Ellie Harrison crosses the Firth of Forth to witness the seasonal spectacle of guillemots, kittiwakes and puffins jostling for position on the Isle of May.
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Between the Firth of Tay and the Firth of Forth
Try saying that after a couple of wee drams.
Along the coastline, cliffs bluster and boats bob,
but it's the fruitful farmland I'm here to explore.
This is Scotland's berry-growing heartland
and today I'll be finding out about an ambitious project
that aims to revolutionise the future of our raspberries.
Ellie's crossing the water for a seasonal seabird spectacle.
I've got something here, Ellie, I think you'll like.
Tom's looking at the problem of TB in goats,
and asking why it seems to have gone under the radar.
when possibly it's impossible to keep livestock at all
unless somebody gets a grip on this terrible disease.
And Adam's having his wild flower borders mapped
It's not a bad job, is it? Not bad at all, is it, really?
the rather majestic full title of this eastern edge of Scotland.
Our journey today starts here in Anstruther,
the largest fishing village along the Fife coast.
The plan was to board that ferry with a load of other day-trippers
to the Isle of May - it's a beautiful place,
open six months of the year for visitors.
But, as you can see, the weather and the subsequent high swell
has well and truly stopped play, so we need another plan.
Well, the day-trippers might have missed the boat,
Roy Giles has offered me a lift in his trusty RIB.
What's it going to be like? A bit bumpy?
Put it this way - I'm going to get you wet, but it's perfectly safe.
All right. Hi, Ellie, welcome aboard. Thanks very much.
The Isle of May is five miles from the mainland,
And if I wasn't awake before, I certainly am now.
with a magical mix of seabirds and seals.
It attracts more than 10,000 visitors a year,
but today, it will have just the one.
the island's Scottish Natural Heritage team.
And in this weather, I'll be seeing a side of the island few get to see.
Come up this middle bit. What an amazing journey!
Hey-hey! So, welcome to the island, Ellie. Thanks very much!
Each summer, the isle puts on one of its most impressive spectacles.
It's just another day at the office for Bex Outram,
one of the tiny team that look after this place.
I've got something here, Ellie, I think you'll like.
Everywhere you look, birds are crammed onto ledges
The noise suddenly picks up as you get closer to the edge.
The smells as well. And the smell! That's fishy.
I don't think there's a single crevice
How many do you get to the Isle of May?
Well, this is breeding season, peak season,
so there's about 100,000 birds that are here at the moment.
That's amazing. Why is it that they come to the Isle of May?
It's an island, so it's very safe for them.
We're very lucky we don't have any rats, foxes, or any land mammals
that will come and take their eggs and their chicks.
Is there a particular order about which birds nest where?
So at the top you tend to find fulmars,
they'll find their own little crevice.
they'll build, like, a little nest bowl on ledges.
They're fairly high up on the cliffs.
The guillemots, they like the larger ledges.
They nest in groups. And are they... Are they site-faithful?
Will you see the same breeding pairs come back to the same spots? Yeah.
You do generally, yeah. And they'll come back,
they'll come early spring, do a bit of a spring clean
and then just find their ledge and find their mate.
And you'll tend to find that the older ones will nest at the top.
older ones at the top, younger ones at the bottom,
because at the bottom they're a bit more exposed to the elements,
and so yeah, last week we had strong westerly winds
and high seas so there's a lot of swell,
and there's about 400 guillemots that nest on that one ledge,
and yeah, they all just got washed away. All those chicks went.
To lose 400 chicks in one fell swoop is devastating.
This is life at the mercy of the elements.
The seabird spectacle draws visitors throughout the summer months.
But there's one bird in particular that people flock here for.
Now is a crucial time for baby puffling survival on the island,
feeding time is a top priority for the puffin parents.
Seabird researchers Mark Newell and his team
not only monitor and ring puffin populations
but also look at what they're feeding their young.
Sand eels are what they really want to bring in.
that are in the sea around these parts.
The sand eels are such an important part of the puffins' life.
We're certainly finding a change in the sand eel stocks.
Perhaps 20 years ago they would be 80mm long, the individual fish.
Where this is a more typical size that we're finding now,
so it means that they've got to catch more of them
to give the same amount of nutrition to the chick.
So they've got to work that bit harder, go out that bit more often,
use up more energy to get more energy. Yeah.
It feels kind of unkind, taking his catch away.
It is a little bit, but we have looked at
how frequently we catch individuals during a season.
We've never caught the same individual twice in one year.
So it's just a one-time only. Yeah. Just one breakfast load gone.
Whilst island life may look and sound idyllic,
it's no holiday for the island's seabirds,
working tirelessly fending for their young.
Later, I'll see just how the island copes
There are some issues which come up time and again on Countryfile,
It's a disease that has ravaged cattle
and led to controversial badger culls.
bovine TB is claiming thousands of hidden victims
and damaging livelihoods on some of our more unusual farms.
Bovine TB is one of the most emotive issues in the British countryside.
I've witnessed the stress of cattle being TB-tested.
What just happened there? Er, Fifi is a reactor.
So that's it. She'll be slaughtered here, or taken away...?
But cattle aren't the only animals at risk.
Alpacas, llamas, deer, sheep, pigs, and even cats and dogs
Just like cattle, they're slaughtered if they test positive.
And one animal is particularly susceptible -
just like a human cold, and they often live in large herds.
Put those two together and it can make it quite easy
and it's led to the slaughter of thousands of goats.
We're talking about entire commercial herds.
Goats are increasingly common in the UK
as demand for their meat and milk has soared in recent years.
Production of goat's milk has increased to
and that's why Gloucestershire farmer Tom Nichols
switched from milking cows to milking goats over a decade ago.
and the market was growing some 25% each year.
So how many goats are you milking here?
We've got about 640 in milk at the moment.
Across the UK, just 60 large-scale farms like Tom's
That's an average of 1,000 goats per farm.
This is no cottage industry, but serious commercial farming.
More goats means a higher risk of TB.
And just four years ago, Tom lost his whole herd.
with all the young stock we had on the ground at the time.
And what was that like for you and your family? It was terrible.
Pulled the rug out from under our feet, really.
Well, we'd purchased some goats earlier in the year
We hadn't thought about pre-movement testing them at that stage
The government compensates cattle owners for infected animals,
but there's no deal like that for goats.
Tom was offered the slaughter value - about ?30 per animal -
but their real value was ?300 to ?400 each.
The disease is the same as in the bovine, the cow situation,
so I don't see why there should be any discrepancy
We've got a huge amount at stake, here,
and it's not encouraging people to test
if they haven't got that safety net of the compensation scheme.
And if the worst happened and it did come again,
could you survive another outbreak? Probably not at the moment, no.
In Tom's case, the disease was only found when a few goats
That's because there's no routine testing.
It was local vet Briony Kendall who made the grim discovery.
Emotionally it was very, very tough, yeah. It's very, very rare
that you get such an enormous proportion of the herd
that are reactors, and it was just... Yeah.
but Briony's going to show me what it's like working with goats.
It's very similar in goats than it is in cattle.
Er, but because they've got a smaller neck,
we've got to do one injection on one side and one on the other.
The injection triggers an immune response -
If they're over a certain size, the animal is deemed to have TB.
And then we have to measure the skin using these - seen these before?
check both sides of the neck to look for lumps.
And like cattle, is it all about the size of the lump,
one compared to the other? Yeah, that's right.
Goats can catch TB from cattle on mixed farms
they can be moved around the country without being tested,
meaning the disease can spread from farm to farm.
It's impossible to know how much TB is out there.
Is the lack of routine testing currently a problem for you?
Yeah. I think we need to do more testing.
until you know how much of a problem it is.
And how would increased testing work? Would it just be routine,
as a matter of course, or a bit more focused?
I think probably the best way to do it is on a risk basis.
Goat herds are run differently to cattle herds
so the majority of them are housed, particularly the dairy goats,
er, so when they're housed you can make the buildings wildlife-proof,
you can make the feed stores wildlife-proof.
They don't come into contact with any other animals.
Assess the biosecurity and then make decisions on that.
TB has been found in goat's milk but it's killed
through pasteurisation, so it's safe to drink.
My worry is that the backyard producers that have two goats
and milk those goats for their own consumption,
I worry that they really should be testing,
and we encourage all of our small producers to do so.
And why do you think it's a particular issue for them?
Because it's unpasteurised milk that they're drinking. Right.
And the TB could be passed on through that, could it?
If the goats have the TB, then yes, it could be.
So for the sake of animal welfare and human health,
vets and farmers are calling for a clear strategy
So is there a solution, and what would it look like?
That's what I'll be finding out later.
With scenery as breathtaking as it is here in Fife,
it's an understandable source of inspiration for many.
Photography can be a solitary pursuit,
Lost in the moment, focused entirely on what lies behind the lens.
Feeling a yearning for the coastline,
one woman's decision to immerse herself fully in the landscape
led to an epic walk of one of Scotland's great trails.
I'm Karen Thorburn, I'm a Scottish landscape photographer,
and I recently walked the entire Fife Coastal Path.
The Fife Coastal Path is one of Scotland's long-distance routes.
It's 117 miles from Kincardine to Newburgh.
When I was planning the walk, I realised it was
an excellent opportunity to do some fundraising for charity.
As a way of making the fundraising more engaging,
I called the project "117 Miles, 117 Photos".
Just before I started out on the Fife Coastal Path,
my grandad was going downhill with cancer,
so I thought it would be an excellent tribute to him.
My grandad, Robert Thorburn, was a train driver.
When he was driving steam trains, he drove a lot of iconic locomotives
Whenever I'm on a train or near the railway, I think of my grandad.
He drove trains over that bridge thousands of times.
With the job I was doing at the time,
I was travelling down to Edinburgh on the train
every couple of weeks, crossing this bridge,
and it was looking out over the Firth of Forth
and the beautiful views over towards Edinburgh,
to go ahead and walk the entire Fife Coastal Path.
I feel like I've got a really strong connection with Fife.
regularly spent weekends and day trips in this area.
I got my first camera when I was six years old.
When I'm out and about with my camera
I try and create shots that I can navigate through and make sense of.
Walking the path was a great reconnaissance exercise.
It's led me to come back with my professional camera
and capture these scenes in the best lighting conditions
There's just so much variety in Scotland,
and the weather and the light is always changing.
There's always something new, every time I venture outdoors.
Can't quite put my finger on why. There's just something about it.
Post-industrial towns, quaint fishing villages -
was probably the most physically demanding thing I've ever done
because I did it over consecutive days.
but I find that whenever I go for a walk...
..I don't only benefit physically from getting exercise,
The walk taught me that it's not the camera that takes great photographs,
The important thing is to have a vision
and to go out and enjoy the countryside
When I'm out walking, I find that's a great time to reflect.
It's just absolutely spectacular to be on top of the Forth Bridge.
Every time I cross this bridge I think about my grandad,
so it really means an awful lot to actually be up here on top of it.
To look out along the Fife coast as well
and to know that I've walked round the whole peninsula,
and this is a great way to celebrate it.
I realise just how important his career was to him.
I've only recently been clearing out his house
and wrapping up his model locomotives,
that that's how he defined himself, as an engine driver.
That really serves as a reminder to me how important it is
to have a passion in life and to follow that,
and that's how I feel about my photography.
and the weather has taken a turn for the worse during the night.
I feel like I'm going to be swept off my feet.
In the wind and rain, nature reveals its raw power.
Off the east coast here, there is nothing but miles and miles
of raging North Sea between us and Norway.
That's why we're feeling the full force of it here today.
And it's hard enough for these seabirds to find enough food
to raise their chicks, but to do it against these huge winds
shows what a challenging life they have.
The island's seabirds have been battling the elements for hours.
Thousands of puffin burrows cover the island,
and in these storms, they're in danger of flooding.
is anxious to check the burrows are safe.
So many challenges for these puffins.
They're much happier when they're out at sea,
but the weather this last 24 hours has been awful.
It's been tough. I mean, you know, puffins on this island
That's what they're trying to do, just raise a single chick,
and the weather's not helped in the last 24 hours.
We've had a lot of rain, and when you're nesting underground,
we've actually got a puffin chick in here,
and as you can see from the water here which is starting to fill up,
you know, it'll eventually just flood the burrow
and the chick will be lost. And this couldn't have come
at a worse time for them. If it was early on in the season
they might have had another go, laying another egg.
Honestly, no. I was distraught when I saw the weather pattern
and what we were going to get on the island.
It couldn't have picked a worse time - I just want,
sort of mid-June into early July I just want nice, fine weather.
I don't need this, you know. Even just 24 hours,
So what can you do when these burrows fill up like this?
Well, it's tough. We do try our hardest, you know -
we'll put drainage in to try and get rid of the excess water,
and one bird has been ruffling feathers on the island.
Black-backed gulls have been eating the puffins.
It's a conservation quandary for researcher Sophie Bennett.
Why is it that just a few are doing this,
are having puffins as the main part of their diet?
Well, the majority of the gulls are generalist feeders,
they'll be feeling on refuse, fish, and auks and rabbits as well.
because puffins and razorbills and guillemots
so the gulls that are feeding on them
have a higher chance of successfully fledging their own young.
And I suppose they don't have to go out to sea to get the food. Exactly.
They can just sit right here and wait for the puffins to fly in
and then they've got them. Efficient feeding! It's fascinating stuff.
I suppose all of this lends itself to that perception
Yeah, the media is often portraying great black-backs
as these big baddies coming in and eating the cute puffins,
but they've got their own chicks to feed as well,
great black-backs are also amber-listed,
and so you've got that conservation problem
of whether to favour one or the other.
I guess that's why having data is so important -
decisions get made on the best factual evidence base there is.
and the threat of the great black-backed gull,
the puffin population on the Isle of May has remained stable,
and although it's been a challenging day for them,
they're still finding their way back home to their chicks.
Ellie! Ellie, come on and look at this.
I've managed to get an adult puffin, which is incredible.
He's struggling a little bit, but fabulous birds. Amazing.
He's just down the burrow there, and I'm just going to hold that in...
Is the chick in there too, do you think? Possibly. Hang on.
I've got the chick as well. SHE SQUEALS
We're not allowed to say "cute" in the animal world, but that is cute.
Indeed, yes! You can see it's just hatched,
it's still got its egg tooth. Yeah, on top of the beak there.
And it'll take about 40 days to fledge,
so he will be fledging, hopefully, in sort of early August.
He's late, this one. He is a late one.
We expect a lot of the puffin chicks to go by mid-July,
so yeah, he's going to be an early August one,
just in time for the school holidays.
And with the adult there, that sort of yellow bit on the bill,
is that... That's the hinging that allows it
to hold so many sand eels at the same time? Yeah.
It allows the bill to not just open up and down
so it actually can collect... plenty of sand eels.
Record's about 61 sand eels in the bill. No way!
It is a very efficient way of hunting. Indeed.
Right. Right, I'm going to put these back,
if that's all right, cos he's getting a bit cold.
I'll let him get back on with his parenting, just hold over that one.
Brilliant. Amazing! Fabulous. Good stuff!
a side of the island that few get to see.
And so far, my island adventure hasn't disappointed.
Later, I'll be finding out what island life is like
for the tiny team of 12 that live here.
is not just a disease that affects cattle -
So what's being done to tackle it in livestock other than cows?
Bovine TB has claimed the lives of around 370,000 cattle
in just a decade, and more than 14,000 badgers
since the controversial culls began in 2013.
But is all that pain in vain if TB is hiding in other animals?
Goats are susceptible to TB, but unlike with cattle,
so many goat herds have never had a TB test.
It's only mandatory if there's reason to suspect
Otherwise, they can be bought, sold and moved around the country
without a test. In other words, the disease can slip under the radar.
And with little or no compensation for infected animals,
than face losing their livestock and livelihood.
This farm in Devon is the only place in the country
where you'll find this variety of cashmere goat,
you'd get two or three small, but beautiful-quality jumpers out of it.
had the herd TB-tested for the first time in December
after an outbreak on a neighbouring cattle farm.
So tell me, what was this TB test like?
and although we tried very hard to keep calm,
and goats pick up your mood very quickly.
stressful for us and stressful for them.
And what would it have meant for your business
if you'd lost a large number of them?
It would have been the end of it, because this is a unique flock.
and Lesley's expecting another test any time.
You're farming goats in a high-risk area for TB. Yeah.
There are cattle just over there. Exactly.
Is it sensible? I can see a time coming
when possibly it's impossible to keep livestock at all
unless somebody gets a grip on this terrible disease.
Farmers and vets have made their feelings known to government
by responding to a consultation on tackling TB
in non-bovine species, including goats.
Defra, the government department in charge of tackling bovine TB,
published its response to the consultation.
and bring in improved compensation rates
But we've had a general election since then,
and farmers are worried that it's got...a bit buried.
Unfortunately, no-one from Defra was available to talk about it,
so I'm meeting David Harwood from the Goat Veterinary Society,
which was involved in this consultation.
flow out of this government consultation?
What we've lacked in the past is a consistent approach,
It isn't actually laid down in legislation
er, and there's been different interpretations
What changes might you like to see around compensation?
Well, there currently isn't any compensation at all payable
in England under the legislative process.
There isn't a compensation scheme in Northern Ireland either,
I think we need to get some standard compensation scales in place
and also we have to be mindful of the fact that this money's
coming from the public purse, you know, it's not a bottomless pit.
Is there a danger that without that, farmers might end up covering it up
a bit, or now wanting to acknowledge their problem? Very much so.
There's a disincentive to report a suspicion of disease.
As you say, farmers may try and bury it.
So I think we need to get something that is very clear, very concise
and very consistent in place on compensation.
How confident are you that the government
will actually follow up this consultation?
I'm hopeful that something will come of it,
David may be reassured by the subsequent statement
we received from Defra, saying, "Later this year,
"we will introduce a statutory compensation scheme
"along with improved disease controls."
But right now, farmers like Tom and Lesley are farming on a knife-edge.
spelling financial ruin for their businesses
and sounding the death knell for their goats.
to improve the TB control strategy in goats,
The goat industry say they need this to happen
Well, it doesn't get much wilder than out here on the Isle of May,
but if you managed to capture the call of the wild on your camera
for our photographic competition, here's John with the details.
"The call of the wild" can be found almost everywhere in our countryside
and it's up to you to interpret that theme.
no matter what the weather, no matter what the season.
the many thousands of entries that you send in
and picking the very best for our Countryfile calendar,
which goes on sale later this year in aid of Children In Need.
Buy one and you'll get some amazing photos to look at on your wall
we'll have an overall winner voted for by you, our Countryfile viewers.
Not only will that picture grace the cover of our calendar,
the winner will receive a voucher for ?1,000
The person who takes the judges' favourite photo
If you fancy a shot, why not send us your photos?
We need your name, address, and a contact number
with a note of where the picture was taken.
Or you can enter online, on our website.
The full terms and conditions are on our website
of the BBC's Code of Conduct for competitions.
We're off to the Cotswolds now to Adam's farm,
where he's been testing out some new mapping technology
that aims to get the most out of farmers' field margins.
Summer is in full swing here on the farm.
The oilseed rape is coming along nicely...
And the hedgerows are looking magnificent.
Hedges are not only lovely to look at,
and they're good for the farmer, too,
because they can help our livestock and crops by providing
shelter from the bracing winter winds
And it's not just the hedgerows that are bursting with life.
our field margins have become a riot of colour.
We've been involved with environmental stewardship schemes
and what that means is that we're managing certain areas of the farm
So on this side, we've got plants that have been grown specifically
to provide seed to feed the birds during the winter months.
And over here is a pollen and nectar mix that provides flowers
to help the bees and butterflies and other insects.
We've also created raised mounds called beetle banks
to provide a habitat for bugs and insects...
Richard Spyvee from Gloucestershire Wildlife Trust
are doing their best for both the environment and the farm.
Hi, Richard, good to see you. Hi there, Adam, how are you?
Richard, we spend a lot of energy and effort
and we're very keen on conservation on the farm,
but I'm never quite sure whether they're working. What do you think?
I think you only just need to look at the colour here at the moment.
They're creating a great source for insect pollinators
that are doing a great job on the farm.
These oxeye daisies are a real splash of colour
and this is providing a great nectar source
that are going to help pollinate some of your cereal crops
and some of your fruit crops as well.
And we've got various different margins.
it's not only providing a pollen and nectar source for them,
you also need areas for them to nest in and for overwintering as well.
So you need a variety of options that cater for those different needs
rather than just this lovely colourful one in front of us here.
And where are we with conservation nowadays?
There's always plenty to be done, yeah.
is obviously making a big difference.
The government provides financial support
to manage areas of their farm for conservation.
But measuring these areas that have been put aside for wildlife
It's an important one, though, because the amount of subsidy
is determined by the amount of land that is set aside.
Normally, farmers measure their margins by hand,
has come up with a much quicker and more accurate method.
a state-of-the-art camera mapping system
is taking to the skies and heading this way.
With me on the farm is Roger Nock from Ordnance Survey.
Where we're planting our conservation margins,
you can measure those very accurately.
Yeah. The data we supply can be used to measure, yeah.
It's within sort of a few centimetres of detail.
A few centimetres! It's the most accurate you're ever going to get,
using the kit that we've got. It's the latest technology.
And you're working with Defra? Yes - the Rural Payments Agency
asked us to survey and map all the hedgerows in England
The technology allows us to, using near-infrared,
pick up the hedgerows' sizes and positions and shapes
so without any sort of human input to that,
So as farmers, where we've got our hedges and walls and margins,
some of which are supported by government,
and we're measuring and sending those details in,
you can work out whether they're correct or not?
Well, it's up to them to decide that.
We provide the information that they can look at.
We provide where the position of the hedges are.
We don't decide whether that's in the right or wrong place
or it's too big or too small. Sure. We just purely take the imagery
Our ability to put these things on the map very quickly
in a short space of time, and very accurately,
allows organisations to be able to pick and choose
It's not long before our plane appears.
That'll be around 5,500 feet at the moment.
Normally we fly between 8,000 and 10,000 feet,
so dropped down a little bit for this one.
Well, the camera operator will be talking to his pilot,
and liaising with the local air-traffic control
just to make sure there's no other aircraft in the area,
and he'll be checking his system and his camera's working fine.
Eight lenses are all operating correctly.
We've got a large-format digital camera on board,
and it's continuously overlapping photographs of cities,
and trying to keep on top of the update of the maps.
Not a bad job, is it? It's not bad at all, is it, really?
records thousands of tiny points in space,
And when combined with thousands of detailed photos,
it creates an incredible 3D map of the farm below.
Buildings, hedgerows, crops and margins
are all clearly visible across this virtual landscape.
This technology has the power to transform agriculture,
and that could bring huge benefits to farmers.
Yields could be calculated much more accurately,
or it could be used to guide whole fleets of autonomous tractors.
But for now, it's helping record our all-important green spaces.
There has to be a balance between food production
And while this technology could pave the way for the farms of the future,
it also ensures that government are rewarding farmers accurately
for their work transforming field margins into wildlife habitats.
in landscapes, and in edible treasure,
so today, I'm celebrating the area's ruby-red jewels.
Ripe and juicy raspberries and the humble redberry
has coloured the agricultural history
Berry-growing has long played an important part
By the late 1950s, sought-after harvests
were even transported by steam train down to London
is a world leader when it comes to raspberry research.
to produce new and improved strains of superberries.
Dr Rachel McGorley is one of the scientists working on the project.
I can see hundreds of raspberries here, ready to ripen.
What are you trying to change? Do you need to change anything?
They look great to me. Raspberries on the whole are fantastic.
They're a really yummy, tasty fruit, they're full of antioxidants,
which you can see in the nice vibrant red colour,
But they're quite expensive for growers to produce,
it takes quite a lot of time for pickers to pick them,
because they're not displayed openly like strawberries,
and also they're quite susceptible to diseases,
in particular a disease called Phytophthora,
otherwise known as raspberry root rot.
I can see some plants here that don't look so healthy.
Is that the root rot? Yeah, it is, unfortunately.
"Root Rot" sounds like some evil villain in the raspberry world!
It's a very evil villain in the raspberry world.
so you can see the canes are all dead here,
and the leaves are dead. You're not going to get any fruit off this.
And you don't know that your raspberry has got the disease
until it starts to die above ground, and because there's no treatment
for it, that's it. There's nothing that you can do.
as soon as there's quite a lot of water in the soil
it can flow between one plant and another. As you can see here,
one of these plants have got it and then it's spread. Yeah.
The findings of the research carried out here are vital to the industry
and are shared with growers across the globe.
In fact, around 50% of the world's blackcurrant crop
was developed by scientists here, and their latest
cross-breeding programme hopes to revolutionise raspberry-growing.
So what we're doing here, we're breeding,
so we're taking the characteristics of Latham,
which is a really, really old variety from North America,
which does have resistance to root rot,
and then crossing them with the yummy berries that we already have
to try and make a yummy berry that a grower's going to want to grow
but also that can survive in the soil.
Helping to translate Rachel's research from science to soil
She grows up to 10,000 seedlings a year
This is a glasshouse with more than 50 different varieties
of raspberry, and some blackberry in here.
And this is part of the disease testing scheme in the UK
which provides the whole of the UK industry with healthy plants.
A raspberry is a collection or an aggregate of fruit,
er, and each one of these little drupelets
is a fruit in its own right, and each produces a seed.
Luckily for me, visitors are encouraged to
aiming for a perfect balance of sugar and acid -
the quintessential taste of a raspberry.
If you go into any supermarket in the UK,
if you see the word "glen", or the prefix "glen",
it means that it was bred here at the Institute.
All of our raspberries are named after glens,
all of our blackcurrants are named after bens,
and our blackberries are named after lochs.
Having eaten my own body-weight in raspberries,
it's time to see the science out in the field,
where livelihoods depend on producing a good crop.
Just over the River Tay, near Coupar,
John Laird's family has been fruit farming for nearly 50 years.
John, you've got a really successful set-up here,
and at the heart of it are these raspberries. What type are they?
These are born and bred in Scotland. These are our main crop.
As you can see, the fruit's very well presented, easy to pick,
er, it's a very firm berry so it travels well,
but more importantly, the flavour's fantastic.
Yeah. Like, these are on the verge of being ripe, aren't they?
What makes this part of Scotland so successful in growing berries?
We have very well drained soils. We've got plenty of moisture,
and chilly winters, which is what the raspberry needs.
But most of all, it's long, cool summers,
which help the raspberries ripen slowly
and that gives them their fuller flavour.
As sales of raspberries have grown by nearly 14%
in the last year, it's about keeping up with demand.
We produce about 15 to 20 tonnes of raspberries a year,
but we also have a pick-your-own element to the business.
And just off the coast you've got oil, black gold.
Is this Scotland's red gold? This is definitely our red gold.
Green gold today, but red gold normally.
In a few days, it'll be red gold. It'll be red.
Having access to new, robust varieties
will make growing the soft fruit more reliable and profitable
I don't think there'd be a raspberry industry in Britain,
not just Scotland, if it weren't for the breeding programmes.
Er, they've produced dozens of wonderful varieties of raspberries
over the years. Each one has improved on the last.
They've also managed to get flavour back into them.
For a long time we forgot about flavour,
Nikki from the James Hutton Institute has spent
the last few years trialling and testing this new breed.
And these local berry farmers from the Angus Soft Fruit Collective
OK! New breed taste-test time, are you ready?
ALL: Yeah! Great. Let's go for it.
So the big question is, you're all growers -
I think I'll give it a go. Definitely.
Seems this new Scottish Glen raspberry
could soon be on our supermarket shelves.
into a traditional Scottish dessert - cranachan.
Well, this looks like my kind of recipe.
Only five ingredients - raspberries, honey,
toasted oats, cream, and whisky, all locally produced,
and I'm going to enjoy mine with some shortbread.
Today has been a good day for fruit-picking,
Will it be weather for cranachan in the garden
or crumble and custard in the kitchen?
Here's the Countryfile five-day forecast for the week ahead.
Good evening. If talk of deserts has made you hungry, well, the weather
will serve up a whole three course meal this week. Three very different
types of weather on the way. Initially we will see sunshine and
warmth as well. For midweek the temperatures are likely decline a
bit further and that will spawn some thunderstorms. They will then clear
away and our weather deserts at the end of the week will bring a cooler,
fresher feel but more unsettled as well. Back to the here and now, it
was a nice looking day across Northern Ireland. Some blue skies to
be had here. It was more of a struggle to break up the cloud
further south. As you can see from the earlier satellite picture,
southern areas did have this area of cloud to content with. Also some
cloud bringing showery rain across northern Scotland. For the vast
majority, high pressure starts to take control of our weather,
building its way in from the West. That means a dry night, clear spells
and in the south, it cooler, fresher feel than we had last night. If you
like warmth and sunshine, you will like tomorrow. Blue skies will be in
abundance across the country, perhaps showers across northern
Scotland. These will become confined to the Northern Isles through the
day. Some high cloud close to southern England and South Wales and
turn the sunshine hazy. The temperatures starting to climb.
Widely into the 20s, maybe 26 or 27 towards the south-east. High
pressure will stay with us on Monday night into Tuesday. But it drifts a
bit further east. What that will bring is an east or south-easterly
airflow. That will import some warm and humid air indeed from the near
continent. Those temperatures likely decline even further, and with that
late in the day, the risk of one or two thunderstorms. For much of
Tuesday did fine and dry with sunshine. Across England and Wales
high cloud turning the sunshine hazy. In the south-west on Tuesday
the first hint of thunderstorms. The heat will be widespread. With all
that heat and humidity, things will break down during Tuesday night. A
band of showers and storms moving northwards. Likely to become more
widespread as they go. The heavy thundery rain drifting across
Scotland where it will become blustery. As things brighten up
further south, we could see some more thunderstorms. Still some heat
towards East Anglia and the south-east. But something fresher
just beginning to show its hand out west. That takes us into the latter
part of the week. The cold front drifting its weight used was,
introducing some fresh air returning from the Atlantic. Temperatures
dropping back on Thursday. Having said that, not a bad day. Showers in
the north-west and more persistent rain into Northern Ireland later on.
The temperatures well down. As we move into Friday, it looks like low
pressure will drift its way in from the West. Still the winds coming
from the Atlantic. Still fairly cool and fresh feel. A band of rain
staggering eastwards, blustery showers in the north-west. Still the
fresher feel. I'm on the Isle of May,
just off the mainland of Fife. Surrounded by nothing but ocean
and open to nature's elements, living on the island
is not for the faint-hearted, but what's it like
for the 12 people that live here? There's a real sense
of chaos and calm here and, over the years, the island has
seen many different inhabitants - Vikings, monks and smugglers have
all enjoyed life on the Isle of May. and only a handful of hardy souls
inhabit this island. The houses
on the island's only street are now temporary accommodation
for the researchers and staff that live here
from April to September - As jobs go, this is probably one of
the best offices in the country. During breeding season,
the team is kept busy, from monitoring
and studying the birds to acting as
the island's caretakers, ensuring all is shipshape for
the visitors when they arrive. And it's all hands on deck,
including mine. If you can just, yeah, get those
leaflets there and just tidy up that table
and just top everything up. And there's a bit of highway
maintenance to do And then there are
the less glamorous jobs. You can be in
amongst the puffins one minute But what we're really here for
are the birds. Oh, amazing!
This chick is just hatched. We've actually got one
hatching as well. Oh, yeah, you can see
the egg tooth coming out! That is amazing!
That is currently hatching, yeah. During my time on this living
laboratory, it's become clear that there's a huge amount of
dedication within the team it's time to down tools
and chill out. Taking time away from the chicks
to cook is Becky Lakin, who is volunteering on the island
for three months. What was it that brought you
over to the island? I've always been very interested
in nature and wildlife and particularly seabirds,
so when I saw the opportunity to come and be a long-term volunteer
on the Isle of May, I just grabbed it
and I just went for it. to live on an island
for that length of time, that must have been
quite an undertaking. I think if you're interested in
nature and particularly seabirds, like I am,
then to wake up every morning and not know
what's going to turn up, what you're going to be
involved with today, is... is more exciting than anything
I can think of. That's incredible. And what about
kind of practical things, cos you are very much cut off
out here? You kind of get thrown in the deep
end when you arrive and you just fit in
with everything, so going down to one shower a week,
at first I was like, "Wow, that's going to
be different!" But everybody's in the same boat
and you just all help each other. I feel bad because I've had two
showers already and I've only been here 24 hours!
Have you?! Very good. Right, this chilli
is taking shape, isn't it? With more hungry mouths to feed
on the island, Right, it's rice and chilli
for everyone, I'm afraid. Have you enjoyed your experience
out on the Isle of May? Island life is a really particular
way of life, you guys all know that,
it's very intense. I'm not sure I could handle it
for a length of time, but I've got such respect for,
not just living here, but the massive amount of work
that you do. It's been amazing to see it all,
it's been fantastic. Well, thank you as well,
I hope you've had a good experience, Bring some better sunshine
next time. I'll do that. There's a great team spirit
amongst the volunteers and it's clear they're passionate
about what they do And sitting here with them,
I feel part of something special. Well, that is it from me
from the Isle of May. Next week, John and Anita
will be in Wiltshire, where some international beekeepers
are creating quite a buzz. Join us live, and follow
the world's wildest animals... ..across the most
challenging of terrains...
Our Scottish journey starts just off the mainland - on the Isle of May. It's home to the largest puffin colony on the east coast of Britain at this time of year. Ellie Harrison crosses the Firth of Forth to see the seasonal spectacle. With guillemots, kittiwakes and puffins all jostling for position on the islands ledges and perches, Ellie finds out from David the island manager about the work they do to make it a five-star stay for seabirds.
Sean Fletcher discovers Fife's importance as a (soft) centre of excellence when it comes to fruit growing. He looks at the history of the connection between fruit and the east coast of Scotland. Sean then plays 'scientist' at the James Hutton Institute, a lab that has been creating a raspberry-breeding programme to produce new breeds for local growers. He visits the 'crumbly fruit house', checking that new breeds hold up to picking without crumbling, and then asks fruit breeder Nikki Jennings just how Fife can create raspberries with a fuller flavour and less sugar than its southern counterparts.
Adam takes to the skies with Roger Nock from Ordnance Survey to map his field margins, and Tom Heap looks at the unseen side of TB - its effect on goats, asking why the disease isn't being dealt with the same rigour as it is in our cattle herds.