Countryfile is in Dumfries and Galloway for the launch of this year's photographic competition. Matt Baker explores the locations used in some iconic feature films.
Browse content similar to 20/05/2012. Check below for episodes and series from the same categories and more!
Think of a Scottish landscape
and many people will picture the Highlands,
but there's more a gentle side to the country,
that's just as captivating.
Dumfries and Galloway - green and glorious,
but it's as rich in its culture as it is in countryside.
And while I'm here, I'm going to be chatting to those
behind one of the country's best up-and-coming art festivals
and snooping around locations
for big-budget movies.
Away from the festival, there's plenty more to see.
This is about as far north as you can get to see
one of our most amazing animals.
I don't know why I'm whispering. Soon as it gets dark,
they make one heck of a racket!
I'm not the only one with a camera.
John's joining us to launch
the annual Countryfile photographic competition.
Our theme this year is Walk On The Wild Side
and to give you some idea what we're looking for,
my fellow judge, Chris Packham, is on a mission.
His challenge - to take a walk on the wild side
with a famous petrol head!
Jeremy Clarkson is actually a rather keen birdwatcher
and today, there's going to be no fast cars.
I'm getting a tour of Jeremy's farm
to get some inspiration for this year's photographic competition.
There's a car going down the B4026.
I think it's a Subaru Forester.
Spoke too soon.
And on Adam's Farm...
I love buying new animals and today
it's all about my county breed of pig,
the Gloucestershire Old Spot.
I've got these piglets and their mum
and I'm turning them out on to my farm for the very first time.
Mountains, countryside, moorland.
And over 200 miles of coastline.
People have been drawn
to Dumfries and Galloway for centuries.
It's Scotland's most south-westerly region,
bordering Cumbria and stretching to the Irish Sea.
I'm heading to Wigtown out on the coast.
It's a place that's hit the big time in a rather surprising way.
With under 1,000 residents, Wigtown isn't a big town,
but it's of national importance.
..tell you what, read the sign!
Amazingly, there are 15 book-related businesses here.
But can this many sellers
really co-exist in one town?
Shaun Bythell owns the aptly named The Book Shop.
We all have different stocks.
The whole sort of, theory of the book town
is that you create a critical mass of shops
and that they don't necessarily compete with each other,
but they support each other
and I think that seems to be how it works.
Having had a brief look around, Shaun, you've got books
on every single topic.
Have you got any idea how many books are in this shop?
We think we've got about 100,000.
That's based on measuring the amount of shelving we've got
and that comes to roughly a mile.
So how did a small, relatively unknown place like Wigtown,
become Scotland's national book town?
In the late '80s and early '90s,
Wigtown had lost its major industry in the distillery and creamery
in nearby Bladnoch, which meant there were lots of vacant houses
and lots of properties because people had moved away.
In 1996, there was an application process
for becoming Scotland's national book town.
Wigtown applied and in 1997,
we found out that we'd won.
Were there quite a few bookshops to start with?
There were two bookshops -
one bookshop and one book-related business.
Basically the rest stemmed from there.
Once we'd become Scotland's national book town
more and more book businesses came.
But it's not just books -
Wigtown holds two art festivals a year,
one now and another in the autumn.
Often the bookshops double up as venues.
# I say that they had to... #
Music plays a big part,
with local artists like Zoe Bestel performing their own songs.
# They say that they saw you
# That they saw you
# Kiss her again
# Please say they're wrong
# I guess it's goodbye. #
That was beautiful!
# 2,000 men from Galloway
# Drowned in the waters of the icy Solway... #
Out in the town square,
The Cochranes are in full swing, performing a song
they've written, inspired by Galloway's history.
# Were never seen again. #
The perfect backdrop to an already charming place.
I can see why Wigtown has just been announced
Scotland's Most Creative Small Town 2012.
The town's creative flair
can be found in the most unusual of places.
Apparently, there's is a theatre in here somewhere.
I was told by those up on the High Street
to ring the bell and all will become clear.
Right, here we go. "Pull (hard)."
Don't know if I dare.
-Who is it?
-Hello, my name's Matt.
I'm from Countryfile.
I've been expecting you.
Now a private house,
this used to be the Wigtown lock-up.
Its cells have remained largely unchanged.
Are we going in, or what?
-Yes, Mr McNearney?
I have a visitor here to see the prison.
I'll bring him in.
Right, come away in.
The specially conceived play, based on historical records,
shows two prisoners comparing sentences.
That the women were held in these cells in the 1850s
adds to the poignancy, and intensity, of the performance.
You're in here for ten mair days.
I stole some crays and I am in here for ten months.
The play and its almost claustrophobic setting,
certainly provide a powerful glimpse into Wigtown's past.
This truly is a creative small town -
but I'm not done yet,
because later I'll be meeting a retired farmer
who's also developed an artistic streak.
Right, while we're exploring Dumfries and Galloway,
Tom is down south,
finding out about life on the farm in Somerset.
Fertile plains, shaped by generations
of farming history.
A tradition carried on today by small-scale farmers,
making their first steps into this age-old industry.
It's just before six in the morning and though I may be a bit bleary,
life is beginning to stir here on Oxenford Farm.
It's been like this pretty much at the start of every day
since Dave Crabb and his family took on this tenant farm -
the fulfilment of a lifelong dream.
Dave's a tenant on a county farm -
council owned properties
intended to rent to first-time farmers
at more affordable rates than commercially-let land.
-You're looking bright and breezy!
-It's like this every morning.
-Is that right?
How many cattle do you have here?
I'm milking about 60 at the moment.
This is you every morning,
and pretty much 365?
-I love it.
-You love it?
-I love it.
It's just me. When I used to milk for somebody else,
because I'm a first-generation farmer,
I always wanted me own farm.
Dave's run this place on his own
for just over a decade -
the slim margins mean he can't afford
to hire any permanent help.
County farms like Dave's
rose to prominence between the World Wars,
providing essential jobs and food production.
But they've proved a vital in-road
into the industry since 1908,
when it was made compulsory for councils to make land available
to young people wanting to enter farming.
Now offering these farms is at the council's discretion
and their numbers have dropped from around 32,000 at their peak
to around 2,500 today.
That is one of the perks of getting up early. You get a decent breakfast.
-Life wasn't always like this.
I'm the youngest of six, so we started off on a council estate.
This is something I've always wanted to do.
Given that you didn't start in farming, how did you get into it?
I knew the council farms were here.
We actually sold our house to do this.
We put everything on the line.
How has it been? Has it been a good move?
I am glad we done it.
It is still hard,
definitely got to work at it and be prepared to work.
You can get people to do relief for you,
but it's all a cost
and the margins are pretty tight.
Although larger tenant farms are flourishing,
life on many smaller holdings, like Dave's,
is increasingly tough.
The last 50 years has seen the amount of tenant land
drop by a quarter.
And for those starting out with just 100 acres or so,
changes in the way we farm today mean
pressure is constantly building.
Average farm sizes have increased in recent years as
we want cheap food and the supermarkets demand
consistent supply, and for that bigger is seen as better.
So it's tough for the smaller guys, but that isn't their only problem.
The price of agricultural land is getting higher and higher.
This puts pressure on tenant farmers hoping to move on
and buy businesses of their own,
but more urgently it's driving up rents,
risking the future of many small farms already fighting for survival.
Well, we've seen some massive surges,
in the last five years 138% increases in the land values.
Wow, that's more than doubling in a five year period.
More than doubling in a five-year period.
That is astonishing. What's driving that?
A combination of factors, really.
I think increases or expected increases in soft commodity prices -
in food - have given opportunities for more productive value -
profit - but also capital security that land offers.
Land is often put in the class with gold for being a safe
bet in difficult financial times.
And what's happening to rents?
Well, rents are following the same trends.
We're seeing increased activity in rent reviews
and increases in the rents, up to 20-25%.
So both farm size and sizable rent increases are working
against those starting out on the land,
and if it's tough for people have only just got in,
what hope is there for the farmers of tomorrow?
OK, soil sample. You need a bag, one for you...
Here on this agricultural course near Telford,
students are learning the skills they need for a variety of jobs.
Off you go.
But the Shropshire soil that they're testing today is a world away
from where Rachel Lawson sees her future.
My partner's actually in New Zealand at the minute
so there's an opportunity there for a partnership
together on a shared farming agreement.
Why do you feel you're having to go out to New Zealand rather
than farming here?
The shared farming is just something that isn't really offered here.
It's basically where new entrants or a farmer take
a share on the costs of running the farm
and then obviously take a share of the profits as well.
So it's of more gradual approach to owning a farm,
sort of one bite at a time.
Yeah, exactly. Here it's sort of, you find a farm to rent,
you've got the cost of the rents,
cost of improvements and it's just not viable.
People can't lend the money that's required to do that.
Although Rachel may be heading abroad,
our agricultural colleges are attracting more students than ever.
Some may find jobs in the wider industry,
but for those who want to take on a farm,
there is a growing thread.
Later on I'll be finding out why after 12 years of hard graft,
tenant farmer Dave Crabb may now lose everything.
At the western tip of Dumfries and Galloway there's a peninsula
shaped like a hammerhead, and known as the Rhins of Galloway.
It's dominated by its dramatic often wild and windswept coastline.
This distant corner isn't on most people's tick list
when it comes to visiting Scotland.
It's way off the beaten track. It's certainly new to me,
but just look what we've been missing -
a hidden gem.
The harbour village of Portpatrick lies at the heart of the Rhins.
Just 21 miles from Ireland, the port was once an important passenger
and trade route, ferrying 10,000 items of mail a day
across the Irish Sea.
But in the late 19th century a decision was taken to move the ferry
service to the more sheltered port of Stranraer, a few miles to the north,
and the harbour here fell upon bad times.
Now local people have formed a charitable trust
and bought the harbour themselves to put Portpatrick back on the map.
So what are you going to do to the harbour, then?
First of all, stop the dilapidation, conserve what we've got,
and then begin to improve the access for boats.
Dredging has already been done
and on shore we want to provide
toilet and shower facilities as a basic minimum for visiting yachts.
The harbour, to Portpatrick,
is like the village green to an English village.
It's the core of the community and we want to make the best of it.
The whole community would benefit from an increase in tourism here.
Robert Campbell is a third generation Portpatrick fisherman.
He's heading out to collect the daily catch, not just for market,
but for his harbour-side restaurant, as well.
Well, thanks for letting me come with you, Robert.
How many fisherman are there these days in this harbour?
There's very few now.
I would say I'm the only one that's left, really,
that's doing this lobster potting anyway, full time.
In the heyday, in my father and my grandfather's day
I would say there were 20 boats that'd work out of here.
And how will these plans to bring new life to the harbour affect you,
do you think?
I think it will be to the good of the village,
the whole of the village.
Hopefully it'll mean more visitors looking to sample Robert's
local crab and lobster
which he captures in pots strung in lines and sunk beneath the cliffs.
See if you can catch the buoy.
I'm going to try and catch the buoy.
-Yep, you've got him.
Well, I've caught something anyway!
Like a lottery, really.
-You don't really know what to expect.
-You don't know.
-Whether you're going to win or not.
-We've got two small lobsters here.
-Couple of babies.
I'll just put them back in there but I'm finding now that there
are more small lobsters than there ever has been,
and I've been fishing since a small boy in the '60s.
Why is that then?
Because of the depletion of the cod stocks.
When they're at a plankton stage that is one of
the favourite foods for a cod.
-And here's a big guy.
Of course most people are not used to seeing a lobster this colour, are they?
-Those beautiful blue claws.
And a black back.
It'll be on the menu tonight then maybe.
Yeah, be on the menu. That's the morning catch,
with the crab as well.
There you go.
With Robert's catch bound for the restaurant,
I'm off to discover what other wildlife there is
to find along this dramatic stretch of coast.
The Mull of Galloway is Scotland's very own Land's End
but because it's so isolated, right now, I'm the only visitor.
There's a fine light house and many seabirds on and RSPB reserve.
-Hello, Hannah. Good to see you.
-Hello! Nice to meet you.
Well, you're obviously doing a survey,
what particular birds are you looking at today on this windy cliff top?
I'm doing the black guillemots today.
About 95% of all of the black guillemots in the UK
are found in Scotland so really quite a Scottish species.
And we call them Tysties in Scotland
-rather than black guillemots.
Once you get your eye in you'll see the white wing spots that
jump out at you.
Once you've got your binoculars on you'll see the little red legs
paddling under the water as well.
I really see his red legs now.
-Exactly. They're both up there now.
-There's two down there now.
'Unlike ordinary guillemots, Tysties are found in much smaller groups.
'Though there's plenty of action at this time of year.'
Do they have a kind of courtship ritual, then?
That's right, that's what they do have.
They actually do a little dance where
they swim around each other in quite a tight circle, facing each other.
What about those two there? Is that courtship going on?
Yeah, I think it is.
Sort of a half-courtship,
they're not doing the fully circling around each other...
They're not convinced yet!
They're not completely convinced!
-Engaged but not married.
We like the little Tysties. We're proud of them in Scotland.
'And it's easy to see why this photogenic little bird is
'such a local favourite.'
Well, this is a great place to launch this year's Countryfile
photographic competition cos our theme is Walk On The Wild Side.
We want your photos of wildlife, of wild scenery - even wild weather.
And the best 12 pictures will make up the Countryfile
calendar for 2013 which we'll be selling in aid of Children In Need.
More details later and Matt is also going to be revealing just how
much this year's calendar has raised.
And let me tell you, it's exceeded our wildest expectations.
From it's wild coast to its undulated hills and woodland,
Dumfries and Galloway is home to some other wildlife treasures.
This is just the sort of place that makes you want to reach for your
camera and perhaps take that winning photograph for our competition.
There's birds, butterflies and not to mention red squirrels,
and they're all here thanks to the work of one man
and a nature-loving local community.
Retired-teacher Jim Ray set about transforming this site
nearly 30 years ago
and to day Eskrigg Nature Reserve is blooming with a huge
variety of wildlife in a just seven-acre patch.
Wow, this is beautiful, this!
Aye, it's superb, especially on a day like this.
Yeah, right! So how did you go about setting all this up?
With a lot of help.
In the mid '80s I was teaching Biology up at the local school
and trying to teach youngsters about conservation
and one of the children in my class told me about this place.
So it was all overgrown and silted up,
but the potential was obvious from the beginning.
Eventually we decided we wanted to go ahead so I approached
Sir Rupert who owns the land and we had a public meeting in Lockerbie.
Within two months we had the Lockerbie Wildlife Trust formed...
And we haven't looked back since.
It's such a range of habitats
and you've got all the animals associated with each of them.
We've go the moorland area,
-up there we get a whole range of butterflies.
We've got 16 different species so far.
-We've got little grebe nesting here a the moment. It's magic.
'The reserve's star attraction is a close-up view
'of one of the reserve's native species, the red squirrel.
'Thanks, in no small part, to Jim's daily feeding regime.'
So how many squirrels do you think you have in this reserve?
Well, in the reserve we know there's at least 12 coming
to the feeders at the moment,
but I think there's probably an awful lot more.
There's probably about 20 pairs in the woods round about.
Good healthy population.
'And it's not long before I spot one.'
There's one pretty high up in this tree up ahead.
It's thinking about going to the feeder.
It's beautiful bright, bright ginger.
'With reds having been muscled out by non-native grey squirrels
'across much of the UK,
'this little stronghold is a welcome haven.'
The Scotch Pine is a natural habitat for the red squirrels
and the estate have agreed to leave those.
-They've have for the past 20 years.
And they're going to leave them for the foreseeable future.
-It's a good place to be a red squirrel round here, isn't it?
-Oh, it's magic!
It's not just the red squirrels who enjoy coming here of course.
Jim hosts regular teaching visits from local schools and nurseries.
You put the net into the water and just move it backwards
With Jim's hands-on approach, community spirit is
certainly alive and well in this corner of Dumfries and Galloway.
Oh! Look what I've got in here!
Can you see something moving in the bottom of my net?
-It's a lizard!
-It's a newt.
Later I'll be on the hunt for a toad that you might expect to live
in a pond like this but this species is more at home by the sea.
I've been exploring Wigtown, Scotland's national book town.
With creative folk at every turn,
retired farmer-turned-photographer Fraser McCormack is no exception.
He's exhibiting as part of the festival.
Oh, Fraser, these are good.
The black face, there. He's a bonny lad.
You can't go wrong with a belted Galloway either.
Have you ever entered the Countryfile photographic competition?
-Have you? What did you enter?
-That one there.
-The Holy Lynn.
Oh, this one.
'What a great way to combine a passion for the countryside
'with a love of photography.'
Well, let me tell you,
Fraser is not the only one who's handy with a camera.
Our Countryfile calendar is made up from the best
entries from our photographic competition,
and a big thank-you to everybody who bought last year's calendar.
The pennies have been counted and you have raised an enormous...
for Children In Need. Brilliant stuff.
But now we want you to do it all over again
and this year's theme is Walk On The Wild Side.
In a moment to get you started, Jeremy Clarkson
and Chris Packham will be finding inspiration everywhere.
Look, here are the bones of all of they prey
that these birds have been eating.
Why don't we take a picture of this cos
I think it would go very well as the July page of the calendar.
And will the weather be picture perfect?
Find out with the Countryfile forecast for the week ahead.
As we found out earlier,
life for small tenant farmers can be tough, but as Tom's been
discovering there's now an even greater threat to their future.
The hours are long and the profits can be slim, but many of these small
scale farms and the farmers who run them are the future of the industry,
and there's still plenty of people, like Dave Crabb,
who want to give it a go.
So you got me up early milking, what's next?
Well, I think these girls need a bit more grass, don't you?
How does that happen?
We'll give them a shout, shall we?
Come on, then!
Come on, girls! Come on!
Come on then!
'Dave went from being born on a council estate
'to living a lifelong dream by taking on the tenancy of this
'115 acre council-owned farm just over a decade ago.
'He put everything he owned on the line and has worked day
'and night to build up a business and secure his family's future.
'But as cash becomes tight, councils are cutting back
'and Dave stands to lose it all.'
Somerset county council,
their policy now is to sell off most of their county farms.
We can stay here to the end of our tenancy which is 2018.
We've got the chance to buy it, with no discount,
so we obviously can't do that.
It's far too much money for us.
Is there no way at all you can scrape the money together
to buy it? How much would it be roughly?
Well, they valued it now, two years ago, at 1,085,000.
So that's it, six years and you fear you'll be thrown off this farm?
Yes, simple answer's yes.
This council in Somerset isn't the only one selling
and many other small tenant farmers like Dave are facing
a similar fate.
In the last decade more than 1,000 council farms have been sold off
and the advancing red on the map here shows the counties that have
been doing the selling and there's no sign of the rate slowing down.
Over the last 100 years county farms have been a new artery bringing
fresh blood into farming and now at risk of being choked off.
So where would that leave the farmers of tomorrow?
'Nick Prince is a tenant on a small farm himself and has spent
'the last 4 and a half years investigating county farms and their fate
'for his PhD.'
Why does it matter if we lose most of our county farms?
It's all about entry into farming.
The county farms are state accounts for round about 3% of the land
area in England and Wales, what it provides is round about
one third of the newly let equipped holdings in England.
Right, so of newly available farms they provide
a third even though they're just 3% of the land area?
That's right. They don't all go to new entrants, may of these are re-let
to established county farm tenants, but the percentage of equipped
holdings that it provides is quite significant to the industry.
In Somerset the county council have earmarked two thirds of farms for closure.
So why are you selling off so many farms in Somerset?
We've always been selling farms and suddenly it's become very urgent.
We face huge government cuts which we've absorbed over the last
couple of years.
Our debt costs us £100,000 per day to service as it is.
£100,000 a day?
£100,000 a day on debt and that is capital debt that's built up
so if I need to build a new school, repair some roads,
I unfortunately need to realise assets to balance the books.
So selling places like this really does help to keep the social
services of Somerset alive?
Absolutely. It keeps the whole fabric going.
What we have here is a very small number of farmers
carrying a huge subsidy from the county.
Do you think it's rather short-sighted though selling off the farms?
It's the only option I've got.
The sell-offs in Somerset have generated over £10,000,000 so far,
adding much more to the council's coffers in the short term
than renting this land would have done.
This site of silent farms about to go under the hammer
is repeated across much of the country.
Though some councils, like Staffordshire
and Cheshire East, are deciding to invest.
They believe that county farms are an integral part of our
rural society, and if you lose them, THAT risks unravelling.
But that's little solace to people like Dave Crabb who's
dream of farming is facing a very rude awakening.
If you have to move on, what will you do?
Well, I could probably go back and work for somebody else.
Well, I can milk cows. I can drive lorries.
And if you're driving a lorry past this farm when it's not yours anymore,
what are you going to be thinking?
I won't be very happy!
With so many of these county farms being sold off, where is that
next generation of keen recruits going to get that first step up?
To inspire you to enter this year's Countryfile photographic
competition, we asked someone who lives life in the fast lane to
go for a walk on the wild side with one of our judges.
Brace yourself as Chris Packham takes Jeremy Clarkson off-road.
That for sure is the delicate and beautiful trill of the skylark.
So this is not the sort of place you'd expect to happen across
a Mr J Clarkson.
But when Top Gear's man isn't burning rubber,
this Oxfordshire farm is his home.
But how's he going to respond
when I test the mettle of his inner countryman?
You see, Jeremy's lured us here to get some inspiration
for our photo competition.
We're after shots of all things wild.
The theme for this year's competition is a walk on the wild side.
So let's find Jeremy and get cracking.
-How are you?
-Yeah, all right, actually.
I'm on Countryfile!
I know. It's heresy.
-Come on then. Why isn't it? You've bought a farm.
-What's that all about?
-Look at it.
-I know but...
-But look at that.
Which would you rather have, some money in a bank or that?
Are you going to farm it?
-Do you know anything about farming?
Have you got any initial plans?
-Yes. Employ a man who knows about farming.
-That sounds like a good plan.
But in terms of farming, are you planning to do that
-with wildlife in mind?
-Oh, God yes.
No, absolutely. Definitely. 100%.
I want to get more butterflies.
I want to get many, many, many more birds, many more.
I want to do a hell of a lot to make it look nice
and to make wildlife come.
-Has this always been lurking beneath the surface?
-I'm a country boy.
I was born in the countryside.
So it's only natural that I want to enjoy it now...
-But one might argue...
-..in the autumn of my years.
Well, all right. Early winter.
'Well, it's time to take the old boy on the hunt for our first wild photo
'and straight away I can see some cracking subjects.
'Never neglect the obvious.
'And if you know where to look,
'there's a mini beast under every leaf, right up my street.
'But will Jeremy see it that way?'
Nettles are a remarkable plant when it comes to invertebrate...
I'm losing you, aren't I? Invertebrate biodiversity.
What you've done is you've hit on
two of the things I'm not interested in in life.
I'm not interested in nettles and I'm not interested in insects.
You see, I really like nettles.
They can change their shape in order to maximise their capacity
-to capture light.
-What it's actually doing is
-killing everything that lives underneath it...
-..in its shadow.
-It's a fantastic competitor.
Right. Roundup is what's needed here. Gallons of it.
I know you're not interested in insects,
but there's some nice insects down here.
Pond skaters, ferocious little predators.
They look good in macro too.
There's not enough light today, but I've got some good ones in the past.
-They're not very interesting.
-They're beautiful little things.
Not really, not compared to a mallard.
I always like using water if I can when it comes to taking photographs
because the reflective qualities of it are really nice.
'But in truth, Jeremy's pond isn't inspiring either of us today.'
I tell you what I have got,
I've got some are owl boxes which might have barn owls in them.
That sounds good.
Look, look, look. Look at that!
What about that?!
Did you get a picture?
-Oh, photo... No.
-Should have taken...
-They were too quick!
But look, you can see they've been here for some time
because all of their pellets are here. Look at that!
Don't pick things up.
You've done it with the nettles, no need to do it with that.
But this is fascinating, a little pellet like this.
You say pellet, but I've got another word in my head.
-No! This comes out through the mouth.
-This is the regurgitated...
Look. Here are the bones of all of the prey
that these birds have been eating, OK?
Why don't we take a picture of this
cos I think it would go very well as the July page of the calendar.
-Put your hand out. I need a receptacle.
-No, you don't.
Look, go on. There's the jaw bone, the lower jaw of a mouse.
We can use that in November.
-There's his eye.
-Here's another lower jawbone.
Take that home and put that on the shelf, keep that safe, hey?
Sometimes when I'm driving a Ferrari
a little bit too fast while shouting,
I think I earn my living in a silly way,
but I think you've probably topped me.
What you're saying is, and this is a good point,
-is I need to actually encourage the voles...
-..in order to make sure that my owl boxes are all full of owls.
'Now, if Jeremy really fancies himself as a wildlife champion,
'then it's farmland birds that really need his help.
'On a neighbouring farm, they've put out some bird feeders,
'so we're looking out for corn buntings and tree sparrows.'
-'Or are we?'
'But to catch the birds on-camera, I need a hide and true to form,
'Jeremy's supplied me with...a car.
'It's actually not a bad idea.'
I'm happy in the very comfortable hide that you've provided for me.
Although, I would like to try a Ferrari hide.
I've not been using one of those recently. Could that be arranged?
No. I don't think they do green ones.
'But sitting quietly doesn't seem to be Jeremy's strongest point.'
You haven't got the RSPB commemorative set of spoons then?
I've got no RSPB cutlery.
-What vintage are these?
-1970s. '69, '70.
-I've got a Wildlife Trust ashtray...
..with a badger on it.
I still think though that my RSPB cutlery
-trumps your World Wildlife Fund mug.
-Have you got any photographs at all?
'A whole hour sat in the back of Jeremy Clarkson's car
'and this fuzzy Yellowhammer is all I have to show for it.'
I haven't got too many pictures,
but I really hope that we've inspired you to get out into the countryside,
take a walk on the wild side of that
and get some classic photographs.
I've just seen a swan!
Just across the border on his farm in Gloucestershire,
Adam's got his work cut out tending to his many animals.
With 2,000 ewes and lambs and a large herd of cattle,
there's never a quiet moment.
And today, it's the pigs and chickens in need of his attention.
First thing in the morning, one of the jobs is to let the chickens out.
I bought these hens back in March as laying hens.
And back then, they were only young and hadn't started laying.
Now they have. What I wanted
were hens that lay three different coloured eggs
and it's working well.
I've got the Leghorn. It lays a white egg.
Then the Fenton Blue lays a sort of bluey-green egg.
And then the Speckles that lay these brown eggs.
So the projects going really well
and a hen should lay in the region of 300 eggs each a year.
So out of my 18 hens, I'll have about 5,500 eggs.
It's brilliant. You're lovely, aren't you?
With some of our chickens, we incubate the eggs
and hatch them out to sell to other poultry enthusiasts.
And here in the incubator, when you warm up a fertilised egg,
it takes 21 days before the chick starts to hatch.
In this one, you can see it's started to chip around
the edge of the egg to hatch out.
And there's its little beak pecking away.
Next to it is another one that's nearly out and its struggling away.
It's doing very well.
I'll just give it a little hand
cos there's a bit of egg stuck on its head.
There. It was stuck to your head, mate, wasn't it?
And then the bit on the other end is where the yolk sack is
and that's fed the chick that's been growing inside the egg.
I won't pull that bit off, I'll just let that dry off naturally.
Pop you back in, keep you warm.
There you go.
'While the chickens are relatively easy to breed from,
'my pigs take slightly more planning.'
Some of my Gloucester Old Spot sows are getting a bit old now,
so I'm introducing a bit of youth into the herd.
This is a young gilt, a young female, that we've bred ourselves.
I'm introducing her to the boar, the male, just here for the first time.
There's already one sow in here and there sometimes a bit of squabbling.
He's asserting his authority and chasing her around
and pushing her around a bit saying, "I'm the boss,"
and she's moving away from him.
Pigs come into season, ready to accept the boar every three weeks.
I'm not sure whether she's in season or not,
although there does look like love might be in the air.
In fact, here we go. He's going to mate with her now.
That means piglets in three months, three weeks and three days,
but I'm getting a bit behind with my Gloucester old spot breeding
and what I could really do with is some piglets now.
A few weeks ago I put my name down on a young Gloucestershire
old spot sow who was pregnant.
She's now had her piglets and she's ready to be collected,
so I'm heading off to Broom's Green
which is just up the road in Gloucestershire.
The sow and piglets belong to an old family friend,
Charles Martel, who farms in the shadow of May Hill.
-Great to see you again.
-It's always a beautiful spot, isn't it?
He's passionate about all things Gloucester.
Like me, he keeps Gloucestershire old spot pigs.
And Gloucester cows that graze the orchards.
He even uses their milk to make some pretty smelly cheese.
But it's his sow and piglets that I'm really keen to see.
-There she is. She's lovely.
-This is Dolly.
With pigs, if the mother's name's Dolly the daughter's Dolly,
so there's the mother there next-door, her mother.
-Come on, old girl. Come on.
This is a whey from the cheesemaking today,
quite warm and they love it.
Pigs and whey - they were made for each other.
She's got eight strong piglets there, they look lovely.
They're not bad so I thought... I was watching the television,
your programme, and you had a Gloucester spot with four piglets
and I rung up your father, I said, "What's this boy getting up to?
"You can't have a Gloucester spot with only four piglets."
-I said, "I've got one here." He said, "OK," and...
-Here I am.
I see you've got a young Gloucester cow, freshly calved.
Yes, yes, he's just come in for the day to get mothered up to a calf
and the rest are all out in the field.
As you know, they're one of my favourites too.
-Any chance we can have a look at yours?
-Yeah, let's go have a look.
Back in 1972, the Gloucester cows were close to extinction
with only 68 left in the world.
Charles worked closely with people like my dad to help preserve
this breed and now there are over 700 females.
Now, I breed Gloucesters at home and we sell the beef
and we obviously keep females in the herd,
but you're all about the milk.
Yes, milk because to me the Gloucester cow is the breed that's
used for cheesemaking for double Gloucester and single Gloucester,
and other varieties.
And the Stinking Bishop cheese is one that's very famous.
-Tell me about that one.
-That links to the orchards.
I wanted something that connected the cattle to the orchards,
to bring the whole picture of the farm together.
And around us here, you can see a perry pear tree
and Stinking Bishop is the name of a perry pear and we wash
the cheese in perry, which gives it, the Stinking Bishop, its smell.
-We'd better go and taste some, shouldn't we?
-Yep, good idea.
I'm not normally a fan of stinky cheese, but I'll give it a go.
This looks incredible in here, Charles. What are you doing here?
This old building, in about 1650, was built as a distillery
and we distil mashed pears fermented and make a spirit,
so it all links to everything on the farm.
-Pears, cattle, cheese, pigs - it all works.
-It all links.
-These are your cheeses.
-Which I know you hate,
but you said you'd never tried it.
I haven't. What puts me off is the smell. I can smell it already.
But John Craven told me, "Don't be put off by the smell."
It's one of his favourite cheeses. So I've got to taste it.
We'll have a go. It's very squidgy, you see? I won't give you much.
Just have what I want.
-Have a taste of that.
-If you're going to be sick, there's the door.
It's quite stinky.
I'm very pleasantly surprised.
I was half expecting to have to spit that out. It tastes lovely.
I wouldn't mind a bit more actually. It's really good. I'm a convert.
But I'm not here to eat cheese.
Time to get those noisy youngsters loaded up.
And the sow goes in quietly without a fuss.
Good old girl.
Back on my farm, the piglets get introduced to their new home.
Well, the sow and her piglets have settled in really nicely.
The little piglets have ventured outside now and already they're
moving the soil around with their little noses and rootling about.
They're having just a lovely time.
One of them feeding from its mum while she's stood up.
It's a great sight,
and amazingly there's another little piglet over there,
an Iron Age, with a Shetland lamb next to it.
It looks like the lamb's giving the piglet a bit of hassle
and now all the other lambs have come over
like a big gang of teenagers, "What's going on here?"
It never ceases to amaze me the sights you see on the farm.
Next week, I'm on the hunt for a new stock bull
to introduce to my herd of Irish Moiled cows.
On Dumfries and Galloway's north Solway coast,
miles of sand dune and salt marsh.
I've come to the RSPB reserve at Mersehead,
but I'm not here for the birdlife.
Sometimes you find the most interesting sites
in the most unassuming places.
This I suppose might look like a bit of a building site,
but it's actually a carefully created habitat for a special local resident.
Let's take a look.
The natterjack, with its distinctive yellow stripe,
is the UK's only sand-loving amphibian.
It's found in just a few coastal areas nationwide.
I'm joining licensed toad handler Ben Mitchell to see
if we can catch up with this year's residents.
-Have you got any here?
-I do, just underneath this one here.
-As chance would have it.
-Are you able to bring it out?
Let's have a close look.
I must say, much smaller than I thought.
They are, yes. They're much smaller than common toads.
There's that stripe, the yellow stripe that
-you told us to look out for.
-Yes, their little go faster stripe.
So you can see that they're little wrigglers trying to get away.
-They're very much the cheetahs of the amphibian world,
so they're very quick on their feet. They don't jump,
they're very much runners.
OK. So what is this work that you've been doing here to encourage them?
We reintroduced them into here back in 1999.
These are artificial breeding pools that we manage for them.
Better put this one back, shall we? It's a cracker.
It's the breeding season and when the sun goes down,
the natterjacks come out to play.
We're hoping to hear their distinctive din.
The natterjack toad has a mating call that can be heard
over half a mile away, which is why it's been dubbed
the loudest amphibian in Europe.
The male will inflate its throat sack
and call to the females that it's time for action.
It's just warm enough for them tonight,
so Ben's trying to get them into the mood with a recorded version.
NATTERJACK CALL PLAYS
-Is that them there?
-Yeah, that's them there.
-Oh, my God! That's amazing!
They're just over the corner there.
They just like the sound of their own voice.
Treading carefully, we're off to see
if we can find the source of this tropical sounding chorus.
-There's one right there.
You have got some luck on your side.
You found that right in all this darkness, that's incredible.
It's a female. She is desperate to get in there. Join the party.
It's hard to get close up to the calling males,
but turning off the lights does the trick.
-(It's quite loud that one.
With the mating call louder than ever, it sounds like the future
of these natterjacks will be secure for another year at least.
I must say, sitting here listening to this chorus of natterjacks,
such a rare animal, it's quite special, isn't it?
-It is, it is. It's a real little moment.
-It's a treat.
These toads would make a perfect subject for this year's
photographic competition, themed a walk on the wild side.
If you want to enter, here's John with all the details.
Our competition isn't open to professionals
and entries must not have won any other competitions,
because what we're looking for is original work.
You can enter up to four photos
which must have been taken in the UK.
Please write your name, address and a daytime
and evening phone number on the back of each photo
with a note of where it was taken.
And then all you have to do is send your entries to...
Whoever takes the winning photo as voted for by Countryfile viewers
can choose from a range of the latest photographic equipment
to the value of £1,000 and the person who takes the picture
the judges like best gets to pick equipment to the value of £500.
The full terms and conditions are on our website where you'll also
find details of the BBC's code of conduct for competitions.
The closing date is Friday, 22nd July
and I'm sorry but we can't return any entries, so the best of luck.
In a moment, Matt will be retracing the steps,
39 of them in fact, to discover the part the landscape
played in the film of John Buchan's famous novel,
but first here's the Countryfile weather forecast for the week ahead.
We've been taking in the beauty of Dumfries and Galloway,
finding out about some of its wildlife, as well as its creative streak.
But there's also a more sinister chapter in its past.
The 1973 cult classic The Wicker Man was largely filmed in these parts.
Local towns and scenery were used to create the fictional Summerisle
where the action takes place,
but the landscape itself took centre stage
in one of our greatest spy thrillers, The 39 Steps.
Made in 1978, it starred Robert Powell.
The film tells the story of Hannay,
who's framed for murder and goes on the run in rural Scotland.
Hannay said, "I fixed on Galloway as the best place to go.
"It was the nearest wild part of Scotland and was not over-thick with population."
The film's a version of this classic 1915 novel, The 39 Steps, by John Buchan,
and this castle was part of the film set.
ALL: Post Office!
Morton Castle was used for a key scene in the film.
Bill Cunningham was employed as a local consultant.
-Bill, how are you doing on this blustery day?
-Indeed! Taking shelter in this phenomenal building.
-How old is this, then?
-Is it really?
Replaced an earlier 12th century building, and this is the great hall,
or what's left of it.
How important was it for the producers to get the locations absolutely spot-on?
They say in the production notes here that, er...
"They have selected their Scottish locations in the precise situations
"described so visually by Buchan 64 years ago.
"And this area of Scotland has spots that haven't changed one iota
"during all those years."
-Well, in a kind of a way, that's still the case...
..because although Dumfries and Galloway is often called "the quiet country",
it's very much an unspoiled landscape.
Now you experienced this landscape first hand in the case of The 39 Steps
because you were Robert Powell's stand-in.
-I was his stand-in for camera set-ups,
-but I didn't do a double-act for him.
-Oh, right, I just had this image...
-Did you do any of the running?
-A little bit of running for camera settings.
Did you run further than him cos it seems that's all that he did when he got here...
He did an awful lot of running, not entirely himself, but he did a lot of it.
He had a lot of heavy clothing in disguise, running over the moor,
being shot at by Russian spies.
That was great fun when there were explosions going on round about. It was terrific.
Well, it's not just Robert Powell who loves to run about these parts.
Here come the Morton Milers who were certainly inspired by the film.
Ladies, how are you doing? Can I stop you?
You're quick. I was planning on meeting you
up at the top of the hill but you've run all the way down.
-You've got to be quick to catch us!
-So you are the Morton Milers.
-How long have you all been running together?
-Oh, about four years now.
-Good. It must get the old heart racing, up round these hills.
-Oh, it does.
We sometimes go up over the hill and on the rough moorland and it gets your pace going.
-OK, and how many Morton Miles have you done today?
-Er, this morning, I did about 10.
-Oh, did you?
-Up from Langrigg, yes.
-Oh, my word!
-That was my morning run, this morning.
What's this I hear about the Mini Morton Milers?
All our youngsters meet on a Friday and we take them for a run.
-We doing training...
-Up and around in the hills?
-Yeah, in the hills.
They love it round the loch.
You're not even out of breath. It's incredible, you lot. I can't believe it.
It's tremendous. Listen, I won't keep you any longer.
I'll let you go, but it's been lovely to see you all anyway.
-See you later.
-All the very best.
Well, that's all we've got time for
from Dumfries and Galloway.
Don't forget - all the details of how to enter
our Countryfile photographic competition are on our website.
Next week, Ellie will be on the mighty River Humber, going with the flow
as we look back at some of our favourite Countryfile moments with a watery theme.
Hope you can join us then.
Subtitles by Red Bee Media Ltd
Countryfile is in Dumfries and Galloway, the perfect place to launch this year's photographic competition, with its theme 'Walk On The Wild Side'. Matt Baker looks into the cultural side of the county as he explores the locations used in some iconic feature films, and he also visits one of the countries best up-and-coming arts events.
Ellie Harrison and John Craven are looking at some of the area's best loved wildlife. For Ellie it is the calling sounds of the natterjack toads, as well as red squirrels, which are keeping her busy; and for John it is bird life, and black guillemots in particular, which is of interest.
To explain more about the photographic competition, Chris Packham takes a walk on the wild side with Top Gear's Jeremy Clarkson as they search for inspiration for the contest. Tom Heap is in Somerset, investigating why young people are queuing up to get into farming. But sadly, many of them will struggle to ever run a farm of their own.
Adam has his home county of Gloucestershire on his mind as he explores the breeds of cattle and pigs which make it famous. He also sniffs out some very stinky local cheese.