Ellie Harrison explores some of Britain's most spectacular hills and mountains, revealing that an iconic mountain is up for sale.
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Ancient, powerful, mighty.
Mountains and hills can make us feel small and insignificant.
They're special, challenging places that draw us up and away
from the hustle and bustle of everyday life
and it's easy to see why.
Blencathra may not be the highest fell in the Lake District,
but it's been a firm favourite with poets, walkers, geologists
and many others over the centuries.
And soon, it could be yours. Why?
Well, because after nearly 400 years in the same family,
it's up for sale.
I'll be taking a trip with the man who's selling his mountain
and finding out what the new owners can expect for their money.
And we'll also be having a look back at some of the best bits
of Countryfile to have featured hills and mountains.
Like the time Adam encountered some unusual cows in the Swiss Alps.
Just getting up close to these cattle is absolutely wonderful for me.
The thickness of its head, it's just incredible.
Or when Matt learned how to farm the traditional way
in the Cambrian Mountains.
Come on, man, come and show me your part of the world.
And when Julia donned a skirt and hat
to climb like ladies did a century ago.
So, I'm about to do one of the stupidest things I have ever done,
scrambling, in a skirt, wearing this bonnet!
Our hills and mountains are cherished.
To many of us, they offer escape, adventure and a sense of belonging.
And if you fancied it, this one,
the stunning Blencathra, could soon belong to you.
Blencathra, or Saddleback as it's sometimes known,
sits north-east of Keswick in the Northern Fells.
And now, it's up for sale.
I've got the brochure and I've arranged
for the most unusual property viewing I have ever had.
This is not an easy viewing appointment, Miles!
-Nice to meet you.
-Hello. And you.
So, tell me, then, what do I get for my money?
Well, you can buy this wonderful magnificent mountain,
with arguably one of the most recognisable
and best-known of the lake and fells.
It's about 2,500 acres of fell land.
And can you make any money on it?
Not a lot, no.
The grazing is all with local farmers,
who have common grazing rights on it,
so they've that as a right, so they don't pay for that.
But it's not really being sold as an investment
-that's going to produce you a big return.
-What's the price again?
We're quoting 1.75 million, I think that's right,
it's difficult to put a price on something like this
because there's very little to compare it with.
-This must be a first for you, having to sell a mountain?
-Very much so.
There have been sales, parts of Snowdon were sold a few years ago,
but nothing in the Lake District has ever come out,
as far as we're aware.
And who do you think might be interested?
Well, that's a good question, we're waiting to see, really.
High-worth individuals who buy investments,
like buying a Turner or a Canaletto or something,
instead of that, you can buy a mountain.
Instead of hanging it on your wall, you can actually go out
and enjoy it and walk on it.
Later, I'll be meeting the elusive man
who's decided to sell this mountain.
A couple of autumns ago, Jules headed to Snowdonia,
where Welsh ponies braved the elements all year round
and where he got slightly more than he bargained for
when he agreed to help round them up.
Snowdonia, 3,000 feet.
This is hard terrain, it's beautiful,
but bleak and inhospitable.
Unless, of course, you're a wild Welsh mountain pony.
These mini-hooved crusaders have called this beautiful
and somewhat treacherous landscape home for the last 2,000 years.
They are up here, whatever the weather, all year round,
except for one day in autumn,
when they're brought back down into the fold.
Snowdonia is the only place in Britain that they exist.
And farmer Gareth knows them best.
Well, Gareth, there's no doubt that these ponies are absolutely unique,
to withstand the weather up here,
I mean, you wouldn't leave sheep up here through the winter, would you?
No, no, no.
It's most probably the only pony which would survive up here
or anything that would survive up here. Is these little ponies.
Because they've been bred here, in the 1940s,
-when we had the very hard...
Yeah. Half the ponies on the mountains died.
-My grandfather said they were stood there,
dead, frozen on their feet.
-So, the ones that did survive from that winter were really special
and these bloodlines are still here.
Now, you mentioned your grandfather, these have been a family obsession
for generations for you, haven't they?
When your family has been keeping these ponies for 300 years,
-we can go back 300 years.
-And it's something powerful.
There's something beautiful, mystic,
just something very close to all our hearts.
They're like us, we've been born and bred up here,
you've got to be a special kind of person.
You would say that, wouldn't you?
The ponies may be as hard as nails,
but even they need a bit of TLC sometimes.
Today, they're being rounded up for their annual health check
by Gareth and the other six families that own them.
It's all done using maximum horsepower.
On quads and bikes.
-Look at them!
-Yeah. It's all good fun.
The circus has arrived on top of a mountain in Snowdonia.
Now, does anybody know what's going on?
Is there a plan?
Listen, these are all family and they all know where to go.
Everybody has got their own spot.
These chaps don't have time for social niceties,
there's work to be done. It's organised chaos!
The thing about wild ponies is that...
well, they're wild and they don't always behave as they should,
when being moved around by a mechanical rodeo.
But I've got to learn fast,
because I'm part of the team and these guys don't mess around.
Your job is watching this ravine here.
-They'll be wanting to break up, will they?
-Exactly. This is all open mountain,
so the idea is, with a big net,
-you want to be doing a bit of shouting.
Whatever comes to mind.
They won't understand you, they only understand Welsh up here.
The plan was that everything was going to come
running down that part of the hill, there.
Unfortunately, they had other ideas and they went that way.
I couldn't stop them, the other bikes couldn't stop them,
they've now disappeared over the hill.
After a manic two hours, some master driving from Gareth
and the team, and more luck than judgment from me, it's great news.
We've rounded up a cracking 131 ponies.
Now, all we've got to do is get them down to the farmyard,
where they can be checked over.
Each pony is owned by one of seven local families.
It's been like this for generations.
But how on earth can they tell which pony is which?
They've all got special earmarks in them,
where we know whose pony is who.
Given that they all live on the mountain,
-does it matter who owns them, in a sense?
-Yes, it does.
Because these have been handed down by generations from father to son.
And you want to keep your breeding stock going.
Yes, yes, and you know which ponies are yours
and some of them have got special... Close to your heart.
Each family has to carefully manage their pony's bloodline
to prevent interbreeding.
It's important that there's only one stallion per herd,
so the young males are sold off along with any other ponies
too old or weak to survive the coming winter.
After making sure the remainder have their earmarks,
they'll be released back onto the mountain
to join the few hundred living there.
It would be nice to have rare breed status,
and maybe get rare breed status for the families as well!
It's been a real privilege to have played a small part
in helping these incredible ponies.
These animals are a living slice of our history
and thanks to extraordinary work from farmers like Gareth,
they should continue to be so for generations to come.
The Lake District's Blencathra mountain stands proudly
above spectacular countryside.
And for the first time in 400 years,
this mighty mountain is on the market.
I want to take a closer look.
Time to ditch the glossy brochure and use a guide
who has been indispensable for Lakeland Fell walkers for 50 years.
Alfred Wainwright, of course.
His books are still the guides many walkers rely on
to navigate the slopes.
And it's easy to see why.
The personality of his writing and the information in this book
is really compelling and Blencathra was one of his favourite mountains.
He writes here, "This is a mountain that compels attention,
"even from those dull people
"whose eyes are not habitually lifted to the hills.
"To artists and photographers..."
"It is an obvious subject for their craft.
"To sightseers passing along the road, its influence is magnetic.
"To the dalesfolk, it is the eternal background to their lives,
"there at birth, there at death.
"But most of all, it is a mountaineer's mountain.
Wainwright dedicated more pages to Blencathra
than any other fell in his own inimitable manner.
David Powell Thomson gives guided tours of the fells.
-So, Wainwright loved this mountain, then?
-Oh, he did.
Why did he love it?
Well, it's such an iconic mountain, isn't it?
When you look at it, from afar,
you've got these five huge buttresses,
four gullies, that face south.
Has it changed much, do you think, since he was writing about it?
It's a lot busier, I would think.
Yeah. He came here in the winter of 1661, climbed it every Sunday,
by a different route and didn't see a soul.
Not during the whole of that winter,
-he didn't see anybody else on the summit.
-You can't do that today.
-No, indeed not.
I would think you'd be very lucky, it would be late at night.
And he's done this fabulous map.
-His books, a page a night, after work.
And when he wasn't doing these,
he was out gathering notes, surveying the areas.
They're a fabulous legacy to his work.
He did these as an aide-memoire for himself,
for when he became doddery and couldn't get out on the fell,
he could actually read his book and reminisce about his own work.
But, there are thousands, millions...
The millionth one actually
was sold in a book shop, with a little note in it to say
that Wainwright would have lunch with the person who got it.
But he didn't like people, other people, he was a solitary person.
It's said that he went out,
and found it and bought it himself, so that nobody else could get it!
People say, people know these areas well,
-I don't think anybody knew them as well as he did.
-And you come out with one of these, don't you?
-Yeah, every time, yeah.
-I can do snap!
-You've got all the basics.
Yeah, map, compass, whistle and a Wainwright.
Wainwright was not the first to fall for the beauty of this place.
Romantic poet Samuel Taylor Coleridge was smitten 200 years ago.
But it was another beautiful landscape
that inspired his greatest poetry.
As Julia found out when she went to the Quantocks in Somerset.
This is Coleridge country.
"So, twice five miles of fertile ground
"With walls and towers were girdled round
"And here were gardens bright with sinuous rills
"Where blossomed many an incense-bearing tree
"And here were forests ancient as the hills
"Enfolding sunny spots of greenery."
Kubla Khan is one of Samuel Taylor Coleridge's most famous poems
and one of the most famous in the English language
and he wrote it 200 years ago when he was living here in the Quantocks.
It is beautiful, with its mix of rolling hills,
open heathland and deep, wooded valleys.
It's easy to see what Coleridge fell in love with.
He came here, aged 24, to escape the city.
He was barely known as a poet when he arrived,
but all of that was about to change.
"Friends, whom I never more may meet again
"On springy heath, along the hilltop edge
"Wander in gladness and wind down
"Perchance to that still roaring dell of which I told."
So, here it is, Tom,
the dell that was mentioned in many of Coleridge's poems.
Yes, this is Holford Glen, a place which was a great inspiration
for him and also for his friends,
William and Dorothy Wordsworth, who lived just up the road.
He would walk from Nether Stowey, three miles away,
almost daily to visit them and to visit places like this
and they were almost obsessive wanderers in this landscape
and drew enormous inspiration from it.
In fact, it was a key moment in the history of English poetry,
the moment when landscape and nature
became primary inspirations for poetic achievement.
Another handsome view over our shoulder, Tom,
and another inspirational spot for him.
It was, very much so, this was a place that he visited all the time,
daily, and, of course, it was the beginning of the journey,
which led to his most famous poem, The Rime of the Ancient Mariner.
He and the Wordsworths set off along the great track,
just over there, on a November day at four in the afternoon,
-just as the rain was beginning to fall.
And it was this landscape which was the context
in which that great poem was brought into existence.
The track is now named after the great man himself.
And this is it, the Coleridge Way.
It follows the same routes that he would have traversed 200 years ago
and if he walked it today, he'd see that little has changed.
The track starts here in Nether Stowey,
the village that Coleridge lived in.
'His cottage is now a museum, owned by the National Trust.'
Hello. 'And they've decided to return it
'to its original state as Coleridge's home.'
-Oh, hello, nice to meet you.
-Hello, Stephen, good to see you're busy.
-We're very busy, yes.
So, the whole house has got to be packed away, is that right?
It is, yes, we're having a major re-presentation of the property.
We've to start by clearing the whole place
-and if you want to give us a hand...
-Absolutely, I will be very happy to.
I see an awful lot, a lot of delicate little things.
I mean, what's this?
We have Coleridge's little ink-pot there
-and we have his will.
-Look at that, 1829!
Yes, lots and lots of items that were very personal to him.
We just have to get all these packed up today.
It's this old upstairs room that houses some of Coleridge's
most personal treasures. The quills that he used to pen his masterpieces.
This is the room that Coleridge wrote Frost At Midnight, isn't it?
We're almost certain that this is the room,
-Frost At Midnight was written in.
-Shall we have a go?
You should be able to get about six or seven words out of every dip.
I'm lucky if I can get six or seven LETTERS,
let alone six or seven words!
It's going to take me a long time, let me tell you!
"The Frost performs its secret ministry
"Unhelped by any wind
"The owlet's cry came loud and hark again
"Loud as before
"The inmates of my cottage all at rest
"Have left me to that solitude which suits abstruser musings..."
Coleridge lived in the Quantocks for just three years.
But the landscape inspired him to his greatest poetry.
We've been enjoying our hills and mountains for generations,
but I am not sure what they would have made of THIS
in Coleridge's day.
If you just look right up there, you can make out Andy Thompson,
who's currently hurling himself down this mountain at top speed.
It's fun, apparently.
Oh my goodness! That's fast!
Andy is a fell runner who's going to help me
throw myself down a mountain as well.
Wow! Whoa there, Andy!
My goodness! That must be murder on your knees!
Yeah, it can be at times.
-You get used to after a while.
-What's the appeal of fell running?
For me, the big excitement is running downhill,
also being out on the fells on your own, almost having a mountain
to yourself, but moving at speed, yeah, it's really exciting.
What's so special about this particular mountain?
For me, on a personal point, moving up from the south,
it was the first mountain I ever went up in the Lake District.
-Tempted to put in a bid?
-Not on my wage salary!
Never mind! So, how about this fell running then?
A lot of it comes with confidence and building up slowly,
and then having that ability at times just to take your brain out
and let your legs just go down the hill,
but under a little bit of control.
For me, it's gaining a fine balance between confidence and speed.
You seem to be letting yourself go down there,
-your arms were all over the place.
-That really helps with the balance
and you're almost over-exaggerating your arms to compensate your feet
being slightly off balance at times,
so you're waving around a little bit and you feel a bit of a goon,
but you can hold your balance a lot more on the side of the fell.
This isn't exactly a starter slope, is it?
No, I would say this is fairly technical,
but I reckon we can give it a bit of a whirl.
Here we go.
-I can't put the brakes on!
-That's cool. Widen your stride a touch.
-Keep going, come on.
-This is too steep!
Come on, nice work, let's move.
Everything that isn't bone or muscle is wobbling.
It's better than uphill, though.
The uphill bits can be just as fun, I think, sometimes.
-Well, Andy, I'm going to leave you to it.
Enjoy the rest of your day. See you now. Bye!
Now, running downhill is quite hard work,
but not nearly as hard as when I was challenged to ride
the hill in Yorkshire as part of the route of this year's Tour de France.
This is the sleepy village of Holme on the edge of the Peaks.
It may look quite quiet and serene now but, come July,
it's set to get the biggest wake-up call in its recent history.
Because, for the first time, the world-famous
Tour de France cycle race is set to thunder through here
on day two of this epic race.
150,000 people are expected to come along to watch.
But that's nothing,
12 million people line each stage of the route every year.
There's only one way to see what the Tour de France competitors
will face. I'm going to cycle the hill myself.
I am joining Mark Etches and some of the lads
from Sheffrec Cycling Club from Sheffield
and this hill is part of their training.
So, Mark, this is your standard route as part of your training.
What sort of perils are the Tour de France riders going to face?
Well, this is one of the penultimate climbs of stage two,
so this is quite a climb,
so we expect maybe some attacks to come on these slopes here.
-So this is where it starts to kick up.
Mile and a quarter now to the top of the climb.
There's a mark in the road.
So we know exactly how far we've got to go.
Good grief, it's not easy, is it?
I am struggling to keep pace with Mark at around 5mph.
The riders in the Tour de France will be attacking this hill
at three times that.
Around this corner now, the wind will start to come across.
-Can you feel the wind now?
-Bit of a push...
6, 5, 6%, so it's just starting to...
-pull on those calves.
-God, it is!
I am a keen cyclist, but this gradient is testing me to the limit.
I know I can do better than this and although I shouldn't blame my tools,
there has to be something wrong with this bike!
A quick stop to check and I don't believe it,
I have been riding with the brakes on.
There you go, look. I am not that unfit, the break was locked on!
A likely story!
Thank goodness, I can hold my cycling helmet high again
and we're nearly at the top.
This is where the many thousands of spectators will be jumping for joy
at the site of the biggest cycle race in the world.
-We're nearly there.
-We're getting towards the top.
-Are we going to have a sprint?
-No, we're not!
Last push to the line.
Keep going. Let those legs burn.
Yes. All right.
I am out of breath. I have nothing to say.
-That was amazing.
-Did you enjoy that?
-I feel sorry for them.
-They won't be able to enjoy this view.
No. It's a stunning place up here.
-You feel like you're on top of the world.
Cycling up that hill with the brakes on
certainly put me out of my comfort zone,
but these Herdwick sheep are entirely comfortable out here
on this Lakeland mountain.
They belong to tenant farmer, Willie Tyson
who has lived here since he was two years old and, I have to say,
he's got one of THE nicest views I have ever seen.
Some of his ewes are enjoying the pastures in the field below
ready for lambing, but even in late spring,
there's no sign of his lambs just yet.
It looks very peaceful just now with the sun shining
and the grass is growing, things are starting to turn green.
Unfortunately, in January and February,
it can be a bit bleak.
Last year, we had quite a lot of snow at the end of March
and that's why we don't lamb so early,
because we lie about 850 feet here.
It isn't unknown to have a bit of snow, even in May.
Wow! So these Herdwicks are a very special breed, aren't they?
Yes, very hardy.
The Herdwicks, the indigenous breed, they've been here centuries,
there are records going back to Furness Abbey in the 12th century.
Probably come from Scandinavia, originally.
How do you feel about this mountain up for sale?
-What do you make of all that?
-It's a bit of an eye-opener!
Almost romantic, if you would.
As it stands at present,
we own what's called the common grazing rights.
That's a right to graze this common.
I think, in the event of this lump of mountain being sold,
the commons graziers own the grass
and I think an inch of the turf.
All that's above it and below it belongs to the Lord of the Manor.
You've had many years of this incredible view, as well,
you're very lucky.
It doesn't pay the rent, but if I could bottle it,
I would be worth a fortune!
Adam wished he could have brought the view home
when he visited Switzerland.
Here, an unusual breed of cow grazes
amongst the mountainous Alpine scenery.
The Swiss Alps, where snow-capped peaks tower into the sky
and descend into lush valleys.
2,500m above sea level
live some big, brutal, bruising animals,
famous in Switzerland for fighting.
The Eringer cow has to be one of the most unusual breeds
I have ever heard of.
In some parts of Spain, bullfighting is quite a common
and controversial spectacle but, here, the cattle fight each other
and is often the way of the Swiss, it's a lot less controversial.
In Switzerland, cow fighting events are a big deal.
Huge crowds come to see the Eringer cows battle it out
until one is pronounced the winner.
It's completely natural behaviour.
Fighting is the way this breed establishes a hierarchy
within the herd.
This man farms the cows high on the slopes of the Turtman Valley.
He's taking me to see his cows and he's brought along his friend,
Florian, in case he needs help with his English.
Here they are, the cows!
-Yes, now we've found it.
There are about 900 and 1,000.
I just imagined a few, but there are lots.
-Can we get closer, is it safe?
-Yes, they're harmless.
They are like a dog.
They really like the people.
-Great, let's go and get closer.
So, whilst they fight each other...
They are so friendly!
They're incredibly gentle with people.
These ones lying down here, they're lovely.
The bells are huge!
-Very big bells.
-Yeah, and also noisy.
They're so friendly, they're living up here in a mountain,
but they're like pets!
I can't imagine them fighting.
Just getting up close to these cattle is absolutely wonderful for me
and holding their skin, you can feel that it's really thick.
And their meat is just solid, it's muscle.
Although they're short, they're powerful little beasts.
Look at you!
Look at the thickness of its head. Just incredible!
-So, this is the queen of this mountain.
-The queen fighting cow?
-How did she become queen?
She win all the other cows.
So how many fights will she have?
Oh, this one, her third year,
she is queen. They make no other fight.
I think in 100 days, ten fights.
When they're fighting, it's a big event?
Yes, it's a big event, there are normally 200 cows.
And if your cow wins, do you get money?
No, you win a bell!
-You get a nice bell.
-Yes, a nice bell!
-So, do you breed the cows for fighting or for eating?
For eating, I have prepared something for you.
-Yes, we can go and take a picnic.
-So, what have you got here?
-This is cheese. From this area, too.
And this is meat from the fighting cows, from a cow from me.
-Wonderful, so this is from one of your cows?
Mmmm! Great flavour.
-You like it?
-It's fantastic. You make this yourself?
-So, you farm the cows and you're a butcher, too.
Yes, and the cows,
when they become older or you don't like it,
-we make meat.
-Really delicious, I will try some of this bread, too.
The food is fantastic. You must eat some, too. I am being greedy.
I will give you a little bit of wine and we've two red wine.
I don't want to drink too much, we've a long walk back down the mountain.
You're a big man, no problem for you!
I love visiting other farms to see what people are getting up to,
but to come up here, in this fantastic scenery,
to see a cattle farmer, is really quite extraordinary.
Back in Britain, I'm in the Lake District
exploring the ancient mountain, Blencathra.
It's one of the many mountains and hills
we've scaled the heights of on Countryfile.
A couple of years ago, John visited the Isle of Man
and explored the circuit of the TT course.
He also went to the mountain where scattered pieces of metal
lie as evidence of a tragedy, almost 70 years ago.
It's April, 1945,
the end of the Second World War in Europe is just two weeks away.
A Young American pilot sets off from Essex
in his B-17 Flying Fortress,
heading to Northern Ireland with 30 US servicemen on board,
looking for some rest and recuperation.
So, unlike thousands of other bomber flights,
this was not going to drop bombs,
this was taking people to have a good time?
Exactly, these guys were going on R and R
for a few days in Northern Ireland.
Most of them had been in the UK,
probably for as long as a couple of years
and they were mainly the guys who actually serviced the aircraft,
loaded the bombs onto them, they were ground crew,
they never normally went into an aeroplane,
so it must have been quite an adventure for them.
As the flight was approaching the Isle of Man,
what time of day would that have been?
It was about ten o'clock or 10:15 in the morning.
And what were the weather conditions like?
It was fairly cloudy, the cloud was down to perhaps 1,000 feet.
It is often cloudy on the Isle of Man!
That's right, it's known as Manannan's cloak,
the sort of god of man, brings down his cloak of cloud
and sadly it's caught quite a few fliers out over the years.
And the captain, the pilot, was he experienced?
He was a very experienced pilot, yeah.
He had been on 47 bombing missions over enemy territory,
so you really couldn't get much more experienced than that in those days.
So how come he didn't know about this hill?
Well, that really remains a mystery,
the aircraft's flight plan took it at 5,000 feet.
Just north of the island, but for some reason,
it was much lower and much further south.
In the days before GPS, pilots and navigators relied entirely
on visual landmarks, to confirm their course.
So low cloud could lead to disaster.
It impacted just behind us
and wreckage spread all the way up the hillside,
it was scattered over probably 250m, complete devastation.
-And everybody died.
-Everybody killed instantly, yeah.
Not a chance of survival.
Just think everybody on board was looking forward
to having a great few days.
The flight in a way was oversubscribed,
they had to run a lottery to select the guys who went on it.
And tragically to end your life.
-They turned out to be the unlucky ones.
-The unlucky ones.
These twisted shards of metal are all that still remain.
The men who died here are commemorated today by a simple
plaque on this windswept hillside.
A permanent reminder of some of the many lives these misty hills
The beautiful terrain of Blencathra also has its own intriguing history.
This is the Blencathra Centre on the side of the mountain.
It was built in 1904 as a sanatorium for people
suffering from tuberculosis.
Back then, TB was so feared that sufferers were sent away to
isolated places like this and given a strict dose of fresh air and rest.
Nowadays, the centre has a more pleasant purpose.
If you've ever been on a geography field trip,
the chances are you've stayed in a residential centre like this one.
This week, it's the turn of the geography
students at Nottingham University and instead of mucking
about down here, they're up there on the mountain.
I'm going to go and find them.
Your job is to pull apart what is nearly 450 million years of history.
'Before I know it, I'm back at university.'
Sketch this place. Look out for lumps, bumps, wiggles,
things that we can interpret later on that might tell us
some of the processes that have gone on in this place.
-How's yours looking, Lydia?
-Not too bad.
It's just trying hard to get the appropriate features in,
rather than trying to make it artistic and things like that.
-You like being out in the field?
It's really good sort of applying what you've
learned in your lectures into a physical landscape and environment.
-It's a good way of cementing what you've learned.
And learning new stuff as well.
It's not just taking what we've learned in the lectures,
it's actually learning new things as well, which is really good.
Yeah, absolutely. How's yours looking? What's that?
This is a feature I've noticed down in the valley bottom,
a braided stream, it looks like.
Different grasses there, which gives us that indication.
Missed that one. I'll copy your answers!
Just doing a few trees.
'Job done. But am I top of the class?'
-Really well spotted.
-Ta-da! What do you reckon?
-Ellie...it's not bad.
I really like the fact you've got the whole of the valley in.
-You haven't just focused on one site.
-That was my plan.
And I'm interested by what you've picked up in the valley
bottom there. Some wiggles, some lines. You've got...bits of grass?
It's a braided stream.
-A braided stream!
-What does the rest of the picture show?
-Is this all a glacial scene that we're looking at?
We've got a big wide valley with a massive bottom in it.
And actually quite a small river.
A river like that could never produce a valley this size,
so this valley has been made by something much more powerful.
And that, of course,
is the glaciers that were in this environment 20,000 years ago.
So, why draw? Why is it useful for your students to draw like this?
It's what you pick out and what you leave behind.
What we're trying to get them to do is learn how to pick out
the features in the landscape that tell its long-term story.
Because it's building up that understanding of the landscape
that's critical to being able to understand how it works today.
What do you think about the notion that this mountain is
-up for sale, that someone's going to own it?
-It's a fascinating prospect.
Somebody is going to buy potentially 450 million years of history.
You have a chance to be a custodian of a really important
geological and geomorphological record in this place.
-Can you ever really own it, if it's that old?
I think you can only ever be a custodian of something
-as important of this.
-Yeah. Maybe it'll go to a rich geologist.
-I think I might need to talk to my boss about a pay rise.
All club together!
'In our dreams!
'Last summer, Matt saddled up and got a taste of sheep farming,
'the traditional way, in the Cambrian Mountains in Wales.'
Terrain and climate dictate things around here.
farming communities have carved out a living on the open mountain,
using time-honoured methods passed down from generation to generation.
And if I'm going to go where they go, I've got to swap this
trusty steed for something that's stood the test of time.
-Lads, how are we doing? Owen. James. And who is this?
-This is Balls.
-Do I...? Should I ask?
-Why is he called Balls?
I bought him off my neighbour a few years ago and he named him
-and he's a bit of an eccentric character.
-Is he? Good lad!
Listen, Balls, it's lovely to meet you. He's a lovely lad!
Owen, wherever we go, we've got quite a journey,
but where are we headed and what's the plan?
We're going up on the side of the mountain there now.
We're going to push the sheep up.
They tend to come down a bit overnight,
especially if the weather's been bad.
In the morning, we push them back up where the better pasture is.
'Old traditions die hard in these uplands.
'To work the steep face of the mountain,
'Owen takes to the saddle, just like his forebears did,
'raising hefted flocks that don't stray from the mountain.'
-There's three lads here and one horse.
Well, we realise you're not very fit, so you'd better have the horse!
Cheers, Owen. Well, Balls, this is going to be exciting. Come on, man.
Come and show me your part of the world.
There's a good boy.
As soon as Owen starts whistling, that's it.
-He knows the commands, doesn't he?
So these are all hefted sheep. They know the area.
-Basically, there's no fences.
-No, no fences.
Each spring, when the ewes and lambs come out,
the lamb learns their patch of ground from its mother every year.
'Owen still adheres to the old Hafod a Hendre system.
'After a winter down in the valley,
'he pushes his hefted flock up to the peat bogs
'and moorland of the mountain, where they graze the ancient mosses,
'lichen and herbs over the long summer.
'Bringing them back down to lower ground in the winter doesn't
'just give the sheep a break from the harsh mountain conditions,
'it allows the rich upland pastures to replenish.'
What is it then about this particular grassland, or even this
landscape, this way of life, that makes the meat taste so different?
Probably, you can rush it. It's a seasonal thing.
It's all down to the grass growth and the time of year.
You're dependent on that. There's nothing you can do to rush it.
It's a nice, steady process
and you get a really good product at the end of it.
-So tried and tested formula. If it ain't broke, don't fix it.
'But the survival of traditional farming communities in these
'uplands is far from guaranteed.
'Already one of the least populated areas of Wales, young
'people are moving away in search of more lucrative professions.
'Farmsteads are being sold off and farmers like Owen
'and his brother, James, are becoming a dying breed.
'In response, a group of local farmers are joining forces to
'promote their mountain produce and breathe new life into this place.'
The system itself, really, over the years,
has been about working together, neighbours working together,
to gather each neighbouring block of hill.
It's sort of moved on now into marketing
and selling the lamb together.
A benefit, yeah, definitely.
'Owen is chairing the Cambrian Mountains Initiative,
'a marketing venture set up to help farming families
'capitalise on this area's natural resources.'
And so how has it been going, this scheme,
and what's the situation this year, in comparison to last year?
We moved about 4,500 lambs last year
and we've got potential orders up towards 20,000 lambs this year.
We started with nine members, we've got 21 now
and we're looking for more.
'These lambs are being weighed before they get sent to market.'
-That one feels quite good, actually.
-This one ready to go?
Yeah, if you feel there, look,
you can just tell cos there's just a nice covering there.
-Yeah. Ready to go.
There we are. Shut that, so they don't run all the way through.
-How would you describe the taste difference?
-It seems as if...
I don't know.
It's like as if there's almost a bit of sugar in it, it's that sweet.
Very often with meat, you want other stuff to go with it.
You could just eat this on its own. Just a bit on its own.
It's just nice.
The beautiful Blencathra mountain in the Northern Fells
of the Lake District, a favourite with walkers, poets,
runners and just about anybody else who gazes on it.
But as we've been hearing, it's about to be put up for sale.
Now, the man who's selling it could call himself
the Earl of Lonsdale or Viscount Lowther,
or even the Baron of Whitehaven. But I've been told to just call him Hugh.
-How you doing, Hugh?
-Good to meet you.
-Good on you.
-So we're going in this to see the mountain?
-I suggest you go round there and get in.
-We'll go and make a go for it.
-Let's do it.
Hugh says the best view of the mountain is along this bumpy track,
so we're off-roading in his old army truck.
After 400 years and with a heavy heart,
he's decided he has to let go of
one of the jewels of the Lonsdale estate.
Why is it you're selling the mountain?
My father died in 2006 and I inherited the Lonsdale estates at that point.
-And I was faced with a £9 million death duties bill.
And I was given ten years in which to pay it.
We sold a painting, which went to the Tate Gallery. It was a Turner.
I sold a derelict farm steading.
We managed to reduce it down to £2.7 million, owing,
but I've only got 18 months to go until I've got to finalise.
-Right. Yikes, exactly.
And who do you think might go for the mountain?
-Who do you think is going to buy it?
-Who's got the most money?
-I would reckon the Russians or the Chinese.
And I don't mind if the Russians or the Chinese own it,
it doesn't bother me, because I can still walk on it,
I can still look at it, I can still fly over it.
I can still take my horse up there if I want, no problem.
While Hugh takes me to see his mountain,
let's look back at the time Julia went to the West Highlands of Scotland
and discovered the challenges faced by women climbers a century ago.
Glencoe is one of Scotland's most popular climbing playgrounds.
Thousands take to its hills.
And I'm not the first woman to have been seduced by this craggy paradise.
In the early 1900s, many women were accomplished mountaineers,
but they had to climb with men.
They weren't allowed to join the Scottish Mountaineering Club,
the most prestigious and renowned climbing club of its day.
You can imagine how a small group of determined women climbers
reacted to that. So they decided to do something about it.
On 18th April 1908,
Jane Inglis Clark, her daughter Mabel, and Lucy Smith
conceived the idea of a climbing club of their own, for women only.
And so, by a boulder a bit bigger than this one,
the three appointed themselves president, secretary and treasurer.
The Ladies Scottish Climbing Club was born.
And the club is still going strong.
I'm heading to Blackrock, their Highland headquarters,
to meet members Alison Higham and Rhona Weir.
My teacher was at that time the president of
the Ladies Scottish Climbing Club, and I have lived in Cornwall.
I came to Glasgow, and she realised I was missing the outdoors
and took me climbing and I loved it.
I'd never seen a Highland hill until she took me climbing, a real mountain.
-How old were
-you then? 15.
And, rude to ask a lady's age, I know,
-but please tell us how old you are.
-I'm now 92.
-And still active in the outdoors.
Not climbing, but I walk, and I go uphill, but not climbing.
Let's go back to the title of the club,
the Ladies Scottish Climbing Club,
-and they were indeed ladies, weren't they?
-They were ladies.
They didn't work.
For instance, the Inglis Clarks had one of the first cars
in Edinburgh, which Mr Inglis Clark lent us for meets.
The car came with a chauffeur.
How fantastic, being chauffeur-driven to your walk!
The chauffeur would meet us at the bottom,
at the finish at the end of the day.
But look how many women are on that transport.
And look what they're wearing! Why do they have to wear hats?
Just a tradition, I suppose.
The wild and adventurous spirit of these pioneering women is
reflected in the landscape they embraced.
It's untamed and unspoiled.
Now owned by the National Trust for Scotland, they go to great lengths
to ensure it stays that way,
which is exactly what our lady climbers love.
Time to turn back the clock and take to the hills.
-Don't forget your hat.
-No, I went to get my hat.
Here we are, women against the elements,
or should I say, women against tweed?
It's going to be interesting walking in this garb!
You wouldn't have dared leave your town or village wearing trousers.
You might have had trousers underneath.
Once you got away from the village,
you may well have taken your skirt off
and hidden it behind a boulder to pick up later.
And I'm the next era. I'm being bold.
-I'm wearing breeches.
-Where are we heading, Alison?
We're heading up to Coire na Tulaich on Buachaille Etive Mor
to do some scrambling in the old style.
Are you going to sit this one out, Rhona, or are you coming with us?
I think I'm going to fall off. I'll just go back now.
-Have a lovely climb.
I don't know about you, Julia,
but I'm finding this really hot, these tweeds.
This skirt is a nightmare.
It clings to your legs and every time you take a step, you trip over it.
So I'm hauling this extra weight, and now the midges are getting me.
'Don't laugh! This get-up was all the rage with women climbers in 1908.'
It's about 20% harder in a skirt. Do you think we look glamorous?
They must have been hardy, climbing in heavy tweeds with no harnesses,
no helmets and just a line of rope attached to the lead climber.
Today, I'm getting a taste of what it was like back then,
so I'm opting not to wear a helmet, but only
because we're scrambling and I'm under strict supervision from Alison.
Do not try this at home, ladies.
And that's it. All I wanted was a nice, gentle stroll.
-We're going scrambling.
It's a different technique from what it is these days.
They sound good. Making easy work of it.
Right, Julia, I've found a good stance,
-and I'll be taking the rope in. And then you can climb after me.
Of course, women could not climb without a hat,
so I'm about to do one of the stupidest things I've ever done,
scrambling in a skirt, wearing this bonnet.
Ooh! Rope knocking my hat.
Standing on the skirt.
Wasn't easy being a woman in 1908.
You didn't hang on to your hat!
Of course I didn't hold on to my hat!
I'm more interested in holding on to the rock.
-Ladies used to have to hang onto the hat as well.
Take your time and come round to my right.
I'm going to come and sit here.
-There we go.
-There we are. Well done.
I take my hat off to those ladies, not that I have to,
because it's blown away in the wind,
but this makes it at least 30% more difficult.
Yeah. I give those ladies top marks.
-They were amazing.
-And this is beautiful.
-Isn't it beautiful?
Julia getting to grips with mountaineering, Victorian style.
In the Lake District, I'm scaling these lumps and bumps
in Hugh Lonsdale's old Army vehicle.
He's the current owner of the Lonsdale estate,
30,000 acres of farmland, forest and, for a little while longer,
Blencathra, the imposing mountain he's put up for sale.
So, Hugh, do you think you will be sad to see the mountain go?
Yes, I will be, in a way, because it is the loss of our family heritage.
But it's the lesser of the two evils,
-with me having to pay the death duties.
Without having to disrupt other people's lives.
If we don't sell this, I will have to start selling houses and farms
and things like that, which I will have to evict all the tenants
-and totally disrupt their lives.
-It's been a tough decision, hasn't it?
-Yes, well, it's the way it goes.
-The way it goes.
Hugh's hoping to get around £1.75 million for Blencathra.
Whether you think that's good or bad value is up to you.
To me, the view, at least, is priceless.
Well, that is it from the Lake District.
Next week we will be in the Lee Valley, the green lung
of London, where Matt will be finding out why it became
a powerhouse for growing fruit and veg,
and I'll be with the RNLI on a floodwater rescue exercise.
Hope you can join us then. Bye-bye.
In this edition of Countryfile, Ellie Harrison explores some of Britain's most spectacular hills and mountains. She exclusively reveals that one of Britain's most iconic mountains is up for sale, getting a tour of the estate and meeting the people who live and work on the land.
In addition, Ellie looks back at the best bits of Countryfile to have featured hill-and-mountain-themed stories - everything from the challenges of farming on a mountain to the walkers and climbers seeking out adventure and dramatic scenery.