Lochaber Countryfile


Lochaber

Countryfile marks the sixtieth anniversary of the Duke of Edinburgh Awards scheme. Matt heads to the Scottish Highlands to meet a team taking part in five-day challenge.


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Transcript


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Big country with magnificent scenery, an adventurer's paradise.

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to celebrate a very special Diamond Jubilee.

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Yes, the Duke of Edinburgh Award Scheme is 60 years old this year.

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midway through their challenging expedition.

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This lot are canoeing, climbing and cycling for six days straight.

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It was just the sense of the unknown.

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Helen is with his Royal Highness, the Earl of Wessex,

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in the Peak District, finding out about the Scheme's enduring appeal.

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By getting people to do a type of physical activity,

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a type of volunteering, a type of expedition, hopefully

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they'll find a passion, the thing that drives them.

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As the grouse shooting season gets underway,

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Charlotte referees both sides of the argument.

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when the two sides are as far apart as you two are, by way of example?

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And Adam discovers that pigs have their own particular personalities.

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Glencoe, one of our most stunning landscapes.

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The UK's highest mountain, towering Ben Nevis.

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And glittering lochs, the gateway to the Great Glen.

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We are in Lochaber in the Highlands of Scotland,

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an area nicknamed the outdoor capital of Great Britain.

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To prove it, I'm heading to the Great Glen

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I'm on the lookout for some very special explorers.

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They are hiking, canoeing and cycling,

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all the way from Fort William to Edinburgh via Inverness,

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to mark the 60th anniversary of the Duke of Edinburgh Awards scheme

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Since it started, 2.5 million young men and women have walked, swum

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canoed and even danced their way to bronze, silver or gold awards.

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Including in 2000, an 18-year-old me,

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invited to Buckingham Palace with my dear old nan

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So, I'm well-qualified, if a little rusty,

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to join this team of six Duke of Edinburgh Gold Award holders,

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as they aim even higher on a special Diamond Challenge.

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So, Jen, everyone has heard of bronze, silver and gold

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Duke of Edinburgh awards, what is the Diamond Challenge all about

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The Diamond Challenge is more of everybody getting involved,

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whether they think it wants to be physical or a skill because D of E

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in itself has several different parts within it, to being an award,

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whereas this is more of a challenge for yourself and for a team.

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OK, so, talk me through, there's what six of you? Yep.

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What are you doing for your particular challenge?

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Then we're paddling the Great Glen from Fort William to Inverness

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Then we're going to cycle from Inverness to Edinburgh in two days.

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Wow! Today is the first day of canoeing.

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hopefully without me crashing into you too much!

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I'll only be here for the first day.

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So you've got all your stuff with you?

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You're camping, self-sufficient for five, six nights?

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It was the Duke of Edinburgh, Prince Philip,

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who launched the scheme back in 1956.

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It was designed to bridge the gap between leaving school

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He enlisted a hero of the day, Lord Hunt,

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leader of the famous 1953 expedition that conquered Everest.

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It's perfectly true that the aim is to give young people the

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chance and encouragement to live fully to discover their own

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particular talents and make the very best use of their leisure,

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not just filling in time any old how,

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but adventurously and purposefully and interestingly

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Prince Philip hoped the scheme would give young people new skills

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These are the boys of Dunstable Grammar School out on fire practice,

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ably assisted by the local Fire Brigade.

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Health and Safety may have changed a bit since those days

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but every year, 250,000 14 to 24-year-olds start their award

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Prince Philip still attends many of the award ceremonies.

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So, this Diamond Challenge has a lot to live up to.

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Now, on Friday, this year's grouse shooting season opened

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and shoots will be taking place on moorland across the UK.

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But it's one of our most controversial countryside sports.

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You may find some of the images in this film upsetting.

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Remote, breathtaking and at this time of year, glorious.

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August 12, otherwise known as the Glorious Twelfth,

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is the start of the red grouse season.

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Every year, thousands of people take part in driven grouse shoots,

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A day's shooting can be anything from ?800 to more than ?2,000.

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Its supporters claim it contributes ?100 million a year

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to the rural economy and underpins 4,000 jobs.

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In walked-up shooting, the birds are flushed out by dogs.

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But in driven grouse shooting, beaters force the birds to fly

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over a standing line of guns and the numbers shot are much higher.

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It is estimated that in the 201 season, 700,000 were killed.

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Which is one reason why this is one of the more controversial

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So, we've brought together people from opposite sides of the argument.

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For driven grouse shooting, Andrew Gilruth,

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From the Game and Wildlife Conservation Trust.

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who campaigns to ban driven grouse shooting.

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So, given these huge numbers, should we be doing this?

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The important point from a conservation perspective

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is actually what is on the ground afterwards.

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We know continuously from studies that some of our most

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threatened species exist in very high densities on grouse moors

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Its rich mosaic of habitat in this semi-natural habitat in the

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landscape that is behind us now is entirely down to what

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has been practised for generations on these moors.

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Driven grouse shooting is all about shooting

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large numbers of red grouse for fun.

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To produce those large numbers of red grouse for people to shoot

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you have to manage the habitat very intensively.

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That is actually where many of the problems come from.

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This is just a hobby, that's all it is.

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It needs to justify the damage it does to other species

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They can't be farmed so land is managed to maximise their numbers.

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stoats and crows are legally killed by gamekeepers.

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Other wildlife like black grouse and curlew flourish,

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So much so that they are often culled as well.

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But there are other predators, birds of prey.

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but some are still shot, trapped and poisoned.

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As Head of Investigations for the RSPB,

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Bob Elliott spends his life dealing with crimes like these.

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Hi, Bob, we picked a lovely day for this, didn't we?

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If you're managing the land for grouse,

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That is perfectly possible to do legally.

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What do you argue is actually happening then?

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We've had thousands of cases in 25 years of the illegal killing

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of birds of prey and lots of those cases are associated with the

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uplands where there is driven grouse shooting.

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So, the sheer desire to maximise the amount of grouse people have

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on the land is leading to criminal offences occurring.

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This year has been absolutely awful for the killing of birds of prey

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and every incident must be the tip of a much bigger iceberg.

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Can you definitely link those two in as confident a way as you just did?

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Yes, we are a conservation science organisation.

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I can only stand and talk to you because we have that science.

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So, who, in your mind, is doing this?

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I am very clear that gamekeepers are the people coming to court

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particularly with driven grouse moors.

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172 people were convicted of crimes against birds of prey in the UK

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I have come to the annual Game Fair here in Warwickshire to find out

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what the shooting lobby has to say about the illegal killing

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of birds of prey by members of their community.

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British Association for Shooting and Conservations, Duncan Thomas.

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The law is the law and there are strong wildlife laws in position

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Anybody found convicted of such offence would be expelled

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from our organisation. It does happen though, doesn't it?

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There might be a minute number of offences that occur.

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We will expel those people. We do not support it.

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We champion all the positivities of shooting.

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The shooting community is very good at policing itself.

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This argument surrounding birds of prey

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is perhaps the most heated part of the grouse shooting debate.

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Science shows that the bird called the hen harrier which is

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a particular problem on grouse moors, there ought to be

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300 pairs in England and this year there were three pairs.

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Can you honestly lay that simply at grouse shooting?

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Couldn't there be other environmental factors?

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I don't think anybody is going to argue that illegal persecution

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is anything other than the main and the vast

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majority of the problem for hen harriers.

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That is a bird that has been protected by law for over 60 years.

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Would you accept that, Andrew, that there is an issue with the

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illegal persecution, particularly of hen harriers?

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The incidents of interfering with birds of prey is going down.

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It is a known issue but I wouldn't suggest it is as big an issue

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Half of the suitable habitat that Mark's referring to for hen harriers

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doesn't have a gamekeeper on it at all,

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so it is a far more complicated picture

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than the one that he tries to suggest.

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Are you just oversimplifying this to get that hard message home? No

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Andrew is ducking the issue. You are just not facing up to reality.

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Look at the data on peregrines on grouse moors,

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look at the number of red kites that have died on grouse moors

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Wildlife crime is not a declining problem.

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Well, so Mark keeps saying, but actually the data doesn't show that.

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The disagreements continue but this isn't just an argument

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between small interest groups with little to do with the rest of us.

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Later I'll be looking at how the management of grouse moors

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has an impact far beyond the uplands.

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This is the Derbyshire Peak District,

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The great outdoors doesn't come much greater than this.

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It's where the right to roam was won back in the 1930s,

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and it's where I'm about to keep a royal appointment.

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I'm on the lookout for a bunch of intrepid explorers.

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of the Childwall Sports and Science Academy in Liverpool.

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They're all here practising for their Duke of Edinburgh Award.

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Teacher Stuart Cheetham will be keeping an eye on their progress.

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Try and find out where you are on the map using your compass.

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You need to start orientating the map

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so you know which way you're going to be travelling, OK?

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There are gold, silver and bronze awards.

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Bronze and silver involve learning a new skill,

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volunteering or undertaking an expedition,

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and there's an extra residential section at gold level.

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What made you sign up to Duke of Edinburgh in the first place, then?

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Well, it's kind of, like, very interesting, and...

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It's supposed to look good on your CV, so it's like...

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It'll benefit you if you wanted to go to university

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It's a very good experience, as well. Aye.

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Because, like, we don't normally ever go to the countryside

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cos we live in cities and stuff so it's good to be, like,

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out of our environment, and, like, have some freedom.

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Who has got the biggest backpack? Me!

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Is that because you've got... I've got... ..the most stuff? Yeah.

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I can hear tent pegs jangling somewhere.

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That for me is the short straw because they're hanging down behind

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'Today's expedition involves a nine-mile yomp

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'and it's their navigation and map-reading skills

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OK, so, we're going to look at what's called "take a bearing

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"from the map", and we're going to follow the compass direction, OK?

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Which direction do you think you're going to follow?

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Brilliant, exactly right - you're going to follow that direction arrow

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all the way in that direction towards those trees.

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The ladies are working towards their silver level

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of the Duke of Edinburgh. Yes. How hard is it?

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They're undertaking something that not many people do.

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It is so difficult for them to get on with it,

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get the right kit and know how to use all the maps, the compasses

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walk, and physically do it carrying that really big, heavy bag.

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They're on their own, independently making decisions for themselves

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We want them to have a lifelong love of the outside world,

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This is a big year for the Duke of Edinburgh Awards.

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It's 60 years since they first began.

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I'm joining His Royal Highness Prince Edward, the Earl of Wessex,

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out with a different group of youngsters,

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and this time, they're going for gold.

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These guys are doing their gold award, which you completed. Yep

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which is about, what, 65 miles, I suppose.

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I think people don't realise how many elements there are.

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That's the expedition, but there's volunteering, skill, sport,

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all the other bits of it. Yeah It's a big undertaking, isn't it?

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you can do bit by bit, do it in your own time,

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but the object of the exercise is to try and introduce you

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to other types of activities, to other types of passions.

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So, you may play football because all your mates play football.

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Is that really what is your passion? So...

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And so by getting people to do a type of physical activity,

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a type of volunteering, a type of expedition,

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hopefully, they'll find a passion, THEIR passion,

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the thing that drives them, and is what they really want to do.

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Six decades of success... Yeah. ..for the awards.

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Where'd you think they'll be in another 60 years?

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I think there's going to be a real continuing need for the D of E

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to help young people to develop and to push the boundaries.

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But if there was one ambition, it would be that any young person

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anywhere in the world can do it if they want to.

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'But the Earl is keen to push still further,

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'and he's calling on Countryfile to help.'

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I was going to set one of your team a little bit of a challenge.

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I come across many young people who come across livestock...

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And for many people who come from cities or what have you,

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that's a bit of a shock to the system,

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and it would be brilliant if you could come up with some useful tips

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Sheep are not too bad, but cattle seem to be the big problem.

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HE LAUGHS A new chapter, livestock handling!

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There are plenty of stories of people disappearing over

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So, Team Countryfile - yes, that is you.

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If you have any tips to pass on to his Royal Highness,

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get in touch with the programme via Twitter or the website.

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Now it's time to catch up with the silver award pupils I met earlier.

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'And by the look of things, the challenge is taking its toll.'

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Oh, he's not stopping, he's head down!

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'But it's downhill to the camp, and in no time at all, the tents are up,

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'the rucksacks are off, and there's a sense of relief in the air.'

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This is a very organised camp! GIRLS LAUGH

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It was...great, but it was tiring as well. Yeah.

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How many hours did you walk for in the end?

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Six hours or something. Six hours of walking.

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I'm impressed, seriously, guys hats off!

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How different is this for you guys, because you live in Liverpool

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It was a big contrast, because we wouldn't usually...

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like, some of us wouldn't usually camp,

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If you weren't here, what would you be doing?

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because this is a big break in the norm for you

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Like, you get a good experience and, like,

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a sense of self sufficiency, and when you're older,

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you'll be able to, like, provide for yourself.

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towards their silver Duke of Edinburgh Award,

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but the real tests lie in the months ahead.

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For now, though, it's all smiles at a job well done.

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CAMERA CLICKS Brilliant work.

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The majestic splendour of the Scottish Highlands.

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Getting out there, finding a connection with nature,

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is something that enriches our lives.

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But what happens when things go wrong?

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The elements overwhelm us, we lose our way or fall,

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or simply find ourselves in need of rescue?

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If you're unlucky enough to find yourself in such a situation,

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86-year-old living legend Hamish MacInnes,

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will have had some part in saving you.

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When it comes to mountain rescue, Hamish literally wrote the book

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When I came to live here, there was a rescue team,

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and they went out with their Wellington boots and whatnot,

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and there was no money to buy anything else,

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and started getting money in so they could buy boots and that.

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Hamish led Glencoe Mountain Rescue from the 1960s to the 1990s.

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During this time, he designed his world-famous stretcher.

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In those days, there was no helicopters,

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So I had the idea of making a stretcher that would fold up, and...

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So you could get it into difficult places.

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I'd no desire to make stretchers - we just made one for the team

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but everybody wanted them, so that was the start of a new industry

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'Modern, lighter versions of Hamish's stretcher are now in use

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'all over the world, but he made an even bigger contribution

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'to saving lives with the invention of the all-metal ice axe.'

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you developed them with a metal handle.

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That's right. What inspired you to do that?

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Because the wooden ones were breaking.

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And I remember on one occasion in a gully on Ben Nevis,

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three climbers attempting it, and they fell off, and they had

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their ice axes stuck in the snow with the rope tied around.

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Now, just about every ice axe you see is made of metal.

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I could have been, but I was primarily interested in safety

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Staying safe in wild places starts with knowing where you are,

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and map and compass work is critical,

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'as Helen saw earlier with the Duke of Edinburgh participants

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'but mountain guide Dave Anderson is going to put that right.'

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I'm starting on a small knoll, shown on the map as a ring contour

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at the foot of a stunning mountain - the Buachaille Etive Mor.

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We know exactly where we are now, Sean,

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so what we're aiming for is a little hut in that direction,

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but we can't see that from here so we're going to have to take

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a bearing on a different feature first.

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I'm going to show you how to do that.

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We know we are on this ring contour, so we take a bearing

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to the stream junction, which is between where we are,

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We're going to line up the compass, this black line,

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from where we are to where we're going on that stream junction,

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we're going to turn the compass around,

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so that we're lined up with these blue lines,

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we're going to align that needle to north,

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and we're going to look in that direction there.

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So I'm aiming for this junction of two streams,

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where I'll take another bearing for the hut.

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What you do now is to choose waypoints along this compass

:23:51.:23:53.

bearing, so that we actually are following our bearing.

:23:54.:23:56.

Those can be boulders, or little grassy knolls,

:23:57.:24:00.

or even changes in colour in the grass, something like that.

:24:01.:24:02.

It's going to keep you on a bearing. Yeah.

:24:03.:24:05.

You're going to get to that stream junction, and from there take

:24:06.:24:08.

That's it, yeah! SEAN LAUGHS

:24:09.:24:13.

Well, tell my wife I love her if I don't make it!

:24:14.:24:16.

I shall see you, hopefully, in a couple of hours!

:24:17.:24:18.

Hopefully see you soon, yes! THEY LAUGH

:24:19.:24:20.

'The ground is incredibly rough and boggy.

:24:21.:24:27.

'Travelling in a straight line is difficult,

:24:28.:24:30.

'but the waypoints will get me back on track

:24:31.:24:32.

..to help you work out exactly where you are,

:24:33.:24:41.

and I think that's where the join in the streams is, just down there.

:24:42.:24:45.

I take another bearing towards the climber's hut,

:24:46.:24:51.

where I'm going to meet up with Dave.

:24:52.:24:56.

Visibility is good today, but I'm starting to understand

:24:57.:24:59.

just how easy it would be to become lost in this vast, wild terrain

:25:00.:25:20.

After hundreds of boggy yards, the hut comes into view.

:25:21.:25:24.

We kind of have something in the way, don't we? We certainly have!

:25:25.:25:36.

Not going to cross this river, it'd be too dangerous.

:25:37.:25:39.

So what you're going to do is to handrail the river,

:25:40.:25:42.

so use the river to get yourself to a footbridge further downstream.

:25:43.:25:46.

You don't need your compass for this - there's about three big

:25:47.:25:49.

bends in the river, so you can just tick them off as you pass them

:25:50.:25:53.

So, have the map in your head rather than your head in the map,

:25:54.:25:56.

and that will get you to the footbridge.

:25:57.:25:58.

OK, see you there, Dave. Nice one.

:25:59.:26:02.

'Using the river as a handrail is a great tip.

:26:03.:26:05.

'I soon have the three bends behind me.

:26:06.:26:11.

Hey! SEAN LAUGHS

:26:12.:26:27.

navigating my way around the map, actually, it's made me really

:26:28.:26:33.

aware of my surroundings, and aware of this beautiful place.

:26:34.:26:36.

Wilderness is beautiful, but can be hazardous.

:26:37.:26:43.

Thanks to people like Dave and Hamish,

:26:44.:26:45.

it's made just that little bit safer for us all.

:26:46.:26:50.

The issue of driven grouse shooting has polarised rural communities

:26:51.:26:54.

but as Charlotte's been finding out, there's evidence that its impact

:26:55.:26:57.

stretches far beyond the moorland estates.

:26:58.:27:10.

Our uplands might seem remote, but what happens here affects us all.

:27:11.:27:17.

The moors act as sponges, reducing flooding in towns and cities.

:27:18.:27:23.

Much of our drinking water comes from here,

:27:24.:27:25.

and the peat bogs capture CO2, helping to fight climate change

:27:26.:27:31.

They're also a much-loved part of the rural landscape.

:27:32.:27:35.

Grouse moors cover three and a half million acres of the UK,

:27:36.:27:39.

and given that we all have a stake in what happens on them,

:27:40.:27:42.

it's perhaps not surprising that the way they're managed

:27:43.:27:45.

is another subject of intense debate.

:27:46.:27:49.

It's been created by man over the centuries.

:27:50.:27:55.

Now, critics claim that on driven grouse moors, this management,

:27:56.:27:59.

especially the practice of burning the heather,

:28:00.:28:01.

shows that intensive moorland management

:28:02.:28:10.

increases flood risk, increases water treatment costs

:28:11.:28:13.

increases greenhouse gas emissions, reduces the life...

:28:14.:28:18.

The impact on water quality and also on flooding,

:28:19.:28:28.

because when you change these peat bogs by burning the heather,

:28:29.:28:32.

they absorb less water, and that's a worry.

:28:33.:28:35.

but the reality is that after the war and for 30 or 40 years

:28:36.:28:42.

the Government paid landowners to drain the land to increase it

:28:43.:28:45.

this was considered absolute wilderness out here.

:28:46.:28:52.

They were actually trying to bring it into agricultural production

:28:53.:28:55.

Now, that was mistaken, but that's fine,

:28:56.:28:57.

so we're putting that back together again now.

:28:58.:28:59.

So, Mark, it's not the grouse shooting,

:29:00.:29:03.

it's a long history of what we wanted this land to do?

:29:04.:29:06.

Well, Andrew seems to be living in the past all the time.

:29:07.:29:09.

I'm living right now and looking at the science and looking at

:29:10.:29:12.

what the future of these hills could look like.

:29:13.:29:15.

Look at Scandinavia, look at around the world,

:29:16.:29:17.

these places where they don't have driven grouse shooting,

:29:18.:29:20.

they manage that land partly to deliver clean water,

:29:21.:29:24.

Mark regularly keeps saying... Referring to back into the past

:29:25.:29:33.

the way that fire is managed on moors now is completely different

:29:34.:29:36.

to how it was being done 20 years ago,

:29:37.:29:38.

the way that we restore bogs is different.

:29:39.:29:41.

So, just to be clear, you think you can have all

:29:42.:29:44.

the environmental benefits and driven grouse shooting?

:29:45.:29:47.

I certainly do, yes. As a conservationist.

:29:48.:29:50.

Opponents of driven grouse shooting also claim that heather burning

:29:51.:29:57.

indiscriminately kills wildlife like snakes and small mammals.

:29:58.:30:02.

Back at the game fair, I asked Duncan Thomas from the

:30:03.:30:05.

British Association for Shooting and Conservation why it's necessary

:30:06.:30:09.

We want to create a diverse length of heather so we've got some stuff

:30:10.:30:13.

for shelter, some stuff for food and some stuff for a foraging area

:30:14.:30:18.

If we didn't manage that moor for grouse shooting,

:30:19.:30:21.

the moor would become a wild, sterile place and the vast

:30:22.:30:25.

range of species which benefit simply wouldn't be there.

:30:26.:30:29.

And also the other problem, the big problem here

:30:30.:30:32.

is the incredible fire risk that we'd be creating.

:30:33.:30:34.

We've seen moors devastated this year by wildfire.

:30:35.:30:38.

The tactical, careful, managed burning process produces

:30:39.:30:43.

thin strips of burns which stops the moorland fires.

:30:44.:30:48.

But wouldn't walked-up shooting where fewer grouse is shot,

:30:49.:30:51.

Within a few years, with the lack of investment, you would end up

:30:52.:30:59.

with long, rank heather that you couldn't even walk through.

:31:00.:31:03.

It's all about creating a sustainable surplus that we can

:31:04.:31:07.

shoot and we can celebrate and we can have an amazing time doing it.

:31:08.:31:10.

Shooting is fun! Just look at this all around you here.

:31:11.:31:13.

So, amidst all the differing points of view, is there a way forward

:31:14.:31:20.

Bob Elliott from the RSPB thinks there is.

:31:21.:31:24.

We've talked a lot about the problems, what are the solutions?

:31:25.:31:28.

Well, one thing we think could make a real difference is licensing

:31:29.:31:31.

We don't have any regulation at the moment and we think

:31:32.:31:36.

that would drive down the amount of criminality we're seeing and

:31:37.:31:40.

good estates would have nothing to fear from that.

:31:41.:31:44.

really important to the rural economy, and what you're

:31:45.:31:51.

trying to do is actually put them out of business.

:31:52.:31:53.

Come on, it's not asking for the world.

:31:54.:31:55.

and I absolutely don't want overregulation,

:31:56.:32:00.

Licensing is commonplace elsewhere in the world,

:32:01.:32:05.

Mark, what do you make of the idea of licensing?

:32:06.:32:09.

I don't think it's the best idea, because I've think licensing

:32:10.:32:12.

would be complicated and difficult to implement.

:32:13.:32:15.

Licensing has many roles in our society, but the question is,

:32:16.:32:20.

what is it we're actually trying to address?

:32:21.:32:22.

And if we're trying to address the conflict and the interests of

:32:23.:32:25.

the grouse moors and the birds of prey,

:32:26.:32:27.

there's no evidence that licensing is actually a solution.

:32:28.:32:30.

When the two sides are as far apart as you two are, by way of example...

:32:31.:32:36.

Well, we've agreed licensing wasn't a good idea!

:32:37.:32:39.

Well, we've agreed on one thing So what is the way forward?

:32:40.:32:41.

I'd like to see driven grouse shooting banned.

:32:42.:32:45.

We've already talked about the huge benefits out here.

:32:46.:32:49.

You've referred to the... Well, we've argued about them!

:32:50.:32:52.

..about the ?100 million that it contributes to our economy

:32:53.:32:55.

and the 4,000 jobs that it underpins.

:32:56.:32:57.

And there I think we should leave it, yes? Yes.

:32:58.:33:00.

Hoods up! SHE LAUGHS

:33:01.:33:03.

Driven grouse shooting has been part of the fabric of our

:33:04.:33:06.

countryside for 150 years and it increasingly inspires

:33:07.:33:10.

passionate and contradictory opinions.

:33:11.:33:14.

As we've seen, there's very little common ground between those

:33:15.:33:17.

for and those against driven grouse shooting.

:33:18.:33:20.

And anyone expecting resolutions to these arguments any time soon, well,

:33:21.:33:25.

that's a little bit like expecting sunshine on a rainy summer's day.

:33:26.:33:37.

I'm on Loch Lochy in Scotland's Great Glen,

:33:38.:33:41.

tagging along with an expedition marking the 60th anniversary

:33:42.:33:44.

They're all tough adventurers, but there's one thing even they dread.

:33:45.:33:56.

The minute monsters are almost invisible to the human eye,

:33:57.:34:03.

but they swarm in clouds of thousands and have a nasty bite

:34:04.:34:07.

I'm taking my chances ashore to find out more.

:34:08.:34:12.

Bill Kerr is a retired engineer but for the last two years,

:34:13.:34:15.

Now, what are you up to here? This is a midge trap.

:34:16.:34:22.

Have you heard about midges? I've definitely heard of midges, yes

:34:23.:34:26.

How do you trap them, how does this work?

:34:27.:34:28.

It's made out of cardboard with a wee bit of string, as you can see.

:34:29.:34:32.

And inside it, you'll notice that there's another piece of

:34:33.:34:35.

which has got an extremely sticky surface.

:34:36.:34:40.

So anything that lands on that surface will actually adhere to it.

:34:41.:34:43.

But just to give you an idea how effective this is... Yeah?

:34:44.:34:47.

..this is actually an old one from a few weeks ago

:34:48.:34:51.

which shows that there's midges on there.

:34:52.:34:53.

At its worst, what would it look like?

:34:54.:34:57.

and if you can imagine from there to there,

:34:58.:35:02.

Really? The whole thing just covered with midges?

:35:03.:35:06.

Well, information produced by Bill and other volunteers is added

:35:07.:35:15.

to weather data to produce an online midge forecast for Scotland.

:35:16.:35:21.

Now, Bill, there's a few in the air today,

:35:22.:35:23.

they're very hard to see on camera and I've checked the midge forecast.

:35:24.:35:26.

This is what your observations feed into.

:35:27.:35:29.

So if we look at our forecast for our Duke of Edinburgh kayakers

:35:30.:35:32.

starting Ben Nevis area, lots of midges.

:35:33.:35:35.

But interestingly, as they go along the Caledonian Canal,

:35:36.:35:38.

it goes five, four, three, two and one, up in Invergordon.

:35:39.:35:41.

So it just directly reduces the further north-east you go.

:35:42.:35:45.

Yeah, there aren't a lot of midges on the east coast of Scotland.

:35:46.:35:48.

and the north-west Highlands in particular.

:35:49.:35:52.

So presumably, the conditions of geography and land conditions

:35:53.:35:56.

must suit the midges more than it does over in the east.

:35:57.:35:59.

The bracken and rushes here provide ideal habitat.

:36:00.:36:04.

And midges love Western Scotland's warm, damp summers.

:36:05.:36:08.

but good news for birds and bats which feast on clouds of midges

:36:09.:36:18.

Scotland's midges are so notorious, there's even an online game.

:36:19.:36:23.

'But they've also spawned serious scientific research.

:36:24.:36:26.

'Before heading back out on the water,

:36:27.:36:28.

'the world's leading expert on midges.'

:36:29.:36:33.

How are you? Hi, I'm fine, thank you.

:36:34.:36:35.

So, tell me, why do they pick on us, Alison? Why do they bite us?

:36:36.:36:38.

Well, it's only the female midge that bites,

:36:39.:36:40.

and she needs a protein source to mature her eggs, so she'll feed

:36:41.:36:44.

on any mammal, so she loves cows, sheep, deer, erm, people as well.

:36:45.:36:49.

'Midges have an incredible sense of smell, and they use a neat trick

:36:50.:36:53.

'to track us down - it's all to do with the air we breathe out.'

:36:54.:36:57.

A midge will know that you're breathing

:36:58.:36:59.

and then as she becomes a little bit closer to you,

:37:00.:37:04.

she follows your CO2 plume and then your body chemistry kicks in

:37:05.:37:08.

as well, so the different smells your body's emanating,

:37:09.:37:11.

your body temperature as well and moisture, movement...

:37:12.:37:15.

All these cues kind of allow a midge to home in on

:37:16.:37:17.

a particular target they want to feed on.

:37:18.:37:19.

There's a whole industry around this, how did you get involved

:37:20.:37:22.

we use midge attractants we've identified for trapping systems

:37:23.:37:27.

but also we've developed our own insect repellent which is

:37:28.:37:30.

based on everything we know about how an insect finds you,

:37:31.:37:33.

and it's got components in it which will specifically block those

:37:34.:37:37.

receptors on insect antennae which find you.

:37:38.:37:40.

Let's do a bit of myth busting what does and doesn't work?

:37:41.:37:43.

vitamin B we know is slightly repellent to midges,

:37:44.:37:51.

And what about whisky, or is that just an excuse?

:37:52.:37:55.

I think that's just to kind of dull the effect of the midges, yeah

:37:56.:37:58.

'So, the advice during midge season -

:37:59.:38:01.

'check the forecast, cover up, and use repellents,

:38:02.:38:05.

'otherwise it could be game over for your Highland holiday.'

:38:06.:38:12.

'Now, this week, Adam's at home catching up with some of his

:38:13.:38:15.

'farm favourites, and that means pigs.

:38:16.:38:18.

'He's been around them his whole life,

:38:19.:38:20.

'Best of all, there are some new arrivals on the way.'

:38:21.:38:28.

We've got a number of pigs on the farm,

:38:29.:38:36.

we've got Iron Age, Tamworths, we've recently purchased some Berkshires,

:38:37.:38:40.

and these are my favourites, the Gloucestershire Old Spots.

:38:41.:38:44.

and the general rule of thumb is that pigs with floppy ears

:38:45.:38:49.

like this that cover their eyes are more docile than the ones

:38:50.:38:52.

with pricked ears where they can see more and are more alert.

:38:53.:38:55.

They're absolutely gorgeous, I adore them.

:38:56.:38:58.

'and we're expecting her to give birth any day now.'

:38:59.:39:04.

It's a cross between a Tamworth and a wild boar.

:39:05.:39:13.

She's so friendly, if you scratch her tummy, look

:39:14.:39:16.

She's perfectly happy to give birth out in the fields,

:39:17.:39:21.

I brought her into the stable just to keep an eye on her.

:39:22.:39:26.

When the piglets are born they want to move round to get to the teats,

:39:27.:39:31.

you'll see she lifts it, and the piglets will then be able to

:39:32.:39:37.

walk underneath her leg and attach themselves to the teats.

:39:38.:39:41.

Her leg then goes back down, a bit like a door shutting, and the

:39:42.:39:44.

piglets are caught in the arc between her front and her back legs.

:39:45.:39:48.

Hopefully she'll give birth in the next day or two.

:39:49.:39:55.

'But there's a sow next door that's already had her piglets

:39:56.:39:59.

'and there's a test I'm keen to try on them that's always amazed me '

:40:00.:40:03.

When the piglets feed, it's believed by scientists

:40:04.:40:06.

that they always line up on the same teats,

:40:07.:40:09.

so I've got a marker pen here, and I'm going to mark them

:40:10.:40:13.

in a row, and we'll look at them later and see if it's true.

:40:14.:40:16.

This is a little bit like a hierarchy, and the best milk is on

:40:17.:40:26.

the front teats, and so the piglets will jostle for position

:40:27.:40:30.

'If all goes to plan, when they next feed,

:40:31.:40:35.

'they should line up again in numerical order.'

:40:36.:40:39.

The sow has started feeding the piglets again,

:40:40.:40:46.

..then we've got four, three, two, so they're jostling for position.

:40:47.:40:56.

..three and four are the wrong way around, five, six...

:40:57.:41:03.

They've all gone into the completely correct position.

:41:04.:41:12.

I think it's absolutely remarkable, it's really quite exciting.

:41:13.:41:17.

Oh, no, I'm sorry, I'm sorry, you're a clever girl!

:41:18.:41:23.

'The more you understand your animals,

:41:24.:41:25.

'the better you can be at rearing them,

:41:26.:41:27.

'so when I heard about some new research into pig husbandry,

:41:28.:41:30.

'I headed to Abbey Home Farm to find out more.'

:41:31.:41:33.

'Dr Lisa Collins and Mary Friel from the University of Lincoln are

:41:34.:41:38.

'They've devised a way to determine personality traits in pigs

:41:39.:41:44.

'that could be of great benefit to farmers.

:41:45.:41:47.

Nice pen of pigs here, John, for the job.

:41:48.:41:55.

Yeah, I hope they'll work for the test.

:41:56.:41:57.

Mary, you've been on the ground doing the testing.

:41:58.:41:59.

What sort of things are you looking for?

:42:00.:42:01.

I'm measuring one main trait of their personality, which is,

:42:02.:42:03.

erm, whether they're reactive or proactive,

:42:04.:42:06.

so reactive pigs tend to be more cautious,

:42:07.:42:09.

they react more slowly, they're quieter,

:42:10.:42:12.

whereas proactive pigs tend to be more outgoing, they're more vocal.

:42:13.:42:16.

So would one be better than the other?

:42:17.:42:18.

No, not necessarily, they both have advantages and disadvantages.

:42:19.:42:21.

they're more likely to get to the resources first and potentially

:42:22.:42:27.

monopolise them, whereas reactives, although they're a little bit afraid

:42:28.:42:32.

of a new environment when they're first introduced to it,

:42:33.:42:34.

they tend to adapt better to it over time.

:42:35.:42:37.

So when getting groups of pigs together you need a bit of

:42:38.:42:39.

a balance, a bit of a mix? Absolutely, you do.

:42:40.:42:42.

do you know which ones are proactive and which ones are reactive?

:42:43.:42:46.

Er, well, it's going to be really interesting to see whether

:42:47.:42:49.

what I think is going to be what the test shows.

:42:50.:42:51.

So you reckon you've got a couple of bullies in here?

:42:52.:42:53.

There's certainly one who's a boss, yes.

:42:54.:42:55.

THEY LAUGH OK, well, let's give it a go.

:42:56.:42:57.

'each pig is put into a small pen for four minutes

:42:58.:43:04.

'Lisa will time how long the pigs spend exploring the test area,

:43:05.:43:12.

'Mary will record the grunts and when they touch the cone.

:43:13.:43:18.

'I'll time how long the pigs are stood still for,

:43:19.:43:21.

'red for proactive and green for reactive.'

:43:22.:43:26.

Just the one. Who's going to be first?

:43:27.:43:28.

we'd expect it to come in and take quite

:43:29.:43:34.

a long time to contact the cone but if it's a proactive pig it might

:43:35.:43:37.

come in a lot faster, more grunts, and generally move around more

:43:38.:43:41.

'Pig Number One doesn't seem to know what to do,

:43:42.:43:53.

'and is much more interested in the grass than the cone.'

:43:54.:43:57.

It just hasn't gone anywhere near the cone. No. Oh...

:43:58.:44:02.

OK, so what are the results for standing? 1:42. OK.

:44:03.:44:13.

'Mary records the timings on her computer,

:44:14.:44:16.

'and the formula confirms the result.'

:44:17.:44:18.

15 grunts per minute, so that makes him a really reactive pig

:44:19.:44:22.

It's a green R on the shoulder then, John. Yep, will do.

:44:23.:44:34.

'Pig Number Two is much the same as Pig Number One,

:44:35.:44:36.

'Pig Three may have taken two minutes to pluck up the courage

:44:37.:44:42.

'And this little pig wastes no time making friends.'

:44:43.:44:51.

'Pig Number Five seems pretty content with being tested.'

:44:52.:44:59.

So how did we end up, then, with the results?

:45:00.:45:11.

So we've found, out of six pigs here, we've got four reactive

:45:12.:45:15.

ones and only two proactive, and we also had quite a range within that.

:45:16.:45:20.

We had one pig that only grunted once in the test,

:45:21.:45:22.

and one pig that grunted over 150 times.

:45:23.:45:25.

They're very different characters, then, within the pen. Yep.

:45:26.:45:28.

What is it you're hoping to achieve, in the long term,

:45:29.:45:30.

So, I think, just to raise awareness first of all that different

:45:31.:45:35.

animals will have different personalities, and this will

:45:36.:45:38.

automatically impact on how they react to the environment

:45:39.:45:41.

around them and also how they react to each other.

:45:42.:45:44.

but these tests have a real practical purpose.'

:45:45.:45:48.

When you scale it up at the commercial level, what's happening

:45:49.:45:52.

is pigs generally tend to get split and mixed according to their

:45:53.:45:55.

weight, so you'd have a group of 50 pigs of a similar weight,

:45:56.:45:59.

and the reason that's problematic is that essentially,

:46:00.:46:02.

when you have proactive pigs, one of their characteristics

:46:03.:46:05.

is that they're better at getting to the resources,

:46:06.:46:07.

so they're more likely to be the heavier ones, and that could

:46:08.:46:10.

then lead to aggressive problems within those groups potentially

:46:11.:46:13.

And I suppose aggression and bullying will affect growth rates,

:46:14.:46:16.

it's a financial issue because the animals aren't growing so well.

:46:17.:46:21.

Exactly, yep, so it has multiple impacts, really, on the

:46:22.:46:24.

welfare of the pigs but also for the profit of the farmers themselves.

:46:25.:46:28.

Will it change the way you view the farming of your pigs?

:46:29.:46:32.

Yeah, really interesting and I think it will definitely make us

:46:33.:46:35.

think about what else we can do for the pigs cos, yeah,

:46:36.:46:37.

Yeah, I'll certainly be taking something home from this

:46:38.:46:41.

and thinking about the way we manage our pigs more carefully

:46:42.:46:53.

'This is Glencoe - one of Britain's best-loved wild spaces.

:46:54.:46:59.

'The rocks here are volcanic, the land carved by glaciers,

:47:00.:47:04.

'the crags etched by wild Atlantic weather.'

:47:05.:47:09.

'The National Trust for Scotland is responsible for the

:47:10.:47:21.

'conservation of the glen, which features

:47:22.:47:24.

'a wide range of habitats, from low moorland to stark, exposed cliffs.

:47:25.:47:32.

'But I've come to explore one of the rarest habitats in the world,

:47:33.:47:36.

'which only exists because of the persistent,

:47:37.:47:39.

'and a very particular type of landscape called

:47:40.:47:46.

'I'm heading up high with ecologist Dan Watson to discover what

:47:47.:47:55.

Well, it's a rare set of circumstances, particularly where

:47:56.:48:01.

we are in Scotland on the north west coast, there's a lot of rain.

:48:02.:48:05.

Yeah! We've also got these colossal boulders that have been

:48:06.:48:09.

brought down during the last Ice Age.

:48:10.:48:12.

They restrict access to things like deer that would come in

:48:13.:48:15.

So the combination of the narrow gorge,

:48:16.:48:20.

the boulders and the trees mean there's great humidity in here

:48:21.:48:24.

and that's what a lot of these oceanic bryophytes need,

:48:25.:48:28.

the things that are very special here.

:48:29.:48:34.

'Bryophytes are mosses and liverworts,

:48:35.:48:37.

'and in this strange and magical landscape, they are everywhere.

:48:38.:48:43.

Well, the most obvious thing here is that we're just surrounded by

:48:44.:48:46.

It's on the rocks, it's on the trees, just all around us.

:48:47.:48:51.

they way they're tumbled in all directions,

:48:52.:48:55.

they've got many different micro habitats,

:48:56.:48:57.

so we've got the top surface, which gets carpeted in this.

:48:58.:49:00.

You can see we've got vertical faces,

:49:01.:49:02.

we've got sloping faces, so there's just a vast variety

:49:03.:49:06.

'This variety of micro habitat is home to many types of mosses

:49:07.:49:11.

'with exquisite structures and fantastically descriptive names '

:49:12.:49:16.

Look at that one, it's really beautiful, isn't it

:49:17.:49:19.

Oh, yeah, just like an ostrich feather.

:49:20.:49:23.

Lovely. This one is also reasonably common,

:49:24.:49:28.

but has a much more western distribution.

:49:29.:49:30.

This one has a very descriptive name as well,

:49:31.:49:32.

this is bottlebrush moss. Bottlebrush?

:49:33.:49:34.

Yeah, cos it looks like something you could use to clean a bottle out.

:49:35.:49:37.

It looks like you could put it between your teeth,

:49:38.:49:39.

one of those little brushes you use...! Oh, yeah.

:49:40.:49:42.

I wouldn't advise that. Maybe not, maybe not.

:49:43.:49:45.

'Bryophytes are the oldest land dwelling plants on Earth.

:49:46.:49:49.

'They were the first to leave the sea and adapt to life on dry land.

:49:50.:49:53.

'Unlike normal plants they have no roots and no internal plumbing.

:49:54.:49:58.

'They absorb moisture from the atmosphere.

:49:59.:50:01.

'Botanist Gordon Rothero has made studying these fascinating plants

:50:02.:50:04.

How did you come to be so obsessed by these tiny little plants?

:50:05.:50:09.

Erm, just that if you spent a lot of time in this sort of habitat,

:50:10.:50:14.

much of what you see is sort of green stuff,

:50:15.:50:19.

and you eventually become quite interested in green stuff,

:50:20.:50:22.

and then when you start looking at it closely,

:50:23.:50:25.

it's absolutely fascinating. Yeah, each one's so different.

:50:26.:50:27.

they are really, really intricate species, and, you know,

:50:28.:50:31.

they've been around a very long time and they've evolved all kinds

:50:32.:50:34.

of intricate shapes, and, you know, they're just beautiful.

:50:35.:50:37.

Do we have any especially exciting species here? Yes, we do.

:50:38.:50:40.

For example, we have this purple spoonwort here,

:50:41.:50:43.

which is the name of this. Is this one rare?

:50:44.:50:46.

and you can find it all the way up and down the west coast of

:50:47.:50:50.

Scotland, and it occurs in parts of western Ireland and it occurs

:50:51.:50:54.

locally in parts of south-west Norway,

:50:55.:50:56.

but it doesn't occur anywhere else in Europe.

:50:57.:50:59.

And the biggest populations by far are in the west of Scotland.

:51:00.:51:04.

It doesn't occur in Wales or in England.

:51:05.:51:06.

So why is it so important to conserve habitat like this,

:51:07.:51:10.

Erm, it's important because it's part of our natural heritage.

:51:11.:51:15.

Things would be very, very different if the bryophytes weren't here

:51:16.:51:18.

They hold the moisture, they provide a habitat for frogs and for insects.

:51:19.:51:23.

We don't have very many rare plants in Scotland,

:51:24.:51:26.

and it's quite nice to look after the ones that we do have.

:51:27.:51:29.

'Coming to Glencoe, it's easy to be impressed by the grandeur of

:51:30.:51:34.

'the mountain landscape, the big picture.'

:51:35.:51:38.

But looking down and focusing in on that lush green carpet reveals

:51:39.:51:42.

a miniature landscape just as beautiful,

:51:43.:51:45.

and all thanks to that rainy Atlantic weather.

:51:46.:51:48.

But will they be getting more in the week ahead?

:51:49.:51:50.

Let's find out - here's the forecast.

:51:51.:52:06.

Yes, some areas of the UK have had too much of the Atlantic rain, and

:52:07.:52:13.

others nothing at all. We can see a turnaround later in the week. A busy

:52:14.:52:17.

day in the fields today, this picture sent in by a weather watcher

:52:18.:52:23.

in Kent. For the next few days, no sign of any rain. Temperatures will

:52:24.:52:28.

be rising, mainly because there will be more sunshine, but from the

:52:29.:52:30.

weekend onwards things turn more settled. Some rain is likely,

:52:31.:52:36.

perhaps not in Scotland, which had a lot of rain last week, but it could

:52:37.:52:40.

be further south, where it is needed most. No rain just yet because the

:52:41.:52:46.

pressure is rising. This area of high pressure is building across the

:52:47.:52:50.

UK. Because of that and the sun getting lower, we have more sunshine

:52:51.:52:54.

this evening in southern and eastern parts. Tonight, the cloud will

:52:55.:53:02.

continue to break. Maybe a bit cloudy for northern England and

:53:03.:53:06.

Northern Ireland. Chilly in the countryside in Scotland. Warming up

:53:07.:53:10.

quickly in the sunshine on Monday. Not much cloud first thing. We could

:53:11.:53:16.

see a bit more cloud late morning, around lunchtime, but the cloud will

:53:17.:53:20.

be thinner, so it will break up more readily. In the afternoon, returning

:53:21.:53:26.

more widely. Temperatures should be higher than today. It will feel

:53:27.:53:30.

pleasant with light winds. Tuesday looks dry and, for many places, it

:53:31.:53:34.

will be sunny. Temperatures rising quickly. A bit more cloud at times

:53:35.:53:41.

in eastern parts of England, with an onshore breeze, but away from here

:53:42.:53:45.

temperatures continuing to rise Highest of all in Wales and the West

:53:46.:53:50.

Country, mid to high 20s. We will not see the really hot air we

:53:51.:53:53.

thought we might. That is really across Spain, heading as far north

:53:54.:53:58.

as northern parts of France. Wind flow will be crucial because, around

:53:59.:54:04.

the high, it looks like our air may come all the way from Germany and

:54:05.:54:09.

the low countries. Still very warm, up to the mid-to high 20s. As the

:54:10.:54:13.

high pressure drifts further east on Wednesday, we have a weather front.

:54:14.:54:18.

This is the first sign of significant rain. Shower room rain

:54:19.:54:22.

overnight on Wednesday. Northern Ireland and Wales, it could be some

:54:23.:54:29.

thunderstorms. Very humid. Not as warm as Tuesday but, further east,

:54:30.:54:33.

still dry. This is where temperatures continue to rise.

:54:34.:54:38.

Getting into the high 20s perhaps through the Midlands and south-east

:54:39.:54:42.

England, and very warm around the Moray Firth, warmer than it has been

:54:43.:54:47.

for some time. In the late evening, things get more uncertain. We could

:54:48.:54:52.

see an area of low pressure developing, bringing rain rather

:54:53.:54:55.

than heat up from the near continent. It could be heavy and

:54:56.:54:59.

sundry overnight into Thursday across Wales in southern England. A

:55:00.:55:03.

bit of rainfall Northern Ireland. Further east, it is still dry. With

:55:04.:55:08.

an easterly wind, not quite as warm. Towards the end of the week, we have

:55:09.:55:13.

still got a weather front on the scene, much weaker by now. This area

:55:14.:55:20.

of low pressure threatens to come in off the Atlantic, Raby bringing some

:55:21.:55:23.

rain. Otherwise, some shower rebates of pieces of rain. -- showery bits

:55:24.:55:28.

and pieces. 'We're in Lochaber in Scotland's

:55:29.:55:40.

western Highlands, 'and I've been with

:55:41.:55:43.

a team of adventurers marking 'the 60th anniversary of the

:55:44.:55:46.

Duke of Edinburgh Awards, 'with a six-day expedition for the

:55:47.:55:49.

Diamond Challenge. 'It's time for me to catch up with

:55:50.:55:52.

them again on the waters of David and Katie, you're both sort of

:55:53.:55:55.

Gold D of E holders, is that right? Yep. What, for you, was the appeal

:55:56.:56:03.

of the Duke of Edinburgh Awards would you say? For me, erm, it was

:56:04.:56:06.

just the sense of the unknown. I didn't come from an outdoors-y

:56:07.:56:10.

family, erm, none of my family like being outdoors, so I fancied

:56:11.:56:14.

doing something different. Also, the fact that it looks quite

:56:15.:56:18.

good on your CV, I thought it'd be quite good for getting into

:56:19.:56:21.

universities, that sort of thing. But it kind of

:56:22.:56:24.

became more than that. It was a lot more fun than I

:56:25.:56:26.

expected it to be, and now it's kind of just like a way of life, which is

:56:27.:56:28.

why I still volunteer now, so.. I mean, obviously, it was

:56:29.:56:32.

conceived 60 years ago, that's why there's this

:56:33.:56:34.

diamond anniversary. Do you think it's dated?

:56:35.:56:37.

Do you think it's still as relevant, because a lot of young people now

:56:38.:56:40.

are chasing Pokemons around city centres, they're not

:56:41.:56:43.

necessarily canoeing lochs. I think it's more relevant now

:56:44.:56:46.

than it has ever been. Young people, I think, these days

:56:47.:56:49.

have kind of lost confidence in themselves, and I think doing

:56:50.:56:53.

something like this, they are capable of doing

:56:54.:56:56.

the big stuff really helps. You've devised quite

:56:57.:57:02.

a fiendish challenge here. Yeah You are only halfway through your

:57:03.:57:07.

second day, but at the end of it all, let me show you this, have

:57:08.:57:10.

you seen one of these? Oh, yeah Oh, wow! This is the

:57:11.:57:14.

diamond pin that will be at the end of it for you all,

:57:15.:57:17.

very exciting. And so I'm going to leave you there,

:57:18.:57:19.

guys, that's what's ahead of you, but to be honest,

:57:20.:57:22.

you're only a day and a half in You've still got four and

:57:23.:57:25.

a half days of hard slog before you earn that wonderful pin,

:57:26.:57:28.

so good luck. Thank you. I hope it goes well, I hope the wind

:57:29.:57:32.

stays behind you. All the best 'And the good news is anyone can

:57:33.:57:36.

join the adventure. 'The Diamond Challenge is open

:57:37.:57:42.

to all ages, even if you missed out 'on the Duke of Edinburgh Award

:57:43.:57:46.

Scheme the first time round.' All right, there, Joe?

:57:47.:57:51.

Hey, Naomi, how's it going? Good, come to offer you a lift

:57:52.:57:54.

You know what? I've come to offer you my

:57:55.:57:56.

spare paddle, d'you fancy it? Er, actually,

:57:57.:57:58.

I'm quite comfortable up here. Well, that's it from the Highlands

:57:59.:58:01.

and our look at 60 years of If you've been inspired to have

:58:02.:58:04.

a go, head for the website, Now, next week,

:58:05.:58:08.

we have something very special exclusive coverage from our first

:58:09.:58:13.

Countryfile Live event. Yes, Blenheim Palace is the setting

:58:14.:58:15.

for Countryfile's four-day celebration of the very best of

:58:16.:58:23.

the British countryside. Are you absolutely sure I can't

:58:24.:58:26.

give you a lift? The sun is shining, there's

:58:27.:58:31.

no midges, and, quite frankly, Fair play. See you later.

:58:32.:58:35.

See you later, take care. Bye!

:58:36.:58:39.

2016 is the 60th anniversary of the Duke of Edinburgh Awards scheme, and to mark the occasion Countryfile heads to the wilds of the west Highlands of Scotland. Matt joins the intrepid team mid-way through their five-day Diamond Challenge. They have already scaled Ben Nevis, and when Matt meets them they are canoeing the Great Glen all the way to Inverness. Matt also meets the scientist who has made it her mission to fight the menace of Scotland's infamous midges. Sean meets mountaineer Hamish Macinnes, whose inventions, including his famous stretcher, have saved hundreds of lives.

Naomi explores Glencoe's 'Atlantic woodland' - a rich and rare habitat, where she gets a close look at the amazingly intricate lichens and mosses that carpet the woodland. Helen is in the Peak District with a party of schoolchildren undertaking their bronze Duke of Edinburgh, and she walks a stretch of Kinder Scout with HRH Prince Edward, himself a Gold Award holder and trustee of the scheme.

And as the red grouse shooting season gets underway, Charlotte Smith meets the supporters and critics of one of Britain's most controversial country pursuits.


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