Matt Baker and Ellie Harrison head to Scotland to explore Loch Etive, where Matt joins the RNLI for a day. Plus John Craven investigates the impact of the "staycation" craze.
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Surrounded by wild countryside and rugged mountains,
Loch Etive flows through some of Scotland's most stunning scenery
before finally reaching the sea.
For most of its length, there's very little in the way of road access
and hardly any habitation,
so what better way to explore Loch Etive than by boat?
And I've been promised some spectacular views.
'I'm going for a boat ride too,
'but something tells me it won't be as tranquil as Ellie's.'
Loch Etive has one of the biggest flows of white water in the UK.
The water flows through here at a rate of ten knots per hour,
which makes it the perfect place for these guys to practise.
Tonight, I'm going to be thrown in at the deep end
and really put through my places
as the RNLI's International Flood Rescue Team
train for real-life flood situations.
And while we're exploring the loch, John's having a few days away.
This year, more and more of us have been spending our holidays
here in Britain, becoming, in that new word, staycationers.
But what impact is this having on our countryside?
That's what I'll be investigating.
Right, this is the easy bit. Now we just catch the little piglets!
'And with the harvest almost over,
'Adam's getting to grips with a new litter.'
They're like wriggly little rabbits, but they're incredibly sweet.
Never more than a mile wide,
Loch Etive is enclosed by rugged peaks and deep green glens.
The loch runs for 20 miles through Argyle in West Scotland,
from Glencoe in the north
to the Connel Bridge and the Firth Of Lorn beyond.
You can only reach half the loch by road,
but even if you could drive the whole thing,
I'm told that the best way to take it all in is by boat,
and I've been promised a spectacular cruise.
Check out that view.
My skipper for the day is Donald.
He's the latest in a family line of Loch Etive boatsmen.
He's carrying on the tradition,
running boat trips for tourists and fishermen.
-So your father was a boatman too?
-His father before as well.
-It's about three generations now.
When I was a child, my father would be coming up and down every day
and you get to know the loch quite well after a while.
-Well, lucky you, getting to work here.
-It's a nice occupation.
My first stop is at Dunstaffnage Castle,
standing guard where Loch Etive meets the sea.
The castle is one of the oldest in Scotland, nearly 800 years old.
Built to protect Argyle from invading Norwegians,
it sits at a strategic spot
for anyone trying to attack Scotland from the west,
but its most famous moment came a mere 265 years ago
when, for a brief period, it was the unwanted home of a Highland heroine.
Flora MacDonald was imprisoned in the castle in 1746
after she smuggled Bonnie Prince Charlie to Skye.
Famously, he dressed as her female servant to aid his escape.
Mind you, it's not a bad place to be imprisoned, is it?
This landscape is movie-set drop-dead gorgeous.
There is absolutely nothing not to like about that.
Now, we're on the way now to another slice of Loch Etive history,
but before we get there, we're going to make a little bit of a detour.
We've got a special delivery to make
to what must be one of the most remote properties in Britain.
Here's the post. How often do they get this?
-Three times a week. Monday, Wednesday, Fridays.
-Not too bad.
So not too bad at all.
So these lucky people get to avoid the supermarket scrum.
-They're very lucky. It's all done for them.
-Very nice, too.
-And you usually just drop and run, do you?
-Yeah, that's pretty much it.
We collect stuff for next time, take it up to the grocer,
he'll deliver it to us next week, and same thing happens again.
With our errand completed, I'm getting off at Kelly's Pier
to explore a more industrial side to Loch Etive's history.
In the middle of the 18th century,
attracted by the plentiful supply of water and wood around here,
a Cumbrian ironmaster built an ironworks.
At its peak, it produced 700 tonnes of pig iron, and employed 600 people.
But there was a big divide, because only the workers from Cumbria,
about 20 of them, operated the furnace.
The 600 Gaelic-speaking locals were employed to coppice trees
and make the huge quantities of charcoal needed.
John Macfarlane's great-grandmother worked here.
John, what would life have been like here for your great-grandmother?
It was pretty tough.
It was very noisy, very hard, backbreaking work, as it were.
And long hours, as well. She was probably about 22 or 23 at the time.
Wow. The iron they produced was pig iron. What is that?
Well, when iron melts in the furnace itself,
they've got a pre-prepared channel of sand,
and the molten iron runs into it,
and if you're looking down from the top,
it would look like a pig with piglets,
-and that's why it's called pig iron.
-That's the explanation.
The iron would have been shipped off and used for all different purposes?
Yes. They made cannonballs with it, in the Napoleonic wars,
that was one of the main things they were doing here,
producing cannonballs to fight the French.
Nelson claimed that every cannonball fired at Trafalgar
came from this foundry.
Every cannonball? Had he counted them? Ha-ha!
Lord Nelson saved England.
This place may have been settled for centuries.
'The furnace is still seen as an important part of the history
'of the landscape.
'This group of actors are rehearsing a play that is about
'and is staged at the furnace.'
I really enjoyed that. That was a fantastic performance.
What better place to do a piece of theatre about the foundry
than here at the foundry!
Yeah, well... Yes! And the story and the setting is just amazing.
When I first saw this place,
I thought it was the most natural and vibrant place for theatre.
It was sort of like Dante's Inferno, I think.
There was huge amounts of work going on,
and life and death, and really brutal life,
and I think you can feel that when we're performing from the stones,
-I just love the energy from working here.
-That was a great performance.
-Thank you very much.
Although it outlasted other Scottish ironworks using charcoal,
production at Bonawe Furnace finally stopped in 1876.
Today, it's the best preserved ironworks of its kind in the UK.
I'm heading back out onto Loch Etive in search of wildlife.
But first, with the economy causing many of us to feel the pinch,
a growing number of people are choosing to holiday here in Britain.
But how does holidaying here shape up?
Well, John's been investigating the rise of the staycation.
This year's summer holiday is now a distant, hopefully happy, memory,
and for many people,
it was all about rediscovering the British countryside.
So what effect is all this home-grown tourism having?
Could it spoil unspoiled parts of our landscape?
To find out, I've chosen at random a bit of the countryside
that wants to boost its share of the tourist market,
the 15-mile-long Churnet Valley in Staffordshire.
Perhaps not the best known of tourist destinations - well, not yet -
but at either end of this lovely valley
there are places that everyone has certainly heard of.
Down there is Alton Towers, and up at the top of the valley,
the Peak District.
The Carman family have come here for their first ever camping holiday.
Well, you've spent many years, haven't you, as a family,
This year is your first staycation. Why are you in the UK?
Well, mainly because of the cost.
You know, where we are now, it's expensive.
The travelling and the plane and the sitting in the station...
-it's a hassle, isn't it?
Would you rather be on some beach in some exotic place?
I'd rather go camping, because, like,
when you go on holiday, we can't take the dog anywhere.
-You can't really take Coco to Mexico and places.
-No, not really!
The cost and convenience of staycations
have made places like this, Staffordshire's moorlands,
There are now more than three million trips here every year,
bringing in more than £150 million, but it's not just about the money.
For many people, it's a fresh chance to enjoy our rural heritage.
Normally, they have steam engines, but today it's a diesel.
And attractions like the Churnet Valley Railway
are a perfect way to do that.
A lot of people don't realise how beautiful the countryside is.
We live near the Peak District.
You don't realise how nice the area is until you do something like this.
You take things you see daily for granted.
It has opened your eyes to what's in this country.
Do you reckon next year you will be staying in the UK?
-Oh, yes, without a doubt, won't we?
This new-found appreciation of the British countryside
is having huge benefits.
Some rural train services
have seen an incredible 90% increase in passengers
in the last few years.
'And the economic benefits go much further than that.
-'Sarah Long is from Visit England.' Hello, Sarah.
You've been studying staycationers. Just who are they?
They are people like you and I.
It started in 2009, when the word "staycation" was born.
It was as a result of the credit crunch.
What it did was showcase the countryside to lots of people
who wouldn't usually take a holiday here.
Last year, there were 17 million visitors spending around £3 billion.
This year, those figures are about 2% up.
It supports lots and lots of jobs and businesses.
Not just hotels and B&Bs, but the local pub down the road,
the gift shop, regional food suppliers,
all benefit from the money that tourists spend.
With more and more people visiting the countryside,
that has the potential for having a harmful effect
on the beautiful places they want to see.
We do have to conserve our beauty spots, that is correct.
It is about destination management.
We have a great network of fantastic organisations
who make sure our places stay beautiful.
Today, tourism is worth more
to the rural economy in Britain than farming.
And there are plenty of opportunities to cash in.
With more and more people coming to the Churnet Valley in Staffordshire,
there are ambitious plans afoot.
There is talk of turning the area into a tourism corridor,
bringing more people here
and pumping more money into the local economy.
The plans are still at the early stages, but the local council
is hoping to attract private money to redevelop existing brownfield sites.
Leading the project is Councillor Andrew Hart.
What are your priorities?
I think sites like this, which are a fantastic blank canvas.
This used to be a copper works.
We have former derelict sites, which are ex-quarries.
It is what we do with those.
It's got tremendous heritage potential.
I think history, particularly industrial history,
is very important to visitors.
Is there money available for this, Government grants?
This area has never attracted a great deal of grants,
even in good times.
I think we are looking for inward private investment.
Development here could be great for the local economy,
but there are concerns about the plans.
Many people who live in this valley like it just the way it is
and the idea of more cars, more people, more noise,
won't be to everyone's taste.
Later, I'll be asking what the cost to the countryside might be
of the staycation boom.
Loch Etive, a vast body of water flowing from the mountains
and steep glens of mid-west Scotland out to the sea.
This is spectacular.
But there's a lot more to this place than just the views
and it's all to do with the landscape
and the ever-changing tides.
'Lock Etive has one of the largest flows of white water in the UK.
'Unlike other stretches of white water,
'it's ruled by the tide, making it very dangerous.'
Every year, the Royal National Lifeboat Institution
come here to practise their emergency flood techniques.
This water replicates the kind of conditions that they could face
in real-life flood situations.
Because the water is so fast-flowing,
it also attracts adrenaline junkies.
Tony Hammock is a local kayak instructor.
He knows these waters well.
Why is this so special from a kayakers' point of view,
and why is it so different to any other white water?
It's hugely powerful.
So when it's running full bore,
there are over 4,000 tonnes of water coming through there a second.
It's absolutely massive.
At the same time, it is variable,
so you can get a huge range of conditions even within a day.
Huge quantities of water flow from the mountains
through the neck of the loch, creating fast-moving white water,
which also creates the perfect conditions for flood-rescue training.
The threat and impact of flooding at home and abroad
continues to be a huge issue.
Rising sea levels and increasingly severe rainstorms
means the situation is likely to get worse.
Every year, the RNLI come to Scotland
to use the loch and surrounding fast-moving rivers.
All but one of the guys here are volunteers.
They have day jobs, too, so continuous training is essential.
On average, the RNLI saves 22 people a day at sea.
But flood training, that's a different loch full of fish.
Today, members of the RNLI are here
to practise their search-and-rescue skills in flood conditions.
I'm joining to see if I've got what it takes.
'I'll be in the safe but wet hands of Robin Goodlad.'
'Quite a reassuring name!'
This is the sort of training venue we need to find
that gives us realistic water.
-That's why we are here.
-What's going to be going on?
I see a couple of lads are ready to go now.
What is the plan?
What we will be doing is swift-water rescue training.
All of our crew members have sea-going experience,
but working in a flood environment is completely different.
You've got hazards such as park benches, fences, railings,
that you don't get at sea,
So we have to train them with a realistic environment.
-That was Nige going like a rocket!
You have chosen this section of the river because...
It's fast-moving. It replicates the flood environment.
Two years ago, 12 and a half inches of rain water fell in just 24 hours
on Cockermouth in Cumbria.
The RNLI, along with other emergency services,
helped rescue 300 people
cut off or swept away by flood water.
Carl Sadler was on the front line.
How much does this training prepare you for those real situations?
-It's quite different to rivers.
When I was in Cockermouth,
it was the volume of water coming straight through the high street.
It reminds me of this situation here.
Does it really?
The actual rocks underneath the water here
represents the cars and the trees underneath the water.
Roy, you were in Gloucester, at the floods there. What was that like?
We didn't have quite the same speed of water
they had in Cockermouth,
but it was the sheer scale. It was over a number of counties.
Their resources were thin on the ground.
We were continuously on the go for about 72 hours.
And when you are faced with a situation like Cockermouth,
-did you go straight into RNLI mode?
-You don't have time to get shocked,
because it is straight in.
At Cockermouth, our recce was to get in there,
see what's happening,
because we were the first boats into Cockermouth High Street.
Before these guys can think about rescuing people
from fast-moving water,
they have to learn to survive it themselves.
So swift-water training is vital.
The time is getting closer to when I'm going to get in.
You'd better tell me the best way of getting out!
Either side we've got a flat section of water.
This side, they're called eddies.
The main flow is the jet in the middle.
We are working between the eddies.
As you enter, point your upper body upstream.
As your upper body and head goes into the flow,
the current will whip you round and try turning you downstream.
What you've to do it is backward paddling and keep going.
Once the momentum is taken out of the water,
you'll find it is slack and calm, you are not going anywhere.
At that point, try rolling towards the other side, like a log roll,
and that will take you into the eddy.
Right, let's see what happens.
The lovely thing about this is that the RNLI is an arm's reach away!
'Here I go.'
'The current is incredibly strong.
'I have to fight to get the other side.'
It's just a wall of water, man.
You're paddling away, doing a little turn,
spot the shore, grrr, dig in and go.
But what a feeling!
That's invigorating, I tell you what.
But I'm so happy to be doing it in this environment,
with the protection of these lads.
Because it doesn't bear thinking about,
that happening for real in a flood situation.
'This is scary stuff. And only the start of my training.'
'Later, I'll be thrown in at the deep-end on Loch Etive,
'when I really get put through my paces
'in some emergency flood manoeuvres.'
This is emblematic Scottish landscape.
Fresh clear water rushes down off the surrounding mountains
through dense glens into the glass-like loch.
The northern half of Loch Etive is the least accessible
and therefore the most tranquil,
possibly one of the few remaining places of true wilderness
left in the country.
And with that comes great opportunities to spot wildlife.
'I've arranged for Philip Price
'to join me for the next leg of my journey.'
-Some serious kit you've got there!
-It does the job.
'He's a wildlife photographer,
'passionate about the flora and fauna of his homeland.'
What is it about Loch Etive that is so great for wildlife photography?
The variety you get in Loch Etive is absolutely astonishing.
Just where we are travelling now,
that is the back of Ben Cruachan up there.
On the top of Ben Cruachan you will get hares,
all the real mountain alpine animals.
Then you come down the slopes and you get these woodlands.
And there is a phenomenal place for red squirrels.
You come down into the loch side
and you will get cormorants, shags, eiders,
you name it, you've got all of your marine life down here.
We have even seen otters along the coast.
So, in terms of diversity, you simply can't beat Loch Etive,
it's a wonderful place.
'After venturing north to the quietest part of the loch,
'we find what we were looking for.'
-Aren't they awesome? Look at that.
-You couldn't dream up that scene.
It's just mind-boggling.
To see this many here, in this location.
I come here regularly, but... It's just astonishing.
We ought to take a picture, since we are here.
What I've noticed is you stuck me on auto.
We are going to change that.
If you zoom to 300 mil, it gives you maximum zoom.
We will put it on aperture priority
and that is the technical term
that means you control how blurry the background is
and the camera then helps you with controlling how much light to let in
and correctly exposing.
-Just have a go then?
Get the centre square, when you look through the viewfinder,
right over the animal's head.
That means the head is in focus. When looking through the lens,
-you will see how gorgeous these animals are.
-Best in show there for the photographic competition!
And just the scenery and the wildlife.
I was hoping we would see seals, but you never know.
And when it happens...
I'll never get bored with doing wildlife photography,
because that unknown,
so when it happens, it makes it all the more sweeter.
Oh, wow, look at that.
If you want to get close to wildlife in the great outdoors,
the BBC has teamed up with a range of partners
who offer activities throughout the UK.
Go to our website and click on "things to do".
James is somewhere over that mountain,
where water is the key ingredient.
This is the 100ft Cruachan Dam, which holds back a huge reservoir.
It looks something like a scene out of a James Bond movie.
JAMES BOND THEME TUNE
The name's Wong, James Wong.
You didn't really think I was going to do that, did you?
Well done, Andy! Congratulations.
I don't have a licence to kill,
I don't even have a licence to drive.
The closest I am going to come to Pierce Brosnan
is the fact that scenes from the film The World Is Not Enough
were shot right here, deep inside this mountain.
'That's because buried 1,000ft below these thistles
'is one of the country's most amazing engineering achievements.'
A revolutionary hydropower station.
The first of its kind in the world and built nearly 50 years ago.
'From the top of the dam, you can see right down to Loch Awe,
'which is connected to the reservoir
'by underground pipes that travel through the power station.'
Michael Mullen worked here for 39 years.
I still can't believe that 1,000ft below that it is a power station.
How did they build it?
It was dug out by a big machine, which rotated and dug it out.
All the tunnels that were built were done by drilling and blasted out.
You'd never believe it. It looks such a natural space.
That must have been hundreds and hundreds of tonnes of rock
hewn right out of the mountain.
Thousands of tonnes, yes.
The health and safety wasn't what it is today.
It must have been pretty horrendous.
Cruachan was revolutionary.
It was the first plant that could store electricity.
Allow me to explain simply.
The generators are powered by water
travelling from the reservoir to the loch through its turbines.
But here's the clever bit. The turbines are reversible.
This means that during the night when we are asleep,
they can use the excess electricity to pump the water from the loch
back up to the reservoir,
ready for driving the turbines when we need the power most.
Unbelievably, the pylons which carry the electricity
have been taken off-line for repairs
for the first time in 50 years.
I hope someone is keeping a GoldenEye on the off switch,
You Only Live Twice!
Once a year the heart of the power station
gets some essential maintenance work done
and I've been given special permission
to go right down into the control room.
It's a part the public don't normally get to see.
You might say it's For Your Eyes Only. Good to meet you.
Getting inside means a short drive down a long tunnel.
'I'm trying not to think
'of the half of a mile of solid rock above my head.
'I'd prefer to Die Another Day.'
-We can go down up to a kilometre down here.
-This is a kilometre long?!
-One kilometre long.
-This is your drive to work every day?!
-I drive to work every day, yes.
-It's like a bat cave inside here.
It's quite exciting.
'This might be all in a day's work for engineer Alastair Dewar,
'but it's scaring The Living Daylights out of me!'
OK, James, this is the tally to let them know we are in here.
-You check in. Yep.
-And we'll just head in.
Wow! This ceiling!
-This is where it all happens?
-This is where it all happens.
We're lucky today, there's only one machine ticking over,
or we wouldn't be able to speak.
'The space inside this mountain is immense.'
'Apparently, you could fit the Tower of London in here.'
These are the turbines that get spun round
by the water generating electricity?
-Yes. We've got three levels.
-I'm not going to look over too much!
-This goes three or four times below the floor.
At the top is a small motor and the next floor is the main generators.
And then another level down is the actual heart of the turbine.
You really can't forget you are underground
because you see the exposed rock.
I don't know how I'd feel about working here.
It's an amazing design but, yes, you feel hemmed in,
ironically, when there is a big ceiling.
When the turbines are working at maximum capacity,
they are kicking out 440 megawatts of electricity to the grid
in less than 30 seconds. Now, that's fast.
'That's enough to power a city the size of Edinburgh.
'So next time you flick of the TV to watch Countryfile,
'spare a thought for the 33 guys working here, without natural light,
'to ensure the electricity you need Tomorrow...Never Dies!'
Still to come on tonight's programme...
'I'll be joining the RNLI
'on a training exercise out on the loch...'
Everything seems to happen so fast.
..John's back with a reminder
of how to vote in the Countryfile photographic competition...
..and, on Adam's farm, Eric the bull is causing trouble again...
Come on, you naughty boy. Your ladies are over there.
..plus, we'll have the weather forecast for the week ahead.
Earlier in the programme,
John was investigating the rise of the staycation.
But with a growing number holidaying in Britain,
what impact is this having on our countryside?
'I'm in the Churnet Valley, a treasured part
'of the Staffordshire Moorlands, rich in history and natural beauty.'
'But with more visitors coming every year,
'there are those wanting to capitalise on the tourism.'
There are plans to turn this valley into a tourism corridor
leading up towards the Peak District,
with more accommodation, attractions and hopefully many more visitors.
But how might that affect the identity, the character of this area?
And would it spoil its natural beauty?
'Some people certainly think so.
'John Higgins has lived in the Churnet Valley
'for the last 20 years.'
How do you detect the mood
of local people about this plan to boost tourism?
Fear and trepidation I think is the answer, John. I am worried about it.
What we really want to do is, we are not against tourism,
very much far from it.
We want tourists in the valley, but we want the right kind of tourists.
What we need is the kind of tourists who are going to come
and spend their money in the valley at the local places.
We've got all the infrastructure here
to support walkers, cyclists, horse riders.
But the idea is to get many more people in here,
and that will have an impact.
I don't say that that's wrong.
I want to keep the money in the valley, I don't want large hotels.
I don't want a huge developments that people will only come to by car
and will stay there and go home at the end of the day.
That does not profit the local economy.
These worries aren't confined to the Churnet Valley,
because across the country
businesses are keen to benefit from the boom.
An indication of the investment that's now going into rural tourism
comes with the news that one of Britain's biggest hotel chains
is going to build 37 hotels near to our top countryside locations.
It's going to focus in particular on areas close to national parks.
That's going to raise some eyebrows.
So can tourism ever really blend into the landscape?
There's one high-profile development which claims to have done just that.
I've come out to Wales, to Pembrokeshire,
to a holiday village where cars have to be left on the outside.
It opened only three years ago in the very heart of the National Park.
So when it was first proposed, there were concerns about
the possible impact this place would have on this very beautiful area.
Concerns which we reported at the time.
Back then there were fears,
not just about the effect on the countryside,
but also that it would take tourists away from existing businesses.
The proposed development is such a large one,
the impact on local tourism could be cannibalisation
of self-catered accommodation.
It's almost a one-horse bet on local tourism.
Despite the objections, the development got the go-ahead.
So how does it sit in the landscape today?
Perhaps, not surprisingly, the boss, William McNamara,
feels that it works well.
This is where your dairy cows used to graze
when you took a huge financial gamble on setting up this village.
-Staycation paying off for you?
-Yes, it is now.
-This is farming but in a different way.
-You're farming people here.
When the plans were first put forward for this village
there were concerns, weren't there?
People were worried it might ruin a part of the National Park.
Yes, and we were very sensitive to that through the planning process.
But what we've delivered is what we said we would deliver.
You can see, we've planted 170,000 trees and shrubs.
Nothing breaks the horizon, so you can't actually see it from outside.
We have over 200 suppliers to the business
that are Pembrokeshire-based companies.
Our guests stay at Bluestone
but see a lot of Pembrokeshire.
It is so important to put money back into the area.
In fact, it's claimed that this resort brings
between £8-10 million to the local economy every year.
The site also supports a co-operative of 15 farmers
who all grow crops for the development.
Miscanthus, origin of Asia, it's grass similar to bamboo.
We chip it and blend it with woodchip
and burn it in the bio-mass boilers to supply the heat for Bluestone.
So a project like this is bringing together tourism and agriculture.
Yes. In this rural area of Pembrokeshire I think the two
main wealth creators in the rural area are farming and tourism.
They do fit well together.
Despite the sensitive nature of the Bluestone National Park Resort,
there are still some local people who wish it had never been built.
So back in Staffordshire,
are there lessons that can be learnt for the Churnet Valley?
This is idyllic, Andrew, pottering along on the canal,
but earlier on we were talking about plans to turn the valley
into a tourist corridor, encouraging many more people to come here.
How do you do that without spoiling the place?
What we've got to do it is anything that is built in this valley,
it must be sympathetic, it must be built with local materials.
-New hotels and things like that?
-Oh, yes, of course.
It's got to fit in, and it's got to fit in also with
the residents as well.
What about the infrastructure of the valley, lots of winding roads.
Many more people coming here would cause traffic jams.
I think one of the most important things is to get people
out of vehicles, on to the alternative forms of transport.
We don't want to spoil what we've got. That's absolutely fundamental.
It's clear that making the most of the home-grown tourist boom
is going to be a balancing act.
It's great to think that so many people
are rediscovering the beauty of the British countryside,
and that rural economies are feeling the benefit.
But we all have to be incredibly careful that development
and high numbers of visitors don't spoil the beauty
and tranquillity that brought people here in the first place.
To me, to me!
After 12 months of hard graft,
the harvest is almost over down on the farm.
But life for Adam never stops. He's already preparing for next year.
Well, there's a good feeling on the farm today
because harvest is virtually over,
the combine will be arriving back in the yard this afternoon.
We've got through 300 acres of winter rape
and then about 440 acres of barley.
And then 375 acres of winter wheat.
So there's been a lot of hard work going on and the sheds
are now brimming with grain.
This shed holds around 900 tonnes.
We've got 600 tonnes of milling wheat over there,
that'll go for making bread.
And on this side, we've got around 300 tonnes of feed wheat,
this will go for animal feed.
And even though it's safe and in the shed,
we still need to look after it.
We blow cold air through the grain to keep cool
and we keep the moisture out.
It's very important because if this gets wet and warm, that encourages
insects into the grain that will eat it and that devalues it.
And at the moment the price of wheat is high.
There's a worldwide shortage which is keeping the price up.
Overall, the harvest was pretty successful.
We were worried about the dry spring, but June and July was good
and the berries filled up nicely.
Overall, we probably did a little bit better than last year.
But my work doesn't stop here.
Now the fields have been harvested, we need to get them working again.
While the weather is still being kind to us,
we need to get on with our planting, with the drilling.
And the ground is quite compacted
and needs turning over to create a good seedbed.
That's where this bad boy comes in handy.
You can see the discs are cutting the ground
and then behind it are some great big tines that are pulling
through the soil, and then it's chopping up as it goes through.
And there is the tilth that's left behind.
Nice, broken soil, full of moisture, ready to plant the seed into.
The sooner we can get crops back in the ground before the onset
of winter, the better chance they'll have.
In the next field, I'm keen to check on the crop I've already planted.
It's one I'm hoping the sheep will benefit from.
These stubble turnips are looking good.
They are what is known as a catch crop.
People have grown the stubble turnips and swedes for years.
What we're doing is grabbing the opportunity to grow
a crop in between two others.
There was wheat in here, now stubble turnips
and we'll plant spring barley next February.
Stubble turnips are one of the fastest growing catch crops,
producing nutritious turnips in just 12 weeks,
which makes great use of the land.
And this is feed for the sheep over the winter.
It'll carry on growing, there'll be plenty of leaf
and the bulb on the bottom here in the root will swell up to
be about the size of my fist.
This is full of sugar and carbohydrates.
It will save us on animal feed over the winter.
We won't have to feed concentrate pellets or silage,
they can just live off these.
And because we're short of grass this summer,
we decided to plant this field to tide the sheep over winter,
to feed the lambs, and they should fatten up really nicely on this.
But it's not just lambs born in the spring that will
benefit from these stubble turnips.
This year we've had some late arrivals on the farm.
We had about 15 or 20 ewes that didn't conceive last autumn.
And while we were busy lambing in the spring, we put them
back to the ram just to see if it would work really, and it did.
Quite a few have got in lamb,
and here we are lambing when most people lamb in the spring.
It's a bit odd really.
But these lambs will stay on their mothers now,
they'll go out on those stubble turnips.
Lovely little lambs. They're all lambing in the field over there
and I'm taking the freshly born ones to join the other newborns.
Come on then. Meep, meep.
Come on then. There he is.
We've got a set of triplets, a set of twins
and two single lambs, which is great news.
And these lambs will stay with their mothers,
graze on the turnips and they'll be ready for the table in February
when the price of lamb is high because there's a shortage.
We've got a bit of a spring scene as we turn the corner towards winter.
These aren't the only new arrivals.
One of my pigs has been busy rearing her young, too.
This is one of our Iron Age sows.
She's a cross between a wild boar and a Tamworth.
She's given birth to a lovely litter of nine piglets in here.
We're going to have to turn them all out into the field now.
We'll just separate her from her piglets and put her on the front.
There's a good girl, there's a good girl.
My sow can be a bit of a handful because she's part wild boar.
But John's here to help.
Well done, John, good skills.
This is the easy bit, now we just catch the little piglets.
They're like wriggly little rabbits. They're incredibly sweet.
The wild boar in them gives them this stripiness,
which is like a camouflage.
Aren't they gorgeous?
These piglets are about five days old.
They're in good health, so I'm happy to let them
go out in the field to enjoy the fresh pasture and open space.
So now we'll just carry the little piglets and put them
in their new home and let the sow out and she'll go and find them.
Three little pigs.
In you go.
Pigs are really hardy creatures, so she'll live outside very happily.
That's where I much prefer to see them.
-She's all right, John, isn't she?
She's a bit of an angry at the moment, but tomorrow she'll be happy.
Yeah. Great. All right, let's leave her be.
Not all of our animals are as small, cute and easy to handle.
Out in the field, Eric is giving me a bit of a headache.
I think he's having women problems.
This is Eric, my new Highland bull.
I bought him at the Oban cattle sales in the spring,
and he's a wonderful looking animal.
I'm hoping he's going to really improve my herd
with the calves that are born next spring.
He's incredibly athletic and powerful,
he's about a ton of solid muscle.
He can run fast and he can cause a bit of damage.
He's already started sticking his head in the fence and breaking it.
You can see he's getting interested in my White Park cows.
They're coming into season and he wants to get in with them.
And if he jumped this fence and served one of these cows,
the calves would come out ginger and I want them to be pedigree.
This is barbed wire and it's very, very sharp.
And he's a shoving his neck down and it, it must be hurting.
He's as tough as old boots. So I'm going to have to shift him.
Come on, you naughty boy. Your ladies are over there!
Go on, go on.
Go on, Eric.
He can turn from a big, bumbling, ambling bull to this racing machine.
For a bull that weighs about a ton he can't half shift.
And I've got to know him, so I trust him,
but you do have to be careful with these animals.
They're big and powerful, and it's only because I know him
that I can move him around like this.
He doesn't want to leave this lovely grass. Go on!
He's pretty quiet, really.
I'll leave him in there with his ladies now.
I'm hoping he's got some of them in calf.
But a good solid gate, a barbed-wire fence and then a stone wall -
that should keep him in.
Next week, I'm heading to Devon to visit a farmer whose recently
adopted a large herd of traditional English cattle
that are close to my heart. Longhorns.
On the west coast of Argyll in Scotland, Loch Etive
is where the sea water from the Firth of Lorn meets the fresh water
filtering down through the mountains.
The nature of the loch is pretty special.
The water is brackish, which means that it's saltier than freshwater,
but not as salty as sea water.
Because of this, there's a huge variety of fish species
in the loch, as many as 40.
Which means it's like a theme park for anglers.
5,000 take to the water each year.
It may be good news for anglers, but the water has also been
blamed in part for the decline of an important industry on the loch.
We are approaching a mussel farm just over there on the shore.
Really, it should be a hive of activity,
pulling in the mussels and processing them and getting them shipped off.
But it all looks a bit too quiet.
As these pictures from four years ago show,
Walter Spears had a thriving £250,000 a year business.
Today it's down to virtually nothing,
and the place has been effectively mothballed.
So tell me about what's happened to the farm.
The farm has really collapsed
because of the invasive species that's arrived,
this Mytilus trossulus, which is not of any value commercially.
We are really having to try and eradicate it to try
and get this native stock of edulis back on our lines again.
So edulis you do want, nice and weighty.
-Nice and juicy.
-A nice juicy one.
And then on the other hand we have these trossulus ones.
-If I just squeeze that, it just crumbles.
-Just throw it away.
There's nothing inside there that you would really want to eat.
-There's hardly anything in there.
Definitely looks less attractive too.
This one, a nice meaty edulis. Nice and fleshy and succulent to eat.
To give the edulis, or blue mussel, a chance to re-establish,
the unwanted trossulus mussels are being removed from the loch.
Marine Scotland Science are taking water samples,
looking for signs
that the populations are changing in the right direction.
So how did these two different species end up here in the loch?
What we think may have happened is that mussels may have
come across from Canada probably around about 10,000 years ago.
So it's not one of these alien invasions.
Probably not. The evidence that we've got suggests that it probably
happened before human intervention.
So how then did trossulus become dominant here?
We don't really know, but one theory we have is
that the conditions in this loch may have exacerbated the problem.
The fact that it's low salinity, which trossulus likes.
And it also likes living in the surface waters,
and low salinity water tends to be at the surface.
And the introduction of all of these mussel farms in the loch may
have provided it with a habitat where it can flourish
and outcompete the native blue mussel.
But for Walter and the whole community, it's a slow recovery.
It must have been quite stressful going through this process.
Sure, it was a difficult time and not just for me.
There were five companies working on this loch
and maybe 20 to 25 people in full-time employment from it,
as well as all the lorry drivers and things.
This loch at its peak was producing 1,000 tonnes of mussels a year.
So for that to have crashed to zero now and for all these people to
have lost their jobs is significant in an economy like Argyll and Bute.
In a moment we'll be finding out what the weather has lined up for us.
But first, this is your very last chance to vote for your favourite in
this year's photographic competition, with its theme Best In Show.
Here's John with a reminder of what you need to do.
We've given each of our final photos a number,
and we'd like you to vote for your favourite.
Calls cost 10p from a BT landline, other operators may vary
and calls from mobiles will be considerably higher.
Lines close at midnight tonight and all the details
including the BBC's code of conduct for competitions are on our website.
And we'll reveal the results of that vote on October 9th,
along with the photo that the judges have chosen as their favourite.
Thank you to everybody who's entered. It's going to be an awesome calendar.
Now, here's the weather.
Loch Etive, a stunning 20-mile stretch of dramatic scenery
and calm waters in the midwest of Scotland.
It has everything a visitor could ask for - undulating landscape,
beautiful views and diverse wildlife.
But don't be fooled by its beauty, this loch is highly dangerous.
The water here can change from calm very quickly
to some of the fastest moving white water in the United Kingdom,
making it ideal for the RNLI to train for emergency flood rescue.
The international flood rescue team was formed by the charity in 2000.
It's made up of three teams of 20 people,
all of them on permanent standby for disasters at home and abroad.
Every year they come to places like Loch Etive to train.
Robin, I'm still here after the swift water training,
which enables me to move on to the next exercise.
Absolutely, you did really well.
Great swimming and I'm happy for you to come out on the boat.
This morning we had 15 cubic metres per second coming down the river.
-This afternoon we've got 4,500 cubic metres per second
-so we've stepped it up a little bit.
-Yes, but the boat is involved here.
We're moving up to our safe operational platform
for working in floods.
We're much safer being on a boat than in the water.
The general idea is to go out and look at scenarios we've put together.
We've given these guys a toolbox of skills and techniques in the training
so we need to allow them the opportunity to put them into practice
and make their own assessment of how to carry out a rescue.
What I need you to do is be part of the crew.
Our first rescue scenario is a report of a house
which has got one person and a dog trapped inside.
The water is rising rapidly.
Robin wants these flood rescue exercises to be as real as possible.
The idea here is we're almost abseiling with a rip.
Because of the power of the water we can't use the engines
so we're slowly letting ourselves out.
We've managed to reach the window, battling against the tide.
In a real-life situation, this would mean the successful rescue
of people or animals trapped inside.
But the drama continues.
The idea here is that Roy will get into the water upstream,
come down, and I'll throw the line out to him, which he'll grab,
and then we'll pull him into the boat. Here we go.
This exercise is used to practise rescuing people
who have been swept away by fast-moving flood water.
It's just so frantic, everything seems to happen so fast
and you're so aware of the white water and the torrents
and everything kicking up behind you.
It really is like a one-show wonder.
Got him! The casualty is safe.
In order to get to those in trouble,
this job relies heavily on being able to instantly react
to the environment around you, and that means controlling the boat.
We're entering into the world of high-speed turns
and these are used in a situation where there isn't enough room
to turn around so the rest of the crew act as ballast.
When our driver shouts right, then we all lean to the right.
Cockermouth is a classic example, so we're going down the High Street,
we can't do a three-point turn,
so you're spinning the boat on a sixpence.
Here we go.
Glad I got to do the boat cruise!
What a day I've had.
To experience the power of the water of this place
in the experienced hands of this lot has been something else.
I've got so much respect for all the work they do here
and all over the world. What a team. What a team they are!
-Hello, how are you doing?
Judging by your attire,
I'm guessing your boat trip wasn't as extreme as mine.
-It was quite sedate. We enjoyed the view.
-That's all we've got time for.
Next week we're going to be in the Garden of England, Kent,
home to the national fruit collection
where we'll be sampling apples fit for a king.
And we'll be trying our hand
at the at the local sporting tradition of bat and trap.
-How about that?
-Does it involve bag throwing or fast turns?
Right, well I'd better get changed.
You've only got a few more hours
to vote in our Countryfile photographic competition.
All the details are on our website
and we'll reveal the results on October 9th,
-along with the judges' favourite. See you next week.
Subtitles by Red Bee Ltd
E-mail [email protected]
Matt Baker and Ellie Harrison head to Scotland to explore Loch Etive. The fast, white waters make it the perfect training ground for the RNLI's international flood rescue team, as Matt finds out when he joins their ranks for the day. Meanwhile, Ellie discovers how a fluke of nature has brought local mussel farms to the brink of collapse and explores the industrial heritage behind one of Scotland's most beautiful landscapes.
And with more and more of us choosing to holiday in Britain, John Craven investigates the impact of the "staycation" on our countryside. Down on the farm, harvest is nearing its end - but has it proved fruitful for Adam?
Plus a reminder of how to vote for your favourite image in the Countryfile Photographic Competition.