to pray.
And as this is something I've not really done before,
I'm really happy to have the guidance of Father Luke
who's offered to be my mentor to guide me through the whole process.
The whole purpose of our life here is to open our hearts to God.
And we do that in the silence, really.
God speaks in the silence more than in anything.
I'm going to suggest psalm 62
because that actually rather nicely sums up what we're trying to do.
-Thank you very much. Psalm 62?
"For God alone my soul waits in silence. From him comes my salvation.
"He alone is my rock and my salvation,
"my fortress, I shall never be shaken."
'In 1536, King Henry VIII dissolved the monasteries.
'The mediaeval Quarr Abbey was dismantled
'and the remains fell into ruins.
'Then in 1901, an order of monks in exile from France
'came to the Isle of Wight seeking a new home.
'It was they who built the abbey which graces the skyline today.
'Centuries had passed but the purpose remained and remains the same.
'To seek and praise God.'
So far today, it's all been about service, silence and prayer.
But now the day starts properly, so does the work.
Work is a big part of abbey life, presumably?
It's a big part of Benedictine life.
There's a tradition that working is a sort of prayer.
Labora est ora. To work is to pray.
-So what did you do before you were a monk?
-I was a teacher.
I'm very interested to find out about how you become a monk
if it isn't part of your careers guidance you get in school.
Perhaps we should introduce it. It's not a career though.
It's more a way of life.
It's perhaps closer to getting married than to having a job.
Would you consider it a sacrifice, leaving the wider world?
It's also a gift. There's a saying that in God nothing is neglected.
If everything's kept in being with God, if you've got God,
you've got everything.
So it's a net gain, really.
Along with the fruit trees, Quarr Abbey has a vegetable garden
and also rears its own pigs.
Any pig farmers out there...
I know a lot about plants, nothing about animals.
Any produce the monks don't eat
goes to their cafe which is open to the public.
The fourth service of the day is short,
a quick reminder of the monks' higher calling.
At lunch, speaking is not allowed.
But I'm kind of getting used to that.
Next, there's some downtime
and Father Luke takes me to a place he finds especially inspiring.
This is an amazing view at the bottom of your garden path.
Yes, there's the mainland over there. I actually prefer it
when it's shrouded in mist
and we can truly feel that we're on an island.
The sea is, for me, a sort of symbol of eternity.
Many of the most important moments that I've spent here
have been down here by the sea
and they've been on bits of land that have now crumbled into the sea,
just as moments of our life fade into eternity.
-Do you know the poem by Tennyson, Crossing the Bar?
-No, I don't.
It's a poem about crossing to the mainland from here
and he develops that as a symbol of the journey into the next life.
and he says,
"At the end of it,
"I hope to see my pilot face to face when I have crossed the bar."
And that really is our aspiration too,
one day to go beyond this life
and to see God face to face.
My extraordinary day finishes with one last chore
and one last service.
You know, before coming to a place like this,
it's so easy to think of a monk's life as a spartan existence,
almost a form of self punishment, in many ways.
But having only been here 12 hours,
you suddenly stop seeing just what it deprives you of,
but what it offers you, this feeling of contentment,
a sense of purpose, a feeling of peace
and this really tight-knit community, which so many people just don't have,
these guys have got it in bucket loads.
ELLIE: Life's a lot less serene on the south side of the island.
Here in winter, it's wild.
Crashing waves are whipped up by Atlantic storms.
When there are waves like that,
there's always someone willing to take them on.
And I'm going to be joining them in February.
I must be out of my mind.
At this time of year and in this weather,
it's only the pros out there. I'm really not one of those
but, thankfully, I'm going to be in good hands.
-How are you doing there, Scott?
-Hi, Ellie. How are you?
I'm amazed that this is the time of year people would come out surfing.
I know, it's pretty cold, but as you see today,
there's a few waves behind us.
Is this the time of year that you'd only get the pros out there?
The really passionate ones?
You've got to be die-hard to surf in England.
I've never surfed successfully before. Can I have a lesson?
-Sure, we can see if we can get you standing up.
When we're on the water,
what do you think will happen if you lay too far forward?
I'll fall off the front.
Put your hands under your chest, put your toes up first, push up pull.
I haven't got the abs for this!
Paddle, paddle, paddle, paddle, push, hop, go.
OK, let's go.
'That's the basics out of the way. Time to hit the surf.
'But nothing could have prepared me for this.'
This is lazy surfing by Ellie Harrison.
I've got to get on my feet.
SHE WHOOPS AND CHEERS
'That was awesome. Scott has taught me well.
'But I'm still not quite ready to join the league of pro surfers
'this island has turned out.'
That was amazing fun. To find out how
this Isle of Wight surf scene started,
we need to travel back in time to the 1960s.
# Listen to the king of the surf guitar... #
The craze may have kicked off in sun-drenched California,
but it wasn't long before it swept the shores of the Isle of Wight.
# Listen to the king. #
In the '60s, the only way to get a surfboard on the island
was to make your own.
Pioneer surfers hit the waves on home-made wooden boards,
and at the heart of that scene was this man, Archie Trickett.
Sadly, Archie died last year, aged 89, but his wife Betty remembers
their surf days here at Compton Bay like they were yesterday.
So, Betty, how did Archie get into surfing in the first place?
-Heaven knows! We started with the belly boards.
We came down here one day, nobody else has belly boards,
and somebody had been on holiday in Torquay
and brought the belly boards.
So Archie said, "We'll go home and make them."
And then his friend came and he said, "Let's do surfboards."
So I don't know where he got the design from or anything.
How long did it take him to make that board on top of your car?
-A few weeks, I expect.
It's pretty sizeable.
How did you get it down to the beach?
We had a motorbike and sidecar.
-He fixed it so it stood over, it lay over the top of the sidecar.
And then we put it on our car.
But he used to have a towel on his head and carry it on his head.
There's a photo of you on the motorbike there.
-He taught me to ride his motorbike.
350 Velocet, very tough bike to ride.
-And look, there's you surfing!
-That's on the board.
That's my wetsuit in action.
That's what we got here. Let's have a look.
Aren't they fantastic?
Where on Earth did you get a design like best from?
Well, it wasn't a design.
Just the material, the zip and those two fasteners
and the tape and the glue.
So how would you feel, Betty,
if we got one of the surfers out there today...
It would be lovely to see it launched again!
Oh, I think it would be lovely! It's been waiting for somebody to use.
Archie and his contemporaries' pioneering spirit
is still alive and kicking.
The island surf club is thriving.
Every winter, they run frostbite competitions,
so they are pretty used to surfing on a day like today.
Here it is! Look at that!
So, Matt, you've just carried that. What do you make of its weight?
Yeah, pretty heavy piece of kit, actually, compared to modern boards.
For the time, it's an amazing thing
to have built in a home and then used,
and for it to be functional and to work is incredible.
It's in amazing nick, isn't it? How about this?
-Any takers for Archie's old wetsuit?
-Maybe on a summer's day.
Well, I'm not going to make you try the wetsuit on,
but are there any takers for Archie's board on the waves?
-I think I'll have a go at that.
-You're going to have a go, Alan?
You're a longboard champion, aren't you?
Yes, British Longboard Masters Champion 2011.
-So you'll be a dab hand at one of these, maybe?
-Ooh, hope so.
So how does it feel now to see Alan take out Archie's old board?
-It just looks like him going out there.
Here he goes. How about it?! That board's doing amazingly!
Oh, well done!
He's got it and he's up. Yes, that's great.
-Doing a great job.
-Oh, look at them! Brilliant!
-Just looks like him out there.
-Still surfing well, that board.
-Yeah, that was great, Alan! How was the board?
-Great fun. A privilege and an honour.
-Oh, it's lovely!
-A wonderful board.
The Isle of Wight's new surf generation
owe a lot to these pioneers.
This '60s craze has certainly stood the test of time.
Over to the Cotswolds now, where Adam's discovering
why his barley is the toast of drinkers across the world.
And with all that hard work down on the farm,
he's certainly worked up a thirst.
We grow quite a lot of grass on the farm for sheep and cattle,
but most of the fields are used for growing arable crops,
wheat, oilseed rape and barley.
Last year, we grew about 400 acres of malting barley for making beer,
and today, some of that is about to start an incredible journey.
'Elved Phillips is my grain trader.
'It's his job to get the best price for my crops.
'He's managed to sell this lot, barley,
'to a country famed for its beer.'
-So why are we selling it to Germany?
-It's going there because we have
a 300,000 tonne surplus malting barley crop in the UK each year.
It's got to go somewhere, and the Germans need the barley.
They can't rely on Denmark and France always, because although
they produce big surpluses,
sometimes the quality, like this year, isn't very good,
so they spread their risk by buying from the UK.
Well, the shed's getting empty now. It's pretty good stuff, isn't it?
It certainly is. You've got some good grain size, some good colour.
I'm going to just put a bit through
these old barley cutters of mine. Used to use these 20, 30 years ago
when I started going to corn exchanges and buying barley,
because it would give you a quick cut and a good guide
as to what the barley nitrogen is.
Then you finish up showing a bed of barley which,
if it was white in colour, like a hound's tooth, you'd know
the barley was going to be low enough in nitrogen to make malt.
So, along with my barley, I'm heading 50 miles south
to Avonmouth docks, where the ship Merit awaits her cargo.
Here it is! This is the barley from my farm
being unloaded out of the grain hatch there.
It goes up the elevator, up that conveyor and then into the ship.
It really feels quite satisfying to be down here seeing it
on the second leg of its journey.
In a couple of hours' time when the tide is right,
the ship will set sail, and it's an amazing journey for my barley
that was planted on the farm about a year ago.
It's now being joined by barley from 20 other farms
into the hull of the ship that will go through the English Channel,
into the North Sea, all the way to the port of Rotterdam.
This 660-mile crossing will take two days.
At Rotterdam, the barley will be transferred
to a river barge on the Rhine. Four days later, it will reach Bonn.
That's where I'll be joining it
for the final leg of its journey to Gernsheim.
Over there is Bonn, the original German capital,
but I've got no time for sightseeing.
I've got a boat to catch.
-Nice to meet you.
We're getting some very extra-special treatment.
We're being taken out to the barge on this police boat.
The Rhine is running incredibly fast
and there's a huge amount of traffic going up and down the river.
But we're in good hands.
We leave the police boat and Bonn behind,
and now we're motoring upstream.
My barley's on board.
The family that run this barge live on it and work on it.
They've even got the family car going with them.
'I'm meeting Kase, a Dutchman who's charted the barge which is
'taking my barley to the malting house.'
So, getting my barley from Avonmouth to Gernsheim,
what part is your responsibility?
Our part, our responsibility is to take the cargo over to
Rotterdam and bring it to Gernsheim. It's for the Rhine area.
It's quite a long way, but we seem to be going quite slowly.
Yes, we are very slowly now, because of the level of the river.
We are around eight kilometres.
These barges take around four days to come into Gernsheim
where you will unload this cargo.
You can really see why
so many tourists took flock to the Rhine during the summer.
Beautiful vineyards along the hillside
and castles dotted along the top,
and of course, during the World War, the Rhine was a huge barrier
and there were some fierce battles fought here,
so it's steeped in history.
Evidence of war scores the landscape here.
Black pillars mark the point where the Allies crossed
the Ludendorff Bridge into mainland Germany.
It was later dismantled to accommodate cargo boats
like the one I'm travelling on today.
A boat like this cost around 1 million euros.
For the family that live on board,
it's not only the way they make their living,
but their second home too.
'Right, time for a quick catch-up with the family over lunch.'
-And how long have you lived on the barge?
-As a child, I was always on the barge.
-And so you're going to stay here all your life too.
The evening's setting in now, and there's not enough room
for me to hunker down on the barge, so I've joined the police boat again
and I'm heading to shore to find myself a B&B for the night.
It's just been incredible joining my barley
and meeting the family on the barge and finding out what goes on.
In the morning, I'm off to the malting house,
the final destination for my barley.
It takes a week for my barley to cross the Channel
and come up the Rhine to Gernsheim here
which is slap-bang on the banks of the Rhine,
very convenient to unload the barley through a series of pipes
and conveyors that takes it over to that massive building.
These storage towers, apparently,
will store a whole barge-worth of barley.
Inside this monolith of a building is a hugely technical malt house.
I'm off to meet the manager.
Berthold's taking me right to the top of the plant
where the barley begins its conversion to malt.
So we're right at the top of the building now.
What's happening to the barley in here?
It's the first step of malt production.
It's called steeping. This is the steeping house.
We raise the water content from 14% in the barley
up to 40% in the first step here.
I have it at 14% in the barn at home, so it stores,
but here you want to get it wet so it germinates and starts to grow.
It will start the germination to build the enzymes
for later for the brewing process.
So how long will it take you to use up the barge load?
-It's one week.
'The barley is now gravity-fed through pipes
'until it arrives below in the germination box.'
So for the barley's life with you,
this is day two and the next level down.
Yes, it's day two of the steeping.
And we see here the germination box, the second step of malt production.
So now the barley has started to germinate.
It's putting out all its little roots.
Yes, you can see the roots.
I know the barley we produce on the farm has to be grown
to a high germination, because that's important to you.
The germination capacity of barley is a big point for us,
so we can only produce from germinated barley.
Is this called malt now?
No. If you smell it, it smells a little bit green.
Now it's no longer barley. We call it now green malt.
The living seed now goes to the kiln room,
which is the last stage of the process.
It's absolutely boiling in here!
Yes, we have over 60 degrees here
and that's the final step of malt reduction. It's called kilning,
and it's a place where we build, smell and taste,
and we remove the water and dry it up to 4% of moisture content.
So it's very, very dry.
Yes, it's very dry and you can see the dry rootlets
and you can have a smell...
..and a taste. And that's for the character of the beer,
and if you stay a little bit longer in your mouth,
it goes sweet so the enzymes are working now.
It's crunchy like a biscuit. It's lovely.
Really lovely. Great stuff.
So this is malt.
This is now malt.
And after this process, we do it in malt storage silos
and it's ready for delivery to our customers all over the world.
Barley from my little, old farm in the Cotswolds.
Here in Germany, turned into malt,
and then it could get exported anywhere in the world.
I sold my barley for £200 a tonne.
By the time it's made into beer, it's worth around £40,000 a tonne.
It's been really fascinating following my barley
from the farm down to Avonmouth when it went on the ship,
and then picking it up coming up the Rhine here, all the way to the malt,
and so many farmers load grain onto lorries on the farm,
and never really know where it ends up.
Just one last thing to do though - try the local brew.
MATT: Back on the Isle of Wight, I'm developing a taste
for these wonderful views
but for some romantic souls, views aren't enough.
The Isle of Wight is a walker's paradise.
It's criss-crossed by over 500 miles of footpath
and every year, it holds the largest walking festival in the UK.
Now this week, I'm going to be trying a walk with a difference.
I'm joining this lot, who are speed-date walkers,
and they're ready to go!
You're very adventurous! You're like mountain goats!
I tell you what, anything could happen on this walk!
But before that, let's see what the weather centre is predicting
for the week ahead with the Countryfile forecast.
I'm on the Isle of Wight's south coast,
a setting for love in the landscape.
Now, I couldn't be happier with my wife
but for all of those people that are looking for love, this is for you.
We have a line for the ladies and a line for the men
and stand next to your appropriate number.
So Liz, you'll go with number one, who will actually be Matt.
If Liz decides she likes Matt, basically she'll put a big tick.
If Matt likes Liz, he'll tick also.
If there's two ticks, that's a perfect match.
After two minutes, Den will blow his whistle...
and then the gentlemen in the front will move to the back of the queue
and everybody moves forward.
This is speed-date walking and in honour of St Valentine,
I'm going to be meeting a succession of charming ladies.
Until the whistle blows, I'll be with Liz.
People come because they like to walk in the countryside
and they like to see the nice landscape,
so you've automatically got shared interests.
So what is the best chat-up line you've heard?
What was my first car was probably a memorable one?
What's your first car? I'll try that one. Nice to see you.
We're swapping over now.
-Oh, hi. I'm Fran.
It's quite a bizarre thing, this, isn't it.
It is a bit weird. It's fun though.
It's a really nice way to meet people
cos everyone gets a bit of a giggle out of it.
-How's it going so far.
-0K! It's good.
I've met somebody I already know.
No. Some nice friendly people,
but I don't think quite potential, I'm afraid.
Roxy's from Spain.
How did you end up in the Isle of Wight on a speed-dating walk?
I don't know!
How did you hear about this?
Well, long time ago, you know, because I came originally in 1996
and then I moved to Jersey with my ex-husband,
and it's now nearly five years that I'm divorced.
I just can't find love in this island!
Do you fancy a tall gentleman, like Paul?
I think he's too young for me! I like more mature!
Things seem to be going swimmingly.
Maybe there is something in this speed-date walking.
How did this all start then? Where did it come from?
Basically, having organised the Isle of Wight Walking Festival,
a lot of people walk on their own, singles,
and it was suggested we did a speed-dating walk.
That was seven years ago.
During that seven years we've had three weddings,
we've had one speed-dating baby, born in August,
and we've got another wedding coming up in May.
And here they are. The happy couple. June and Mike.
-Lovely to see you both.
How long ago was it that you first met?
About three years, I think.
Take me back to that moment when the whistle went
and you swapped partners and that was it. What happened, Mike?
We started to talk near the end and the walk finished,
and we went to the pub with everybody else and had a drink
and the pub closed and I said to June,
"Do you want to get something to eat?"
And June went back to the hotel where she was staying
and I started to drive home and halfway home I thought,
"No, I don't want to leave it any longer", so I phoned you,
and said, "what are you doing tomorrow?"
she said "I'm going on a walk", so I said, "can I come with you?"
He actually proposed at the place where we first met
which was quite nice.
So it does work. What would you say to people out there
who may be thinking of this as an option?
If you don't try, how are you going to know?
Give it a go. See what happens.
That's all we've got time for from the romantic Isle of Wight.
Next week, Ellie will be in Ennerdale,
delving into the Countryfile archives
to find the wilder side of life. Hope you can join us then.
Subtitling by Red Bee Media Ltd
Matt Baker and Ellie Harrison visit the Isle of Wight. Matt explores the locations where a real Warrior war horse was raised, trained and died and became a legend in the process. Ellie tries her hand at winter surfing, testing out an original 50-year-old surfboard; and, two days before Valentine's Day, Matt meets the singles hoping to find love on a speed-date walk.
John Craven investigates new statistics that show young drivers are far more likely to be killed or injured on roads in the countryside than in the city. Adam follows his barley crop down the Rhine to the giant brewing houses of Germany, and James Wong has a 5am start as he walks in the footsteps of Benedictine monks for a day.