Montrose Countryfile


Matt Baker and Anita Rani are at the stunning Montrose Basin in Angus in Scotland, and Tom Heap asks what the EU referendum may mean for Britain's fisheries.

Similar Content

Browse content similar to Montrose. Check below for episodes and series from the same categories and more!



This is the Montrose Basin, a huge expanse of sand


and sea just inland from the town of Montrose in Scotland.


and it's a haven for rare wildfowl and all kinds of bird life.


But when the tide's out, it's all too easy to get stuck in the mud.


She is well and truly stuck. That's serious business.


We're coming! Don't worry, we're on our way.


discovering the hidden history of the dunes.


I can't quite believe that you've created all of this from scratch.


And with the EU referendum looming, Tom's looking


at the biggest decision to face our countryside in decades.


I've met up with both the Prime Minister and Boris Johnson


to find out why they think our rural landscape


will be better off either in or out of the European Union.


And Adam's finding out just how smart his working dogs really are.


Straight in, that was very quick. There's a good girl.


This is Montrose, on the east coast of Scotland.


It's where you'll find an extraordinary natural feature.


This is the Montrose Basin, a vast inland disc of mudflats,


flooded twice a day by the North Sea.


the Montrose Basin is a vast inland estuary,


It's internationally important for the sheer numbers


and varieties of birds it shelters and feeds.


but a cataclysmic natural disaster 7,000 years ago


It's incredible to get your head around,


that a chunk of land the size of Iceland


broke off Norway, creating a huge tidal wave,


which then flooded the east of Scotland for 50 miles inland.


As the tsunami ebbed back out to sea,


it left sandbanks which silted up the mouth of the estuary,


Today the Montrose Basin is a place of peace and quiet,


a haven for thousands upon thousands of birds.


The basin is a nature reserve, managed by Scottish Wildlife Trust.


It's overseen by the watchful eye of ranger Anna Cheshire


and a team of wildlife volunteers who, like the birds,


That's quite some view, isn't it? It's pretty special. What a sight.


How many different species of birds do you get here?


but there's over 200 species of bird here at different times.


Before you came, I was observing the tern raft we've got out there.


At the moment, there are about 120 common terns on there,


and that's their breeding site for the summer. Fantastic, isn't it?


Absolutely, yes. It's not a bad place to work, is it? No.


I think I might need to get out there.


The basin is a wonderful natural creation, but Anna and her team


also give Mother Nature a helping hand.


This is our sand martin bank. It's for breeding sand martins.


What do they think it is? Why are they attracted to this wall?


This is similar to what their natural breeding site would be.


Normally, they would go in cliff faces.


So they think that's a cliff face? They do.


Do they not mind that it's a man-made, prefab housing estate?


No, it's very popular. We've got about


30 pairs breeding in there this year.


And you've handily numbered each hole for the sand martin postman.


ANNA LAUGHS Well, that helps us as well.


That means that when we do our surveys,


we can keep track of which holes are being used.


Are some holes more popular than others? Yes.


These ones get more sun, and that might be why. Of course.


Prime real estate over there. Absolutely!


Spring sees the return of thousands of seabirds and wildfowl


It makes the monthly task of counting the birds


especially challenging for Anna and her team.


Can you see all the black and white birds with the orange bills? I can.


Those are oystercatchers. We need to count those.


How do you count thousands upon thousands of birds?


I would normally, at this point, have a rough estimate


in case they get up and go and then you've missed them.


So a rough estimate for me would be 70 to 80.


I think that's experience, because my rough estimate would be way out.


You get used to what size the bird is


and how densely they're packed in, and then you can make a rough guess.


Then you've got that in your mind while you're doing your count.


At the moment, they don't look like they're going anywhere,


Imagine if you got to bird number 5,756 and they all flew away.


Anna's trying something different - with straw.


so we're giving them somewhere to breed.


The idea is that we're making basically a tube of hay


that's encased in wire to hold it all together.


And we're positioning that over water


so that it's a bit more secure from predators.


We roll this along, and then we pin this together.


What did the mallards do without cable ties?


My wellies have definitely got a hole in, but I'm fine.


We're nearly there now. We're OK. We should be fine. All right. OK.


This is not a duck house, this is a duck palace.


Let's hope they appreciate it. Do you reckon they will?


Let's get your holey welly out of this water. Are you managing?


From duck nests on poles to man-made rafts for the terns,


the birds of the Montrose Basin get the very best of care and attention.


And that's thanks in no small part to the efforts of Anna


and her hard-working team of volunteers.


For decades now the British countryside has been shaped


by our membership of the European Union,


but will its future be best served in or out of the EU?


With the Brexit vote imminent, we're looking at the key issues


of the EU referendum debate that will affect Britain's countryside.


Last week, we heard from the Prime Minister,


from the Britain Stronger In Europe campaign...


..and Boris Johnson, from Vote Leave,


about issues relating to farming, trade and migration


This week, we asked both about the environment and fisheries.


The Remain camp claims the EU has helped our countryside


in protecting our precious environment


with legislation on wildlife habitats, clean lakes and rivers


But one environmental issue that prompts particularly fierce debate


Some believe they threaten the environment,


others that they could help farmers cut their chemical usage.


Recently, the UK government has backed GM,


whereas the EU has been much more sceptical.


who's an arable farmer in the Vale of York,


feel that it's the EU's stance that is holding back British farmers


that we really aren't unlocking at all.


And while we're in the EU, I don't think we'll ever get the opportunity


If you could breed a variety of wheat or potato that was resistant


to diseases they get that cost us as farmers lots of money to treat,


increase the yields of the crop at the end of the day,


it all leads to cheaper food production,


I really can't see how that's going to be anything


but a beneficial thing for the industry.


the possibilities that GM could offer.


So, what's the Prime Minister's position?


This Government and previous governments in the UK


have basically been in favour of genetically modified crops,


and yet it doesn't happen because European politicians say no.


I'm not a great enthusiast for everything to do with the EU.


There are drawbacks, problems, difficulties and frustrations.


but GM is quite a good example where we have now negotiated


a situation so countries have more flexibility.


More flexibility to say no, but not yes.


No, we have the flexibility here in Britain now to say yes


I'm interested because if there are advances in science that are safe,


where we could develop grains that might help us


feed the starving in the world, we'd be mad not to look at that,


in protecting the environment of Britain?


If you think of the Habitats Directive and Birds Directive,


there's a lot of power there, isn't there?


I think the truth is this - if you're in the EU or out of the EU,


you would have to have some important directives,


laws to protect habitat, to encourage biodiversity.


And I think you can say, with Europe, there's a mixed scorecard.


Sometimes it feels a bit over-prescriptive


and can be frustrating, but generally speaking,


actually, we have to have rules on habitat


and if you look at species and biodiversity,


often used as overzealous European behaviour


There are cases of enormous amounts of money being spent...


Newt bridges. ..on newt bridges and also,


infrastructure not happening, houses are not being built,


because of something which isn't particularly rare in Britain,


and you just end up with European rules being imposed.


Through my renegotiation we now have, for the first time,


targets to cut unnecessary regulation,


including the stock of regulation in Brussels,


and that can be applied to all sorts of regulation


including the sorts of things you talk about.


But I would argue, whether you're in or out,


you still need habitat and wildlife and biodiversity rules.


Sometimes, they will be frustrating for developers


it's an important thing that we try to leave a country,


where there are species thriving and not degrading.


Looking after our wildlife is one thing,


but looking after our fisheries is, well, a different kettle of fish.


But many who are trying to make a living from our seas


when it comes to our fishing industry and our fish.


Britain had more than 20,000 fishermen.


40 years on, and that number has nearly halved.


In the Cornish coastal town of Looe, Angela Pengelly's family


have been in the fishing business for five generations,


what she believes is Europe failing the industry she loves.


I've seen such a decline. 32 trawlers at one point.


We should be the guardians of our own seas,


not ministers who we do not know, we haven't voted in,


We understand it's an ecological thing,


And so, to survive, to keep our industry going, we've got to be out.


who rely on the industry for their livelihoods,


our waters should be controlled by our Government.


Well, let's look at the Common Fisheries Policy.


Basically, it's been a disaster for fish and for fishermen, hasn't it?


Well, I think if you go back 20 years,


it was not a good policy. It's still not now...


If you take the last five years since I've been Prime Minister,


actually, the value of the British fishing industry


and fish-processing industry has gone up.


The value of the fish that we've been landing, British boats,


the UK fleet, is up 20% over the last five years.


So I think there are big changes that took place


we got rid of the mad discards policy.


It's still not perfect, but again, the single market...


It's about as far from perfect a system you can get.


The fish are still declining, the fishermen are still in trouble...


Actually, if you look at what's happened recently


on the important species for us - things like cod and plaice -


we're actually seeing the quota go up.


But also, here's the point again about the single market.


We land and sell into Europe about ?1 billion worth of fish


That's twice as much as we sell anywhere else in the world.


and again, there's not a country in the world


that has tariff-free access on those sorts of goods.


Even the Norwegians actually pay tariff on their fish.


But the countries that have been able


to protect their fish and fishermen are places like Iceland and Norway,


where it's in their hands. Surely that tells us something?


I think you're seeing now, with this greater regional control


that we have managed to negotiate, you're seeing fish stocks recover.


So if you look at the most recent figures,


we're actually allowing our fishermen now


That's why I say, over the last five years,


the UK-landed fish has actually increased by 20%.


So I think, when we talk about the Common Fisheries Policy,


A lot of it has changed. Is it perfect? No.


Are we better off fighting from within? Yes.


Is this market vital for our farmers and our fishermen? Absolutely, yes.


So, that's what David Cameron, for the Stronger In Europe campaign,


thinks the future holds for Britain's seas and countryside.


on the issues of fisheries and environment,


Boris Johnson believes we would be better off leaving the EU.


MATT: The Montrose Basin is a vast, almost circular inland sea.


And it's this stuff that makes the basin perfect


Back in 1913, the Royal Flying Corps, as the RAF was first known,


chose Montrose to build Britain's first ever military airfield.


The all-important grass landing strip ran along here,


It may not look like much today, but the grass and -


more importantly - the sand that was underneath it was ideal


for the primitive planes that would often come down with a bump.


The planes were built in Hampshire, and took four days to fly here.


Their arrival in Montrose was a sensation for townsfolk,


most of whom had never even SEEN a plane.


and there's an incredible amount of the original airbase left.


still have the frames of World War I hangars,


were the nerve centre of Squadron HQ.


Today, this airbase is a museum run by volunteers, mostly retired.


At the controls is chairman Alan Doe.


Alan, here we are on the first operational airbase in Britain,


if not the world. How did it come to be here?


The land is sandy, it's well-drained.


So you're not going to get bogged down when you land.


There's no cliffs and horrible natural obstacles around,


recreation and so forth. Absolutely ideal.


So No.2 Squadron was established here,


to find out what could be done with aircraft.


in their single-engined aircraft across the Irish Sea,


and they were working out very capably for war,


At the outbreak of war, No.2 Squadron reached for the sky,


with skills they'd learnt here, over Montrose.


From a location perspective, there's real risks here.


if you run into trouble and you've gone that way,


there's not much chance of a safe landing.


No-one's going to come to your aid, because you haven't got a radio.


So you're down there and you hope you can perhaps ditch it


by a fishing boat, if they're out there at the time.


But the one navigational aid was the spire of St Cyrus Church,


So you would take your bearing from that spire,


and then you would arrive over the airfield


Montrose airbase became hugely important for pilot training,


and as more young men were drawn into the war in France,


local women became key players on the base


And in this hangar is something remarkable


This is quite a creation. How are you? Nice to see you.


I can't quite believe you've created all of this from scratch.


It's just absolutely beautiful to look at.


This is a replica de Havilland BE2 -


one of the longest-serving planes of the Great War.


My ground crew today are Brian, Andy and Jules,


volunteers who've built this warbird from scratch -


The ladies have helped stitch all the ribs to the canvas.


and all the feathering has been done as it was in 1914, we believe.


What a team effort. How long have you been on with it?


Listen, lads, the question has to be, which one of you brave souls


is going to take this up into the sky, then?


Well, since you're here, would you like to be our test pilot?


It's just beautiful, even from the side. Look at this...


The team has allowed me to moonlight


Not to worry, try the next one. We'll take that one out.


That's dodgy nails. You did that on purpose, Brian, I know.


Bit stubborn there. It's not easy, is it? My son will be over the moon.


He won't believe his eyes when he sees this.


What are you going to build when it's finished?


Well, I'd like to build a jet aircraft.


It's been a privilege being here with Brian


and his team on the airbase where it all began,


where the first of the few learnt to fly,


NAOMI: Inland from the Montrose Basin,


the landscape begins its sweeping climb


towards the mighty Grampian Mountains.


Nestled in the dramatic folds of rock is the Invermark estate -


but I've come here for a different reason.


Just like the basin, this too is a haven for wildlife.


But the animals of Invermark are very different


I've spent my career documenting wildlife all over the globe.


but it still has some celebrated species,


and this is a great place to see them.


On a good day here you can spot black grouse...


And with the coming of spring to the glen,


this SHOULD be the best time to see them.


But today, the weather is anything but springlike,


so I may have to search to find them.


If anyone knows how to locate these animals in the mist,


it's gamekeeper Andy Malcolm, who now also runs guided tours


to show off the estate's wild inhabitants.


Hello, Andy. Hi, Naomi, very pleased to meet you.


Very nice to meet you, too. Thanks for inviting me to see this place.


What is it about this area that is so good for wildlife?


It's a wonderful, big expanse of really pristine ground,


is show people some of the hidden corners of some of the things


What really gives me a buzz is when you can take people


how to work out where they might find these things for themselves.


What do you think we might see today?


Shall we get going? Definitely. Great.


We're heading deep into the glen in search of the local fauna,


to think Andy has got superhuman eyesight.


Ooh! I see a little bird fluttering about in the bracken down there.


I think you've just missed the action. Oh, sorry.


That could be the deer up there. Where am I looking?


'He is eagle-eyed. I need to raise my game.#


I think you are literally one of the people


who can read the bottom line of the optician's chart.


much of the land management here is geared towards this small bird.


That is basically the bread and butter of the whole estate.


That's what keeps everything running. And why is that?


It's a very valuable bird in that people pay


a lot of money to come and shoot grouse.


Every year we do if you like a stocktake,


and when we're sure we've got a sustainable surplus,


And normally we're only shooting for four or five weeks,


and then that's us finished for another year.


And the money we bring in in that short period


is what keeps the estate running for the rest of the year.


They are so well camouflaged, aren't they? They have to be.


They've got a lot of different predators out looking for them.


Back on the road, and Andy's other senses are coming into play.


So we'll stop here and we'll just have a listen.


BIRDS CHIRP Oystercatcher down there.




That's a thrush singing behind us here.


The weather is really turning against us.


So Andy heads for a spot where he reckons some of the wildlife


Right, this is a really good spot to have a little nose around.


So we're going to get out and have a walk and see what we can see. OK.


We brave the elements and continue on foot.


I'm really starting to see what makes Andy tick.


How long have you been looking after this landscape?


Er, I've been here for over 25 years.


So I know the ground reasonably well by now.


You're obviously extraordinarily passionate


Erm, I've always been interested in the countryside.


And being in this job, you feel a responsibility for them.


And yes, we are looking after our grouse and our deer herd,


but the spin-off is that so many other species benefit,


and it gives you a real buzz when you see animals


and birds flourishing - often, the animals and birds


that are struggling in other places -


and when they're flourishing on your patch,


I'm beginning to give up hope of seeing any more wildlife.


Hare! There, hooray! Mountain hare. Just, yeah...


Normally, they're an animal that you will see


but there's something about this glen that they like.


They are an animal that for a while -


they really weren't doing so well here


and the numbers dropped way, way down.


But the numbers really seem to have come up again... Good.

:28:00.:28:04. the point that I can see hundreds in a day.


we can't see more than a few metres


so I don't think we're going to be seeing much else today.


But it has been a real privilege to explore this stunning landscape


and to find out a bit more about the animals that call it home.


But time for a cup of tea? Oh, yes. Oh, yes.


TOM: Earlier, we heard from David Cameron for the Stronger In campaign


on why he believes our countryside would be better off IN the EU.


I'm back on Boris Johnson's family farm in Exmoor


to find out how the Vote Leave campaign


see the future of our environment and the UK's fisheries post-Brexit.


When it comes to our environment, the Remain camp claim


the European Union has been key in passing legislation that has


helped protect and clean up the countryside around us.


In fact, Boris' own father, Stanley Johnson,


was instrumental in the 1992 EU Habitats Directive which protects


many wild species, from the humble dormouse to the natterjack toad.


Here in Cumbria, Alistair Maltby from the Rivers Trust has


concerns about what leaving the EU might mean for our environment.


My fear, if we were to leave the EU, is that we might lose


some of the protection and some of the aspirations -


our future aspirations we have for how we want our rivers to be.


EU legislation has led to some of the greatest improvements


in water quality and river health that we have seen in a generation.


So, if the EU does so much to safeguard our environment,


The EU has been a champion and protector of the natural


environment of Britain, and if we left, surely that is in peril.


I certainly think that the agreements that have been


reached at a European level have been valuable for the environment.


But the question that you need to ask yourself, Tom...


Who wrote them? Your dad wrote a lot of them! A great man.


Stanley Johnson was an architect of EU environmental protection,


you should be proud of it. I am, I am.


But the question you need to ask yourself is,


do you need the full apparatus of the European Court of Justice


and thousands of regulations coming through,


imposed in this top-down one-size-fits-all way,


which cannot be deviated from or dissented from in any way?


I think that we're... We love our countryside,


we love the farming industry in Britain,


it's part of our souls, it's part of our character,


we are going to want to protect our countryside.


I think, by the Attlee government, from memory.


This idea of protecting rural Britain is very deep


and very dear to us. So that's going to continue.


But you know a lot of people in this country care passionately


about the natural environment, birds, wildlife... Yeah.


..and they believe the EU has done a lot to protect what they care about.


there will be the same level of protection?


That's very important, because I think people do passionately


care about it and they do see that the EU has done a lot of good.


But you could do so much of that protection through


all sorts of intergovernmental arrangements - which,


by the way, non-EU countries in this area already sign up to.


So, we'd be in the same position as them, signing up to that level


of protection and perhaps even going further where it was necessary.


An example of an environmental issue, if you like, where the


EU differs from Britain just taking GM crops - if we voted to leave,


would we be more likely to see GM crops in our fields?


Well, you know, I'm a technological optimist, I am pro


where possible, but it would be a matter for the government


to decide, but at least we would have that freedom.


So it seems both Boris Johnson and David Cameron are pro-GM -


but where they differ is on how the decisions around it are made.


many believe membership of the EU has destroyed the industry -


with its troubled history of sharing our waters, arguments


over quotas, and throwing perfectly good fish back into the sea.


At Europe's largest fish market, at Peterhead in Aberdeenshire,


you'd be hard pressed to find anyone wanting to stay in Europe.


the Chief Executive of the Scottish Fishermen's Federation, has concerns


about what Brexit might mean for the industry, so he remains undecided.


It seems self-evident that recovery of sovereignty and jurisdiction


over some of the best fishing grounds in the world


would be a good thing, so it looks like a no-brainer.


However, what would the UK do with that sovereignty and jurisdiction?


when it comes to arguments about resetting everything


with our relationship with Europe, and we would be fearful


that in a reset, fishing would be used as a bargaining tool.


So, how would the fishing industry be viewed by a post-Brexit


government, when it came to renegotiating with Europe?


It's difficult to paint the EU as a great success on fisheries.


I mean, you know, we've got half as many people


involved in fishing now as there were when we joined, possibly fewer.


And that would be a great thing, take back control of our fish.


"but at least fisheries is a powerful lobby in Europe, whereas


"it's not in Britain, and if we left the EU, the fisheries would


"end up having an even smaller voice in government than they do now."


Well, I don't agree with that at all.


I've just literally come from Cornwall where, as I say,


You know, there's a strong, strong constituency.


Look at what's happened to our coastal towns.


They are areas, in many cases, where you've seen too much...


Bringing back the fishing industry in those areas would be fantastic.


But in the last few years, we've begun to turn it around -


some stocks are improving, there's been some


recovery in the levels of the monetary value coming from fishing.


We just abandon the Common Fisheries Policy as it gets it right?


You know, my view is that I'm not hostile to our friends


I just think we can do it just as well ourselves,


and if we managed our waters, some of the rules -


fish to manage the quotas - I mean, come on, that's got to be crazy.


There's got to be a better way of doing it.


So, now we've heard from both sides of the debate


This referendum will be keenly felt across our countryside, and is


arguably the biggest decision that voters have had to make for decades.


Let's go on having a living, working countryside.


Being inside the EU helps with that, and so therefore if we love


the countryside and we want farmers to succeed, let's stay in.


the EU, there is absolutely no reason


why our countryside in Britain should not be as beautiful,


if not more beautiful and wonderful, than ever before.


Whichever way the UK votes on June the 23rd, change to our countryside


will be inevitable, but how that change is shaped


ANITA: We're a nation of dog lovers, but for Adam, they're more than


just a pet - they're part of his working team, too.


It takes animals with intelligence to work closely with us,


but how can we gauge how smart they really are?


One of the things that I love about having a flock of sheep


And as far as the sheep are concerned,


the dog relates way back to the wolf and is their predator.


And as a shepherd, the great skill is understanding the sheep and then


positioning the dog in the right place to keep the flock moving.


HE WHISTLES Peg here, I would say,


is probably one of the most intelligent dogs I've ever had.


And that's absolutely essential with a working dog.


How we measure how clever a dog is can be difficult.


As a farmer, it's important that I understand my animals,


so when I discovered dogs' IQ can be tested, I had to find out more.


Dr Rosalind Arden is an expert in human intelligence.


'But her latest research involves devising an IQ test


they're not stressed by working with us, they like it.


And they're tractable, they're easy to work with,


they're fun, they like doing the tests, and that's really important.


We were just trying to see whether, as with people,


a dog that's good at one test tends to be reasonably good at another,


even if it's a different kind of test.


It would also be helpful to know, from when a dog is young,


whether it's likely to be more trainable.


I've got three dogs - shall we go and put them through their paces?


So we've got Peg here, who's an ex-trialling dog.


And then Millie, who's also a working sheepdog.


But she's just from basic working stock. Sweet little natured dog.


And then Boo, who's a Hungarian Wirehaired Vizsla,


who's a house dog, really. Bit of a bumbling buffoon,


but it'll be interesting to see how bright she is. Yes.


Shall we try Peg first? Sure. Hi, Boo.


We're putting the dogs through a series of five tests.


Based on how well each of the dogs does,


Rosalind will calculate a score at the end.


We've set up this little experiment here where the dog is going to see


some food on the other side of a barrier,


and we're going to see how long it takes Peg to figure out she


has to go around the barrier and not under it to get to the food reward.


She'll probably just run off and try round up some sheep. OK!


'First up is Peg. I've got high hopes for her.'


So she's a bit baffled by the netting. She is.


It looks really like a simple test to us, but dogs aren't people.


She's gone round it now. There you are. Smart sheepdog.


'But how will she compare against her sheepdog rival, Millie?'


Oh, it was quicker, wasn't it? She was very quick, you're right.


She's also very greedy. I know she loves her food.


There she goes, she's got it. That was quick, too, wasn't it? Yes.


So Peg, who I thought was going to be the brightest,


is actually losing on this task. She's really lagging.


I mean, my guess is that Peg maybe is very vigilant


in looking around her to see what's going on -


it could be that in this slightly less scientific farm setting


"let me check around before I actually go straight for the food."


That's why we need to do lots of different tests.


'but we've added two more barriers to make it slightly harder.


'achieved the task in just 12 seconds.


'Boo, however, started to show her true colours...'


Pretty quick on the stick. THEY LAUGH


Rosalind would repeat these tests to get a more scientific result.


But for our demonstration, we move onto the next task.


So what's this about with the two bowls?


We've got two bowls, both with food in,


and we're going to see if Peg goes to the bowl that you point out.


whether or not she picks up on a human-delivered social cue.


You're not allowed that one, I didn't point at that one.


'Millie was up next, but got slightly confused by this test.'


Naughty dog. HE LAUGHS


'Boo, however, had no problem following the human command.'


Straight in, that was very quick. There's a good girl.


if the dogs can differentiate between quantities.


Will they go for the plate with the most food on it?


So she went straight for the big one. More is better. Very clever.


'but for a dog that sees the world differently, this can be very hard.


'Millie just goes straight in for the small portion.'


'Boo, however, is not going to miss out on the opportunity to eat more.'


'before Rosalind can come up with a meaningful score.'


Well, this looks a lot more elaborate, Rosalind. It is.


The dog has to get the food from outside,


so although, you know, for us, it looks simple,


it's not so simple for the dog because she has to realise


she has to go backwards and come around to get the food.


Shall we see how she does? Yeah. Peg...


Oh, she mastered that really quickly.


because it's quite a thing to think, "Oh, I've got to go backwards


"and then around," so that was not a trivial task for a dog.


I'll get Millie. All right, see how SHE does.


She was really good at that, wasn't she? Very good for Millie.


'Millie pulls back some points on the last test.


She was a little bit confused to start off with, wasn't she?


She did better than I thought she would do,


but she got the hang of it. So where are we with the scores?


Well, Peg did best of all with nine points.


Millie did middle with seven, and Boo was just behind with six.


Well, one thing is, it shows there's variety, that dogs differ


from each other in their mental abilities, as we thought they did.


And it showed that when we did a bunch of different tests,


we found that Peg really sort of came out in front.


So although Boo was last, she hasn't got a terribly low IQ, has she?


No, she hasn't. And IQ is just one thing,


and we love our dogs for lots of different reasons, right?


I've discovered how my dogs' skills at different tasks can really vary.


The more we can understand a man's best friend,


the better we can work together in the future.


For information on this dog IQ test, please visit our website.


a vast tidal estuary that drains twice a day to reveal huge mudflats.


It's a haven for sailors, fishermen and bird-watchers.


But at low tide, the mud is 40 feet deep and it can be fatal.


Over the years, many visitors have come unstuck - or rather, STUCK.


And so, Her Majesty's Coastguard has stepped in.


It might seem like a bit of harmless, squelchy mud


but, believe me, that is treacherous.


But the team here in Montrose have come up with a unique way


of rescuing people who get stuck in it.


The Montrose Coastguard, led by Ross Greenhill, is one of 50


specialist coastguard mud-rescue teams based around the UK coastline.


Hello, Ross. Hi, Anita, how are you doing? I'm very well.


Lovely to see you. Lovely to see you.


Now, the basin, to me, looks absolutely picturesque


and beautiful. Just how dangerous is it?


It's much more dangerous than it looks.


We often think of people getting stuck in mud up to their waists,


up to their chest. You don't need to go that far.


Literally just above your ankles and you won't be able to move an inch.


To enable the rescue teams to move freely without sinking,


they use special mud shoes designed to mimic the feet of wading birds.


Basically, it spreads out as you put the foot down.


And as you lift your foot up, it comes back in again


and reduces the vacuum so that you can pop your foot out.


Must be a really strange experience walking on the mud in these.


Today, the team is staging an emergency exercise


that will test these mud shoes to the limit.


has volunteered to become stuck in the mud.


The more she struggles, the deeper she sinks.


I'm all right, I am properly stuck, though...


And the tide will soon be racing back in.


This exercise replicates the very real dangers of the basin.


And it's not even that far out - look how deep she is.


She is well and truly stuck. That's serious business.


Yeah, it doesn't take very much at all. You all right, Hayley?


She says she's all right. That's a lie.


We're coming, don't worry, we're on our way.


Heels in first, that'll spread the weight out.


'And these special shoes really do stop you sinking.


'I wonder if this is how a duck feels.'


Unfortunately, the smell will only get worse as we go.


'The specialist sleds we're pulling are multipurpose.


'They carry equipment, they're floating work stations,


'and they're also stretchers to carry casualties back to dry land.'


It's unlike anything I've ever experienced.


This is horrendous. What is this stuff?


And then underneath that level, it's sort of like clay.


'There's only so much you can do with your bare hands,


'so an air lance is used to blast compressed air into the mud.'


'And that's the sound of the compressed air


'breaking the grip of the mud around Hayley's leg.'


'Even with Hayley free, the mud can still kill.


'Mud pressure squeezes blood out of the legs, which can cause


'life-threatening medical conditions,


'so it's vital the casualty is kept horizontal to avoid this.'


I know that was a practice, but did you feel quite terrified out there?


I did feel quite frightened at one point.


The more I was wriggling, the more I was sinking.


And only we will know the stench. Absolutely. It's disgusting.


Absolutely disgusting. I think we both need a shower. Well done.


Well done. Well done, everybody. Thank you. Thanks, guys.


I am amazed at how quickly Hayley got stuck in that mud.


She sunk. And it's terrifying, it's sticky, it's disgusting,


it stinks, but I am so impressed with the coastguard volunteers.


The way they got out there, how professional they are


and how quickly they managed to get her out of there. I'm amazed.


If you've been inspired by the mud-rescue volunteers,


then go to the BBC Do Something Great website, do the quiz


and you'll get personalised suggestions of volunteering


Let's hope you get the weather for it. Here's the forecast.


Hello. There is some more warm and rather humid weather to come this


week, but first let's take a moment to look back at today. The


temperature at Porthmadog in West Wales made 27.8 Celsius, the highest


the UK has seen so far this year. The verdict on me from the Met


Office, April was cold, but me was warm, and we got to 27.7 in northern


Scotland, and me was slightly drier than average. It is the end of the


three months which for statistical purposes which make up


meteorological spring. This is rainfall, much of England wetter


than normal, much of the north and west at or below average rainfall,


and with the heat this week, that may explain why the gardens are


looking a little drive. And there is not a huge amount of rain in the


forecast this week. Your eyes will be drawn to a low pressure in the


Atlantic, but that is staying here for now. It can't stay there


forever, we will get to that in a moment. Starting with tomorrow,


misty low cloud early on the east coast, a few showers heading in


through the afternoon. A greater chance of catching a shower tomorrow


compared with today. Very warm sunshine around for many of us, but


this sunshine influenced by the breeze off the sea. If you get to


see some sunshine, it will be pleasant. On Tuesday, a weather


disturbance is working East across the UK, so it is on Tuesday there is


the greatest chance of catching a thundery downpour. Not everybody


will catch one, and there are still warm spells and sunshine. By


Wednesday, high-pressure starting to come back in, diminishing the shower


potential. There could still be the odd heavy downpour on Wednesday,


particularly across western parts. The arrows indicate the breeze off


the sea, and still the range of temperatures. By Thursday,


high-pressure is right across us, the brightest day of the week. You


can see the flow of air around that area of high pressure. And now we


get to Friday, and we are beginning to look to the West. That low


pressure in the Atlantic starting to push the whether our way. Whenever


you break down from high pressure to low pressure, there is a lot of


uncertainty as to when that will happen, so Friday may not look like


this. These are the main headlines for this week, though. Warm and


humid with the exception of the cooler North Sea coasts. A few


showers or thunderstorms in the first half of the week. Pollen looks


likely to be high this week, and the grass pollen is starting to ramp up.


Now I want to show you the jet stream, then next weekend on the


following week, more active, stronger across the Atlantic. This


will take those areas of low pressure and push them across the


UK. Wetter, rain to the garden, windy and a little cooler,


MATT: We're exploring the stunning Montrose Basin.


It's not just the aircraft of the local historic airbase


that benefited from a soft, sandy landing.


It also takes the sting out of rugby, too.


Just behind Montrose Beach and dunes is the town's rugby club.


And they've come up with an ingenious way of getting


Britain's newest sport has arrived in Montrose.


It's a sport that's aimed at everybody, young and old,


And I'm just enjoying watching Scotland's first team.


That's why they're playing against themselves.


Walking rugby - the clue's in the name.


It has no running, and there's no tackling. You can only intercept.


Helping spread the word about walking rugby is Willie Officer,


Willie's also a farmer, with 1,000 acres of potatoes


and flower bulbs, six miles north of Montrose.


Walking rugby helps him keep fit for the farm.


Tell you what, you've got good numbers here, haven't you?


It's a Friday afternoon but people are having a good day,


Some grandparents here, some right down to some of the younger kids.


So how do you win as a team, what's the idea of the game?


At the end of the day, we just need to get the ball over the line.


Just exactly the same as the full game.


It's very difficult, actually, to try and control,


Because that's your natural instinct, to want to run


when you've got the ball. Right, let's do this.


OK, so we're going to play on the non-bib team. OK. Hello, everybody.


'Well, a very, very warm welcome to Montrose Park


'Newest signing Matt Baker is getting his first taste


'They know the rules - hold on to the ball for no more than three


'seconds and absolutely no running. Good self-discipline.'


'Close teamwork - that's the key to getting that ball over the line.'


'Oh, what about that, he's been sin-binned! Baker's gone.'


Do you know what? It's such good fun, there's a wonderful sense


of community here which, at the heart, that's exactly what rugby is.


And there's camaraderie there, and you don't half have a good workout.


'Well, what about this for a shock move?


'Nobody expected the Montrose Bibs to introduce their latest signing.


Come on, how hard can this be? Walking rugby...


'Baker's really going to have to up his game here.'


Right, what do I do? Head down and pace. Ready?


I don't know what he did, but it was cheating. That's how you do it.


Look at this! Pass it, pass it... Oh, this is too tempting.


Excuse me, Morgan, I'm going in. Wahey!


Next week, we're going to be in Hampshire,


where I'm following in the footsteps of some old smugglers.


And I'll be celebrating British Flowers Week,


hopefully on my own two feet. This is a foul, Matt Baker!


I've got the ball! See you next week! See you!


Now, there's no Countryfile next Sunday.


Instead, we're on at 7:30 on Wednesday. That's the 15th of June.


Matt Baker and Anita Rani are at the stunning Montrose Basin in Angus in Scotland. The basin is a natural, almost circular, inland sea that is an internationally important site for wild fowl. Anita helps ranger Anna Cheshier conduct one of the regular bird counts and gets stuck in helping make special nesting tubes for the basin's ducks. She also discovers how treacherous the mud flats can be as she ventures out with one of only three specialist mud rescue teams in the whole of Scotland.

Matt, meanwhile, finds out that the soft sands made the area the perfect place for the UK's first military airbase. Matt sees remnants of the runway next to the dunes and meets the enthusiasts building a replica of a one of the First World War's most famous planes, the de Havilland BE2. He also meets a farmer-turned-rugby coach to play rugby with a difference: no running! Walking rugby is one of the fastest growing sports in the country, great for people of all ages and especially for those recovering from injuries.

Just a few miles from the basin, Naomi Wilkinson is taking a trip up the stunning Glenesk, looking for wildlife with gamekeeper Andy Malcolm. And as spring returns to the slopes of this beautiful glen, there's all manner of wildlife awakening after the winter slumber. If she's in luck that could mean golden eagles! Also in this programme, Adam calls in a dog psychologist to find out which of his working dogs, Boo or Peg, is the smartest.

Tom Heap investigates what the EU referendum could mean for our countryside. He grills the prime minister and Boris Johnson on how they think it will affect the environment and our fisheries.

Download Subtitles