Matt Baker explores the rise and fall of the Clyde valley in Lanarkshire as a major force in Scotland's food industry. Ellie Harrison meets an urban beekeeper.
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The Clyde Valley, south Lanarkshire.
Once known as the fruit basket of Scotland.
Its sheltered, fertile soil produced rich pickings when it
came to growing.
Plums, strawberries, gooseberries,
they all used to grow in abundance here.
But the once thriving market for its fruit
has pretty much died out and there was a danger that the
Clyde Valley orchards would be lost from this landscape altogether.
But thanks to this lot,
the landscape is beginning to bear fruit again.
Where there's blossom, there's bees.
And Ellie's visiting a school that's a hive of activity.
-This is cool, isn't it?
-This is a good science lesson!
Tom's looking at the major problem caused by microplastics.
We can clean up the small pieces that we can see, but it's
pretty much impossible to clean up the microplastics from a beach.
And Adam will be meeting the second of our
Countryfile Young Farmer of the Year finalists.
He started with nothing,
he has said and done what he said he was going to do
and more. I think he will go all the way.
Vast valleys frame grand vistas.
Water, flickering, flowing, crystal clear.
Blossom bursting, during a Scottish spring.
This is Lanarkshire.
Glasgow, Scotland's biggest city,
is just up the road and beautiful Lanarkshire is its back garden.
And it's to here that city dwellers escape.
It's only a few miles up the road, but it's a world away.
The River Clyde is the blue thread that runs through the two
halves of Lanarkshire. North Lanarkshire,
which contains many of Glasgow's suburbs and commuter towns,
and, as you head further out, the more rural South Lanarkshire.
It was the King's love of figs and pears that led to the
fruit basket of Scotland being planted, almost 900 years ago,
filling these slopes with blooming blossom.
'Tom Clelland is the fourth generation of his family to
'grow fruit here, in the Clyde Valley.'
So, who was the first family member of yours to come to this part
of the world?
My great-grandfather came here to grow strawberries,
gooseberries and plums. That would be somewhere round about 1900.
And this orchard, I mean, you can see it here,
the way it stretches along this bank side, but back in the day,
I mean, this whole valley would have just been ablaze with colour.
Why doesn't it look like that now?
The heyday of the Clyde Valley
was about 1900 to 1970.
In the 19th century, fruit started to come in in refrigerated
containers from North America. Apples, pears.
And they were better quality than they could grow around here,
so the growers in the valley diversified and that was into
strawberries and glasshouses and they also found that
the Victoria plum really liked this area.
In the 12 miles from Lanark down to Bothwell,
all sorts of fruits were grown here.
How much of a business is there here today?
I mean, is it worth it for you?
No, it's not economically viable.
I keep the orchard and I plant it up,
but it's really just for heritage reasons.
Cos my family did it, my dad, my grandfather, my great-grandfather.
'But now, there's a mini revival to bring fruit growing back
'to these slopes.
'It's being led by people like Duncan Arthur,
'a leading light in the local orchard cooperative.'
So, what does the group hope to achieve, then, Duncan?
What's the idea behind it all?
A lot of the knowledge disappeared and also
a lot of the fruit used to just lie on the ground.
By setting up the group,
it's a place for people to come for knowledge, help,
funding in some instances, and more importantly,
the products at the end of it, we can take, make into juice at
the moment, sell it, and that money comes back into the community
for us to plant more trees.
'Over the years, some orchards have been lost,
'but many are ripe for rejuvenation.'
Is this typical, Duncan,
of the kind of orchards that you've been rediscovering, if you like?
'As part of the wider National Orchard Inventory for Scotland,
'Duncan has led a team of volunteers,
'surveying the Clyde Valley.'
So, how did you teach folk to do this?
Because I'm guessing not a lot of them were experts, were they?
Yeah, you're right there. And during the fruiting season,
it's quite easy cos you can explain the difference between a plum,
an apple, a damson, that's easy, but the surveys, given
so many orchards, went right through to November, December.
And there's some tricks that you can use, one to help with the size of
the trees, and another to identify what is in an orchard.
So, this tree that we've got here, quite a square-ish kind of bark.
Yeah, well, that's good because you've identified straightaway
that this is likely to be a pear tree.
Pears tend to have this almost like a crocodile's back appearance.
Looking at this one then, in particular,
this being more of a twisted kind of bark.
You should have been doing our surveys with us, Matt,
because that's exactly what we would be asking them to look for.
Quite deep riven but with a twisting effect, as it grows up.
-And that's plum.
-And that's a plum.
And then the apple, which is a much smoother bark.
A much smoother bark on the apple and you can tell by the
fruiting spurs on an apple a lot of the time.
'And Duncan has a nifty way of ageing
'a tree from the thickness of its trunk.'
The rule of thumb, or should I maybe say rule of finger, was a tree
zero to eight years old would be between your finger and your wrist.
Between eight and 20 would be between your wrist and your leg.
Over 20 but under 30 would be between your leg and your torso.
Bigger than your torso, you're looking at probably 50 years.
'The results of the surveying showed South Lanarkshire is still
'the biggest and most concentrated orchard area in Scotland.
'Later, I'll be visiting an orchard that Duncan and his team have
'brought back to life for a celebration of Clyde Valley
Pollutant issues caused by disposable plastics have been
But blink and you could miss the latest pollutant to threaten
our countryside - microplastics.
Now, these tiny particles are causing a big headache,
but where are they all coming from? Here's Tom.
Sand Bay in Somerset.
Loved by families and dog walkers.
But if you look closer, much, much closer, you'll spot a problem
that affects all of our beaches and probably reaches far beyond.
Microplastics are tiny, measuring less than 5mm.
Plastic never really disappears, it just breaks up,
getting smaller and smaller.
In fact, just about all the plastic
ever made is still out there somewhere.
It's a real cause for concern and now
even governments are taking notice,
which is why beach clean ups like this are more important than ever.
I'm here to help Dr Sue Kinsey, from the Marine Conservation Society.
You're looking very busy here. Can I give you a hand?
Yes, that would be fantastic.
What we're doing is picking up all the litter, basically.
-And you don't have to look far, do you?
-No. No, it's everywhere.
Look at this.
-Oh, hm. Now, most of the stuff I'm picking up is fairly big.
But obviously, we're talking about microplastics today.
-So have you got some smaller bits in here?
-That there, a tiny bit there.
-I mean, who knows what that once was?
But that was obviously a bigger object at some point.
And you can already see that it's sort of breaking up on the edge,
so what is about 5mm across is already becoming a lot less.
-And you've got
-polystyrene in here as well.
-This type of polystyrene,
you can see it's filled with little sort of balls and when they
break up, they look like fish eggs and lots of animals will then
just go, "Oh, fantastic! Lunch!" And eat it.
Even as I'm touching it, tiny bits are falling off.
Yeah, it's just breaking apart.
Why is it that it's particularly concerning for you?
We can clean up the small pieces that we can see,
but sometimes if you take a bucket full of sand and put it
in water, you will find lots of microplastics.
It's pretty much impossible to clean up the microplastics from a beach.
'But where are all these microplastics coming from?'
Well, this looks like it couldn't possibly be microplastic,
but it will eventually break down into very small, tiny, tiny pieces.
And then we've got something that probably lots of people have
heard about. It's the microbeads that are in facial scrubs, body
scrubs, and you can see they're absolutely minute.
And there's no way any sewage system
is going to be able to deal with those.
'Another major source are the raw pellets that all plastic
'products are made from.
'Known as nurdles, they frequently end up in the sea.
'But surprisingly, the vehicles we drive are also a huge contributor.'
The rubber tyres, putting plastic on the road surface, as they're going
along, it's shredding and going down the drains and in to our seas.
And what about the synthetic shirt?
Right. This is a fairly recent problem.
So, in the washing machine,
they're shedding little bits of fibre into the water.
'Every year, across the world,
'we produce about 300 million tonnes of plastic and that number is
'growing, adding to the huge amount already circulating in our oceans.
'Which is why microplastics are on the radar of the
'Royal Research Ship Discovery.
'She's just returned to Southampton after three weeks in the Atlantic.'
Microplastics aren't just floating around.
They can work their way up the food chain,
even potentially making their way into my fish supper.
And I'm not sure if I fancy plastic sprinkles on my dinner.
'That's why I'm joining Professor Richard Lampitt on board.
'He's testing how microplastics are affecting the plankton at the
'bottom of the ocean food chain.'
OK. So, what's happening here?
So, I saw Clare just putting in a little file at the bottom there.
-Is that a sample that's being collected?
As a result of that, we can identify the microplastics,
which are these little red ones here, and various types of organism
here, which have been affected by the addition of the microplastics.
What is it about the plastics that could be harming the plankton?
Essentially, they have toxins inside them, which may leach out.
So then going into the gut of the organism, and the second way
is pollutants in the environment which may get stuck to the
outside and then gradually released over time.
And that can happen and is known to happen.
'Plankton end up in pretty much every animal in the sea,
'including fish, so is it a risk to us?'
A number of people feel that the major threat is from eating it.
You're getting it into your shellfish or into your fish.
My own feeling is that's probably not going to be the major
cause for concern.
The most likely influence is going to be that change in the
ecosystem structure and function. How it actually operates.
'It's a real problem, but at the moment,
'not much is being done about it.
'That's because microplastics are the new pollutants on the
'block and we're still scrabbling to understand them.
'The UK will ban plastic microbeads
'in cosmetic products later this year.
'But that's only a tiny fraction of what ends up in our oceans.'
Getting rid of all the microplastics already out in the
environment is nearly impossible,
but making sure we dispose of plastic correctly,
recycling wherever possible, would certainly help for the future.
But it's not just our beaches and oceans we need to be worrying about.
Later on, I'll be discovering this is
a problem which could lie much, much closer to home.
ELLIE: We're in South Lanarkshire, exploring the Clyde Valley.
The Clyde is a river that carries not only a weight of water,
but the weight of reputation, for industry, for urban expanses,
and for pollution.
But upstream, it's a different story.
Here, pristine water cascades over a series of falls,
nourishing wildlife and the trees on the steep sides of the gorge.
These are the Falls of Clyde, set in ancient woodland,
some of the oldest in Scotland.
It feels timeless.
It sounds timeless.
Close your eyes here and you're transported across the millennia.
A clue to just how old this woodland is lies not in the mighty
river gorge carved out over aeons, but in the unassuming
wild flowers beneath my feet that thrive in the spring.
'Steve Blow from the Scottish Wildlife Trust is taking
'me on a floral odyssey.'
-How are you doing?
-This is good, to keep big boots off delicate flowers.
-I'll tiptoe over here.
-Gosh, isn't this full of wild flowers?
I recognise wood anemone, bluebell and celandine.
You're going to have to help me out with the others.
Another one is sanicle,
which is one of the ones that's just coming into flower here.
And another, we've got a very feathery leaf back here.
-This one here.
-Looks a bit like a carrot top.
That's pignut. If you were gathering nuts in May,
-those are the nuts you'd be gathering.
-What does it mean
that all these different wild flowers are here together?
It tells us that this woodland hasn't really been touched
ever since it was formed at the end of the last ice age.
So these flowers, they moved in sort of thousands of years ago and
have remained here ever since.
-A carpet of wood anemones.
How big a patch do you think this is, then?
It's about ten metres-ish?
For every two metres of growth, it might take as much as 100 years.
-So these could have been here for 500 years.
-500 years or so.
500 years to spread from one to this much!
That's mind-bogglingly slow! Wow! Worth it for us, though.
'But the wild flowers aren't the
'only species with tales to tell here.'
So, one of the other regular little visitors we have round here
And they regularly hang out on the rocks right in front of us.
They're quite charismatic, aren't they?
Unusual, in that they can hunt underwater.
Yeah, they'll sit on the rocks, they'll bob up and down,
looking for food underwater,
and then they use their wings as they go sort of under the water,
to kind of fly around under and keep themselves on the river bed,
turning over stones, looking for sort of nymphs
of the mayflies and the stoneflies that are kind of flying around above
-the river at this time.
-It's obviously a good time of year for it
because there's a lot on the wing today, you can see it, can't you,
-in the sunlight?
'If the wild flowers tell us how old the gorge is, the dippers can
'tell us how clean it is, as they only thrive in good quality water.'
There's another animal that is well known around here and
compared to the dipper,
it's the big, big brother.
This gorge is the hunting ground of peregrine falcons.
You'd imagine that this tranquil woodland would be the ideal
place for them, but they don't actually live here.
However, I've been given a tip off that to see them,
I need to head to somewhere that's less of a haven and more of hole.
A quarry, noisy, dirty and dangerous.
The peregrines love it here.
So much so, they've been resident here for more than 30 years.
You must know this site pretty well. How long have you been coming here?
-I've been coming to this site since 1993.
-Wow, a fair while!
'The precise location is secret, to protect the birds.
'My guide is George Smith,
'a licensed volunteer for the Scottish Raptor Study Group.'
-So, where am I looking?
-The female's tucked into the left-hand side.
-Avoiding the wind.
I guess an ideal spot really.
Safe from predators, quite a good place to go hunting from.
Indeed, yeah. There's a lot of food in this area.
It's safe. It's an active quarry. People work here all the time.
When eggs hatch here, they always fledge.
That's not an easy site for you to get to, though, George.
It certainly is not.
It's one of the most crumbly sites I've ever been down to.
-Are you a climber first or birder first?
-I'm certainly a birder first.
I climb by need.
You've been studying them for so long,
there must be something really charismatic about this bird.
I love watching peregrines. What does it for you?
It's an apex hunter. It's top of the food chain. It's a stunning flier.
Fastest thing on Earth.
And I'm privileged to be able to work with these things.
-They are outstanding.
-I absolutely agree with that.
The way wildlife can carve a niche in the most unlikely of places
has always delighted me.
My spring morning here in the Clyde Valley has been a thrilling example.
Just downstream, Sean is exploring
a different side to the Clyde Valley.
While the Falls of Clyde might be a beautiful location to spot
wildlife, it's the raw power of water cascading down that
inspired a pioneering pair of the Industrial Revolution.
New Lanark, a series of cotton mills,
with a village that grew around them.
Founded in 1785 by David Dale, a Glaswegian entrepreneur,
and Richard Arkwright, inventor of industrial cotton spinning.
At its peak, 2,000 people lived or worked in this sublime landscape,
all thanks to the power of the Clyde and some visionary thinking.
'Andy Dimond works for the trust that runs the New Lanark site today.
'His job is to keep the technology, old and new, running.'
-Got to say, what a magnificent waterworks.
-It's lovely, isn't it?
It's lovely. It's a replica of the one that was originally in situ.
It does the equivalent of roughly 75 horsepower,
which is about the equivalent of a small car.
We say a small car now, but at the time,
-that was the height of technology, wasn't it?
Sort of the equivalent of a driverless car now or a spaceship.
Absolutely. I mean, if you think about it,
David Dale and Richard Arkwright could see the potential here
of making this estate the actual powerhouse of Scotland.
-You are using the river for power now.
-Very much so, yes.
We take the water from the actual lade,
using a 1931 turbine to generate the hydroelectricity.
Roughly equivalent of about 650 domestic premises.
'In 1799, at the height of the Industrial Revolution,
'a new manager took over the mills. He not only transformed the
'business here, but society as we know it.'
And this is him, Robert Owen. From this office,
he made the mills more efficient and he expanded the business.
But unlike the stereotype of the slave driving mill owner,
he did it whilst improving the lives of the workers and their families.
Owen was ahead of his time. Years before the law changed,
he took children out of the mills and put them into the classroom.
Jane Masters is New Lanark's heritage manager.
This is Clearburn, that's what the burn that runs
through this area is called.
And it was one of the areas where Robert Owen would have
instructed his teachers to bring children to learn about nature.
He believed that children were entitled to
a diverse curriculum, so not just reading,
writing and arithmetic, but also geography, history, singing,
dancing, and also to be outside,
enjoy the fresh air and be healthy.
So he'd seen people in desperate situations and
-he wanted to make it better for the people who worked for him.
For the people and in return for the site because
he believed that if people were treated better, they would perform
better in their role and the business would be more profitable.
But it was the River Clyde that really drove the business and
the machines inside the mills.
Today, they spin wool rather than cotton,
under the watchful eye of Alan Barrowclough and his lifetime
of experience in mills, from Yorkshire to Lanark, via Lancashire.
The big problem that I've had is that all the machines that
are built in the past,
they was all smashed to bits by a scrap man and when New Lanark
came along and asked me if I'd be interested in building
machinery, I grabbed the chance because I knew that anything
that I was going to make here would be here for a long time.
How do the processes differ from the 1700s and the 1800s to now?
Well, not really different. It's the same principle.
The only difference now to what there was in the old days is
that the machines are a lot bigger.
-So, they were getting it right in the 17 and 1800s.
-They got it right.
The Victorians got this right. There's no two ways about that.
The mills were fully operational until 1968,
which perhaps explains why New Lanark is relatively unchanged.
Its crowning achievement was being awarded UNESCO World Heritage
status, joining the likes of the Tower of London and the
Great Wall of China.
What I love about New Lanark is it's still
a living and working community.
The mills and other buildings house businesses, workshops and offices.
There's even a hotel. And in the tenements over there,
about 100 people still live in this beautiful location.
Textile production here is much smaller now,
but Anne Ross is keeping the ancient art of dyeing alive.
Anne, this looks like a beautiful array of colours.
-The colour of the Scottish countryside.
-Oh, it is.
It's just beautiful. But what's key about it is they're
-natural colours, aren't they?
-And that's how things would have
-been done in new Lanark hundreds of years ago.
I particularly like that one. What's going on here?
-That's using onion skins.
-How many onions did it take to make that?
-Oh, enough to fill the pot.
-You get a beautiful colour.
-Yes, it is.
I quite like this one. This is really standing out for me.
Presumably, that's come from lichen, has it?
Yeah, that's a lichen.
-Traditionally, it would be soaked in urine.
This is ammonia.
Ammonia, so you used the ammonia instead of the urine.
Traditionally, the churches would have
a pot outside and the men would be asked to actually make a donation.
-So it's a different sort of donation to church, isn't it?
It's amazing to think that some wool and this and a bit of ammonia,
-or urine in the old days, and you get this.
Every stone of New Lanark exudes history.
A cradle of industry and the birthplace of principles we
take for granted today.
All here, thanks to some visionary thinkers and the sheer force
of the River Clyde.
MATT: Earlier, we heard how microplastics are causing
a big problem for our beaches and oceans.
But that's not the end of the story. Here's Tom.
Microplastics are tiny plastic particles.
They come from items like everyday rubbish,
and even car tyres and the road surface we drive on.
Millions of tonnes of them are found on our beaches and in our oceans.
But there's another source that's posing a huge threat inland.
The trusty fleece,
it's almost a uniform amongst those who love the outdoors.
Indeed, they're a bit of favourite amongst Countryfile presenters.
I think I've had this one longer than I've been on the show.
But a single machine wash of a fleece like this can
discharge almost 2,000 microfibres.
From there, these fine plastic strands disappear down the
drain and end up in waste water treatment plants.
We call it waste, but actually, it's not wasted at all.
It's processed into a fertiliser sludge, known as biosolids.
But there's a problem.
This sludge could be retaining almost all of the
microplastics from the waste water.
And we've been spreading it all over our fields throughout the UK.
It looks just like compost and is a neat solution to dealing with
our sewage waste,
but is this wonder fertiliser simply loaded with microplastics?
Farmers like Robin Aird have been using this treated sludge on
their land for decades.
The estate is looking fantastic, but tell me, what's the
attraction of using what comes from our sewage farms on your field?
Tom, we've been using sewage cake on the farm now for 15 years.
It's a great source of phosphate,
which is what we need to grow these crops.
It's one of the three main nutrients.
And it's an easy product that we can utilise without having to use
a rock-mined product out of the ground.
Would this crop be looking anything as good as it is if you
weren't putting sewage biosolids on it?
If you took the product straight away and not replace it,
then straightaway you'd have a completely different looking crop.
I remember as a child, sewage cake first coming out onto the
farms and my stepfather was paid to take the sewage cake.
I remember the line in the field where half the field was
spread and the other half wasn't.
And it was sort of that much difference in height.
It's a great source of phosphate.
The only downsides up to now was the aroma issue.
What do you think about the fact that what you're putting on
the soil could well be containing little bits of plastic?
I think it's a concern.
We don't want to pollute our ground. Our ground is our money earner.
Are you worried enough to stop using them?
Until I can find out what sort of levels we're looking at.
I mean, if we found that we had very damaging levels, then, yes,
we would stop straightaway and find alternative products.
There has been very little research in this area so far,
but one study estimates that in the worst case, 100,000 tonnes of
microplastics could be being spread on our fields every year in the UK.
And a report by the Chartered Institution of Water and
Environmental Management warns that microplastics can accumulate
in the soil.
It adds, they may release harmful chemicals,
which could enter the human food chain.
'Our lack of knowledge is the main challenge,
'so I'd like to get a close-up look at these biosolids.
'Here at Brunel University in London, Dr Chris Green studies
'microplastics in our environment.'
-Shall we remove the fleece and put a lab coat on?
-We'll get straight to it.
-The microfibre fleece.
'He's going to help me test a sample of treated sludge.'
So, we've got a nice box of biosolid here.
So first step's going to be for you to dig right in deep to it
and get us about 10 grams into there.
I like your use of the word "nice" because presumably this,
how can I put it, originated in a toilet in someone's home?
-There we go. Get a bit like that.
'We add a salt solution and shake up the sample.'
'Then, spin it in a centrifuge to float off any microfibres.
'Once it has settled and filtered, I can finally see them for myself.'
Wow, it's tiny! Can't even see it with the naked eye.
So, what did our samples turn up?
We found polyethylene, and also polyester,
both fibres and fragments, in those samples.
Is it too much of a stretch to say that these microplastics
could be poisoning our farmed environments?
We need to generate a greater understanding of the hazard that we
have here. Certainly, there is a potential for them to be ingested.
Certainly, there is the potential for them to pass on chemical
pollutants from the plastics themselves to an organism.
Could the water companies be doing more to remove these microplastics?
We're looking at such small particles,
to have a system to remove those is going to be practically impossible.
In terms of treating the sludge,
I think that would be incredibly difficult.
So that means that we need to look further upstream and we need
to look at the way we are using plastic in our day-to-day lives.
So, what's the water companies' position?
They're certainly not the source of the microplastic pollution,
but they do sell biosolids to the farmers.
The body that represents them, Water UK, told us:
Microplastics in the ocean are a concern for marine biologists
and increasingly for environmental groups.
But the discovery that they're on our land brings this much
closer to home.
The trouble is we don't know how dangerous they are for
wildlife or for us.
This is an area where ignorance dwarfs knowledge.
Earlier in the year, we asked you to let us know of young farmers
who you felt deserved special recognition.
Well, of all of the nominations that you sent in,
Adam and Charlotte have managed to whittle them down to a
shortlist of just three and here is the second of those finalists.
On Countryfile, we meet lots of young farmers and we know how
hard they work and how special they are.
They deserve a big thank you from all of us.
Which is why we created Countryfile's Young Farmer Award.
We wanted to hear your stories of how young farmers contribute
so much to our countryside,
so we could celebrate some of the hardest working individuals.
And you sent in hundreds of
nominations from all over the country.
There are some really strong, inspirational farmers.
Just too many of them! It's not going to be easy,
-but I think we're getting down to what we really want.
It's part of the BBC's Food and Farming Awards,
and the winner will be announced at a ceremony later in the year.
Last week, we met our first finalist, Tom Phillips,
a 16-year-old hill farmer in south-east Wales.
He grew up on the family farm and now helps run it.
-That's a lot of responsibility for a 16-year-old, isn't it?
-Oh, it is.
It is, but I get the occasional telling off for not doing
something right, but animals know me, I know them.
But our second finalist is rather different.
In fact, he's from a town centre,
just a few miles away from Milton Keynes,
where the cows are concrete.
Tom Addison is 23. He grew up on housing estate in Buckinghamshire.
But in just a few short years, he's transformed himself into
a knowledgeable and skilled young farmer.
And that's not been easy because this farmer doesn't have a farm.
Instead, Tom keeps his livestock on small rented plots of land,
dotted around the countryside.
And home's in the middle of town.
Tom lives with his mum, veterinary nurse Angela, and dad Andy,
-who is a motor racing engineer.
'His passion for farming was triggered by
'a connection with some family friends who farm nearby.'
How did this farming story all begin?
Just through me knowing John and Suzanne, really.
I house sit for them and horse sit for them, and Tom used to tag along.
I would go with Suzanne and do the horses,
and he would go off with John and do what men do on farms, really.
Tom, what was it about farming that you thought, "Yeah, that's for me?"
Well, it was being outside all day, I think,
and it's a different job every day, and working with the cattle.
Doing stock work just seemed to appeal to me, really.
It just clicked, I suppose.
-Andy, you're not a farmer, are you?
-No, not at all, no.
For all Tom's life, I've worked in Formula 1.
-How did you feel, him going into farming?
-We're fine with it.
It's an outdoor job, it's something he's passionate about.
And the more he finds out about it, the more I think he loves it.
Tom started with just six sheep,
and set up his own business,
Addison's Lamb -
rearing and selling local meat direct to the public.
-They're a smart looking bunch of ewes and lambs, Tom!
-How many have you got in total?
-There's 170 in total.
-And do you just manage them on your own?
'That's a lot of hard work for one person.'
Meanwhile, back in town, Angela tells me how farming
has really brought about a change in Tom.
When Tom was at school, he couldn't cope with playground situations.
He actually spent the breaks in the library or in the classroom
with the teacher. Same with dinner.
He'd go into the dinner hall and eat dinner with everybody,
but then he'd go to the library.
So, to hear him now,
going asking people if he could rent their land...
-From someone who was so shy, it's amazing.
And to be on his own and facing people and holding his own ground...
yeah, really chuffed.
Tom gave up school and joined agricultural college.
The farming bug had him,
and, aged just 17, he travelled all the way
to Australia on his own to gain more experience.
Tom is open to everything.
He will take anything that's thrown at him on,
and he'll look for new opportunities.
His head's always buzzing with new ideas.
He knows what he wants to do and he'll go for it and he'll get it.
And Tom's tireless.
He holds down a series of farm jobs to subsidise his lamb business.
-They seem quite noisy.
-Yeah, they're ready for some food,
for some more grass.
-How many farmers are you working for, then?
-Upwards of 20, I suppose.
-Goodness me! Doing what?
Contract shepherding, relief milking, tractor driving,
everything. Anything they want me to do, really.
-All to help fund your own farming project?
-Yeah, all to pay the bills.
Goodness me, what a productive young man you are.
And what's the dream? Where's the future?
Hopefully to move onto my own holding, I suppose.
And just to be successful in the breeding and the job that I'm doing.
Yeah, well, great.
Well, it's not easy moving ewes and lambs,
but the dog did a good job.
-Yeah, she's pretty handy, yeah.
-When did you get her?
-I got her for my 21st birthday.
-Oh, did you, how lovely!
-It's a good little bridge.
-Yeah, I built this.
-It's all right, isn't it?
-So, you're a handyman, too?
So, you rent land on various farms, but you've got some buildings, too?
Yeah, we've got some just across the road,
-so do you want to have a look?
-Yeah, I'd love to.
Just down the road is where it all started,
with former John Martin and his wife, Suzanne.
Tom came here as a 14-year-old,
to help his mum house sit, and that was that!
They nominated him for our award.
On the face of it, having a 14-year-old from the local town,
you wouldn't expect them, in many ways,
to sort of particularly get interested in it.
He came here and he saw what was happening here,
and he used to follow me around,
and I didn't realise how much
he was getting from it in those days.
He said a couple of weeks ago, "It's all your fault,
"because I used to look up to you."
I didn't realise at the time, but that's just the way it happened.
When he came here to start with, he could drive a tractor but
he couldn't do all the other big things with it.
So, I only had to tell him once, and then he was in
and he listened and he did it.
If you were putting on a sort of, you know, "employ this farmer",
what would you tell me about Tom?
He's got a lot of guts and he has a lot...he's driven.
He knows what he wants. He wanted to be chairman of Young Farmers,
he wanted to have his sheep, he wanted to work on dairy.
And he can do them all, wherever he wants.
And what we want is for somebody to say,
"OK, here's a tenancy for you."
Of course, he is only young, isn't he?
-He's got time!
-Yeah, he's 23, he's got time, yes.
But he wants to do it now!
-Are you proud of what he's done?
I wish him all the luck in the world.
'And Tom's already on to the next stage of his plan, from sheep...'
-Whereabouts on the gate?
-Just top rung.
'..to something a little bigger.'
-Come on, boys.
-Very simple, isn't it?
-Yeah, it's easy.
And why have you decided to start rearing calves, then?
Well, lambing's over, and we've got the buildings here,
and it's just perfect for the job.
-Helps pay for the rent?
-Yeah, that's it.
And do you prefer sheep or cattle?
-Oh, I'd say it's cattle that I love, yeah.
Well, it's been fascinating to meet you, Tom.
You've obviously got a huge amount going on in your life,
-and you deserve the success that comes your way.
-Thank you very much.
-Good to meet you.
-Nice to meet you, Adam, cheers.
-All the best.
The progression into beef farming is typical.
Tom never stands still and never stops working.
What an inspiration.
-What do you think to Tom, then?
-I think he's really determined.
And I think, actually, what it shows is that if you are really
determined, even if you're not from a farming family, actually,
even if you don't grow up in the countryside, you can do it.
I'm really impressed by his passion and determination to be
a farmer, but what I really like is the fact that he's looking at
-it as a business.
-Because there's got to be a bottom line,
hasn't there? Or else all that hard work gets you nowhere.
-So, two down, one to go.
-Off we go - to the North.
-South Lanarkshire's soft green hills offer some of the best
agricultural land in Scotland.
Then there are the less green parts.
I've been told that I'm here to meet a farmer.
But this doesn't feel right. I'm on an industrial estate on the
outskirts of Glasgow, and I can't see any farmland.
But in between these factories and storage units,
there are green spaces.
I'm here to meet urban farmer Warren Bader,
who puts them to use creating food and habitat for bees.
Now, look at that, feel the weight on that comb.
Originally from South Africa, he now runs
a beehive adoption service for anyone with a bit of space to spare.
-How are you doing, Warren?
-Yeah, good, thank you.
-It's a beautiful day, isn't it?
So, you're the urban farmer?
That's quite correct, I style myself as an urban farmer.
We have a company and we rent out beehives to various
organisations, but we also do staff training with them.
-And it's to teach them about the importance of bees, and about
sustainability and about the environment.
And how did you get started?
I used to be a film producer, but I just had enough of, you know,
the rigours of film production,
and I wanted to learn how to keep bees.
So, a real-life change for you, then, doing this?
Yeah, I've changed from one sort of producing to another kind of
-producing, basically, so!
It seems surprising to a lot of people,
but, in fact, urban environments are great for bees.
They're fantastic, they're absolutely incredible.
There's a huge amount of foraging opportunities for the bees.
A few miles away, as the bee flies,
Warren's next project is not a business but a school.
The students are creating an eco-garden,
and the bees will be the centrepiece.
Tell me what's going on here.
Well, we're planting the potatoes here,
and it needs to be from your wrist up to your elbow, roughly,
so eventually there will be kind of like a hill.
-Like a mound on top of it?
-What are you putting in?
-That's thyme, I think it is.
And have you had a chance to learn about how to look after the bees?
Eh, no, not really much,
but we did a competition for the designing of the hive.
So, you've designed the hives,
but there will be a bit of looking after bees as well?
Yeah, uh-huh, we've not learned anything about that yet,
-but hopefully we will soon.
-You nervous about it?
-Have you been stung before?
-Eh, no, not really!
Maths teacher Colin McIntyre was the one who came up with the idea.
-Put that in.
-Mr McIntyre, leading by example here.
-I try my best, yes.
-Try my best.
-How are you doing? What's this going on here?
This is an Apple Clydeside, so an apple tree.
From just out the Clyde Valley. Trying to keep it local.
Is it a good idea having bees in the school? It was your idea!
It wasn't easy initially.
It's something we looked at. We looked at with the council,
the local authority. And, eventually, we got the permission
to do it, which is great. We're really looking forward to it.
And all the pupils are really excited about the arrival
-of the bees.
-But you're roping in all the departments of the school.
-It's not just beekeeping.
-Yeah, science, home economics,
maths for pattern work, looking at honeycombs
and seeing what patterns there are in the natural world.
Yeah, we're everywhere,
even the likes of the English Department, you can write poems
about bees, the music department can create music about bees.
And maybe young entrepreneurs can take the honey and start a business,
and show them what a business is all about,
from the production to the manufacture.
And are you going to come in over the summer holidays
-to check on them?
-And rope in some students, perhaps.
We'll definitely do that.
-We'll do that, Olivia?
-Might take a bit of persuading.
Bee suits on, and Warren is here with the hives.
They're here, the bees are here! So exciting. Check this out, everybody.
Check this out.
You can see the pollen inside that the bees have collected.
Isn't that amazing? The bees will use that. That's their food.
This is cool, isn't it? This is a good science lesson.
'The bees are pretty active for an hour or so while they reorientate
'themselves before settling down in their new environment.
'Warren will be easing the students in gently
'to their new responsibilities.'
There's lessons ahead with Warren.
And then the bees are all yours. This is so exciting!
It's a three-year period in which we're working with the school.
So we can start training them up so when these guys graduate from
the school, they'll have transferred their knowledge,
so it'll be a continual legacy.
You'll become the teachers of the years below you.
These bees will soon be winging their way across the green spaces
of Glasgow, gathering nectar and making school time a little sweeter.
Well, this sunny weather is just what the bees need to give
them enough energy to explore their new home.
And if you're hoping for sun or rain this week,
you'll want to know what's ahead with the Countryfile forecast.
Today, we're in Lanarkshire, tracking the Clyde Valley
and its river through what was once known
as the fruit basket of Scotland.
Some places have a park. Some places have a community centre.
But this place is so wedded to its tradition of fruit growing
that locals have a community orchard.
Just a couple of years ago,
Kirkfieldbank was completely overgrown.
Local groups rescued the orchard from oblivion and
planted 150 new fruit trees for the whole community to enjoy.
Today, we plant one more.
So, what variety is this, Duncan?
This is a good Scottish variety called James Grieve,
which is a very popular one.
We want to encourage the propagation of traditional varieties
but we're not stuck in the past.
So it's worthwhile us planting some new ones just to see how they take.
You've obviously got to choose quite robust varieties as well,
being in this part of the world.
Well, we have some interesting ones down at the bottom there that
come from Canada and Sweden.
Now, not traditional apple growing areas but you reckon
if they're going to survive there, they can survive in Lanarkshire.
With the newest additions settled in, I'm meeting some folk who
have connections past and present to the Clyde Valley orchards.
They're warming up for their annual festival to celebrate that heritage.
Before the memories fade,
an oral history project has captured forever the voices of
local people and their recollections of this area's fruit growing heyday.
I can remember going to the fruit market when I was maybe nine or 10,
and it was the summer holidays. What an experience that was!
That was the Clyde Valley.
When I was young,
I remember having to drive the van and going in the lorry.
The pits shut down for three weeks when the plums were on
because the miners could make more money
picking plums than they could working in the pits.
# All along the road... #
Those memories were recorded by local musician Billy Stewart,
which, in turn, inspired some new material.
# A ghostly reminder of an industry that's lost
# And a time that will never come again. #
-Billy, good to see you.
-Good to meet you.
So, you've been busy, then, turning all these wonderful stories
Yes, well, the idea came originally from my own family,
who were all growers. And I just felt that...
they were disappearing.
And their history was disappearing with them,
and the whole of the Clyde Valley was changing.
Hopefully, the songs will last, and they will keep the history
of this particular area and this particular part of Scotland going.
Another slice of local history has been captured by Karen McCusker.
She's put together a collection of local dishes which have
graced Clyde Valley dinner tables for centuries.
We've got three different recipes here.
-We've got an apple and tomato soup.
-Apple and tomato soup?
What date of history does this come from, then?
It comes from the 1960s-1970s.
It was submitted by one of our volunteers
from her mother's cookbook, actually.
She actually lived in the Clyde Valley and grew up here.
-So that's a locally...
Oh, I like that.
-It's quite nice, isn't it?
-Yes, I'm surprised by that.
So, we're onto the main course now, which is...?
This is a medieval recipe. It's a fish and apple pie.
-A fish and apple pie?
So, there's apples, there's some dried fruit,
and some fish, some spices.
A little bit sweet and savoury.
It smells a little bit like a mince pie, actually.
-A bit like Christmas mince pie with fish in it.
'First you get the flavour of salmon...
'and then comes the apple.'
Yeah. Yeah, it's all right. There's a lot going on in there.
-And how do you know this existed, then?
-Well, we found it
in a medieval manuscript. So it had to be translated.
So we sat down and I had to translate that.
When you read the medieval recipes,
they're actually just a paragraph, a list of ingredients that says,
"Boil this and then bake it."
There's no real measurements or anything.
So you have to sort of come up with it on your own, really.
This is a weird pie. I mean, how bad was the first attempt?
-It was pretty interesting, that's for sure.
'Karen has collated everything into an online recipe book,
'including her own apple butter squares.
'So, good news, you can have a go at the fish and apple pie yourself.'
That apple and fish pie, though.
I'll never forget that!
'After all that food,
'there's only one apple classic to wash it down with.'
Well, we've had blossom, we've had bees and we've got plenty
more seasonal treats for you next week with our spring special.
John's gathering some wild ingredients
for a seasonal spring beer.
-You're actually the first person to drink this.
-Am I really?
-It's a special moment.
-I hope that's an honour. Let's see.
I'll be in Lincolnshire, looking at the science of spring flowers.
Well, this is just the first stage of getting these beautiful
flowers into your homes.
But to really help these tulips on their way,
it takes some springtime super science.
And I'll be in Cornwall to see
some of the UK's lesser-known spring blooms.
Aha! Look at that! It is a soup of plankton!
Actually can't see my fingers through the other side.
Oh, we've got a jellyfish in here, too!
Well, that's all we've got time for from the beautiful
and sunny Clyde Valley.
We'll see you next week. Bye for now.
The Clyde valley in Lanarkshire was once known as the 'fruit basket of Scotland'. Matt Baker explores the rise and fall of what was once a major force in Scotland's food industry. The orchards are in danger of being lost from the countryside, so locals throughout the valley are bringing them back to life.
Ellie Harrison meets Warren Bader, an urban beekeeper who fills Lanarkshire's scraps of green with beehives, renting them out to local companies and training their staff in beekeeping skills. His pollination plan aims to improve the wellbeing of people as well as bees and is a hit with local businesses from hotels to construction.
Ellie also takes a wild walk along the Falls of Clyde, which has some of the oldest ancient woodland in Scotland. At this time of year the forest floor is a carpet of wildflowers, each one telling a story about the ecology of the landscape. But it is birds she is here to see. The fast-flowing water here is perfect for dippers who, because they depend on water invertebrates like caddis fly and mayfly larvae, are an indicator of clean rivers.
Sean Fletcher is just downstream from Ellie on the River Clyde at New Lanark Mill. The area wasn't just famed for fruit but also for textile production. Sean reveals how the landscape shaped the vision and powered the mills that still stand here centuries later - still creating yarn on the original machinery. We hear how the river powered the people and textile production.
Adam Henson and Charlotte Smith visit a housing estate in Newport Pagnell to meet a young townie who is carving out a successful career in agriculture. They are searching for Countryfile's Young Farmer of the Year - part of the BBC's Food and Farming Awards.
Tom Heap is looking at the growing problem of microplastics in the oceans, but is there an even bigger problem much closer to home?