Shetland Countryfile


Shetland

Similar Content

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

Transcript


LineFromTo

The Shetland Islands - Scotland's most northerly outpost.

0:00:260:00:31

Here, the land rises from the icy waters of the North Sea to reveal

0:00:310:00:35

naked glens, sky-blue lochs, sloping hills

0:00:350:00:40

and the odd sheep or two.

0:00:400:00:42

One of a hundred or so islands scattered around this edge of Britain

0:00:450:00:48

is Fetlar. It's an island that is abundant with wildlife,

0:00:480:00:53

so I can't wait to get over there.

0:00:530:00:56

At this time of year, it hosts a particularly special bird -

0:00:560:00:59

the red-necked phalarope.

0:00:590:01:01

It's one of our rarest and most elusive, so with the help

0:01:010:01:05

of some RSPB trackers, I'm hoping to catch my very first glimpse of one.

0:01:050:01:11

Over on the main island, Adam is battling with the elements.

0:01:110:01:15

Farming back home in the Cotswolds is very different to

0:01:150:01:18

what it is here in Shetland.

0:01:180:01:20

The days during the summer are very long and in the winter,

0:01:200:01:23

they're incredibly short.

0:01:230:01:25

I'll be meeting up with both the farmers and the animals to see

0:01:250:01:28

how they cope with these incredible conditions here.

0:01:280:01:32

While we're exploring the Shetland Islands, Tom is

0:01:320:01:35

back on the British mainland.

0:01:350:01:37

Thoughts of miserable animals reared in poor conditions are enough

0:01:370:01:41

to put any of us off our food.

0:01:410:01:44

Though there have been considerable advances in animal welfare

0:01:440:01:47

in recent years,

0:01:470:01:48

can we be sure that our farm animals are not just healthy, but happy?

0:01:480:01:54

I'll be investigating.

0:01:540:01:56

More than 1,500 miles of rugged coastline.

0:02:100:02:14

Wondrous wildlife.

0:02:160:02:18

This is Shetland.

0:02:200:02:22

A sub-Arctic archipelago of Scotland

0:02:250:02:27

and the UK's most northern habitation.

0:02:270:02:29

Its largest island is known simply as Mainland,

0:02:320:02:35

with its capital Lerwick at the heart.

0:02:350:02:39

Around 22,000 people live on this remote outpost,

0:02:390:02:44

scattered some 100 miles off the north coast of Scotland

0:02:440:02:47

and at this time of year, the daylight is almost endless.

0:02:470:02:50

The islands' position in the north Atlantic mean

0:02:520:02:55

they play host to more than one million breeding birds every year.

0:02:550:02:59

But it's not just birds which make the most of this rocky outcrop.

0:03:010:03:05

I'm heading to the island of Fetlar,

0:03:050:03:06

known locally as "the Garden of Shetland",

0:03:060:03:09

in the hope of spotting some of its extra-special residents.

0:03:090:03:13

Its name is said to originate from the Viking term meaning "fat land",

0:03:190:03:23

because of its rich, fertile soils,

0:03:230:03:25

and you can see this lush meadow

0:03:250:03:27

compares very differently to the peatlands elsewhere in Shetland.

0:03:270:03:32

It's the greenest of all the islands and with only 81 residents,

0:03:350:03:39

local lad and naturalist Brydon Thomason has been

0:03:390:03:42

enchanted by the wildlife here since he was a toddler.

0:03:420:03:46

Fingers crossed, today he's going to show me

0:03:470:03:49

one of Shetland's most famous residents - the European otter.

0:03:490:03:53

-How are you doing?

-Very well.

0:03:540:03:56

-Nice to meet you.

-You too. So, any sign?

0:03:560:03:59

I have actually just spotted one, just up ahead of us.

0:04:000:04:03

It's quite a way off, foraging, at the moment.

0:04:030:04:06

As we move towards it,

0:04:060:04:07

we'll try and keep our voices down.

0:04:070:04:09

They're very sensitive to any noise,

0:04:090:04:11

or especially scent. They're very scent-sensitive.

0:04:110:04:14

If we just crouch down here, Ellie, for a minute.

0:04:140:04:16

We'll have a little scan again.

0:04:180:04:21

OK, so there - it's actually up again now, Ellie.

0:04:210:04:24

If you just look in line with that far headland, come straight down...

0:04:240:04:28

-Can you see it?

-Oh, yes!

-About 30,

0:04:280:04:30

-40 yards offshore.

-Fantastic.

0:04:300:04:32

It's just foraging. We refer to this

0:04:320:04:34

as patch fishing, I guess.

0:04:340:04:36

They've got favourite little areas of seabed -

0:04:370:04:39

it could be a reef or a kelp forest that they will forage on every day.

0:04:390:04:45

They know the shoreline intimately.

0:04:450:04:47

It's exciting for me, because otters

0:04:470:04:49

down south are only out at night.

0:04:490:04:51

That's one of the big attractions for the people watching otters

0:04:510:04:54

in Shetland - they do tend to be diurnal,

0:04:540:04:57

they forage into the daylight hours.

0:04:570:05:00

And so what is it about Shetland that is ideal for otters

0:05:000:05:03

and for wildlife in general?

0:05:030:05:05

I suppose looking at today as a perfect example,

0:05:050:05:07

the shorelines, the lack of pollution,

0:05:070:05:10

the lack of disturbance.

0:05:100:05:12

I've seen a glimpse of an otter,

0:05:120:05:14

but I know you've got some amazing shots on your laptop.

0:05:140:05:16

Yes, we can have a little look.

0:05:160:05:18

'Brydon doesn't just love tracking otters,

0:05:190:05:22

'he also loves photographing them.'

0:05:220:05:24

This is footage that you picked up from a camera trap?

0:05:370:05:39

Yes, the camera is hidden amongst the boulders here.

0:05:390:05:42

This is an area we'd call a lie up here,

0:05:420:05:45

where otters come up and spray

0:05:450:05:47

and they groom. You can see them writhing around on the grass there.

0:05:470:05:51

-Ah, yes.

-They're actually using scent glands as well

0:05:510:05:54

to mark the territory. This is a dog, you can see him.

0:05:540:05:57

Ah, some grooming there!

0:05:570:05:59

Dogs are very solitary. They spend

0:05:590:06:01

the days just on their lonesome.

0:06:010:06:03

Rarely do they interact with the families, really.

0:06:030:06:05

You can see him spraying

0:06:050:06:07

on the rocks before he goes.

0:06:070:06:09

Then he bumbles off down and

0:06:090:06:11

carries out his daily business.

0:06:110:06:12

'I just caught my first glimpse of a Fetlar otter.

0:06:150:06:18

'It seems luck is on my side.

0:06:180:06:20

'And now, I'm hoping to see some of the island's

0:06:230:06:25

'other special residents.'

0:06:250:06:27

I haven't made things terribly easy for myself,

0:06:280:06:31

because what I'm looking for is one of the UK's rarest birds.

0:06:310:06:37

'But I'm not on my own - Malcie Smith from the RSPB is going

0:06:370:06:41

'to be my guide.'

0:06:410:06:43

-How are you doing, Malcie?

-Hi, Ellie.

-Good to meet you.

-How are you?

0:06:430:06:46

Good! Tell me, what's this target species we're looking for?

0:06:460:06:49

-We're going to see one of the little jewels of Fetlar today.

-Oh, yes?

0:06:490:06:53

-Get yourself armed.

-Good, good.

0:06:530:06:56

Let's go and see if we can see a red-necked phalarope.

0:06:570:07:00

-What a beauty!

-Yes. Come on, Jake.

0:07:000:07:02

Red-necked phalaropes are so scarce in the UK

0:07:060:07:08

that they're protected by law, so we are only

0:07:080:07:11

able to visit a breeding site of these little waders

0:07:110:07:14

accompanied by Malcie.

0:07:140:07:16

He's got a special licence to be here.

0:07:160:07:19

So how rare are they?

0:07:190:07:22

These are Arctic birds, but they're breeding in the UK.

0:07:220:07:26

They're very much at the southern edge of their range here.

0:07:260:07:29

They're very rare here. Most years there's maybe 20, 30 pairs.

0:07:290:07:33

Mostly in Shetland, mostly here in Fetlar.

0:07:330:07:37

The main reason for this is the geology here.

0:07:370:07:41

Most of Fetlar is built on serpentine rock,

0:07:410:07:43

which used to be the ocean floor, so the soil is non-acidic.

0:07:430:07:46

Vibrant heathland flourishes in these conditions, which insects and

0:07:490:07:53

invertebrates love and this is what the phalaropes come to feast on.

0:07:530:07:57

I just hope we're going to be lucky enough to see one...

0:07:580:08:01

What we're going to have a look at just now is a phalarope nest...

0:08:030:08:07

..which has been incubated by the male,

0:08:090:08:12

because they have this really weird reverse sexual role thing.

0:08:120:08:17

The females are more attractive looking, they're more colourful,

0:08:170:08:20

bigger and aggressive. The males are just puny little dull guys.

0:08:200:08:25

He does all the incubating.

0:08:250:08:26

He doesn't feed them - as soon as they hatch out,

0:08:260:08:28

within about a day, they're out feeding for themselves.

0:08:280:08:32

OK, so here's his nest, here.

0:08:330:08:35

There's nothing really there, is there?

0:08:350:08:37

There's nothing there, no. The chicks have hatched out now.

0:08:370:08:41

And in the meantime, the female's gone off and she will breed

0:08:410:08:44

-and lay again this season?

-She'll certainly try.

0:08:440:08:47

When the male was sitting,

0:08:470:08:49

incubating these eggs that have now hatched, he's got a dilemma.

0:08:490:08:52

He's got to keep these eggs warm,

0:08:520:08:54

but he's got to fill his belly as well.

0:08:540:08:56

He has to go off on a foraging trip. All the time he's being chased

0:08:560:08:59

and harassed by horny females!

0:08:590:09:01

He's having to beat them off with a stick.

0:09:020:09:06

They are very game girls!

0:09:060:09:07

SHE LAUGHS

0:09:070:09:10

And then, just when I thought I wasn't going to see one,

0:09:110:09:14

she made her glorious entrance.

0:09:140:09:16

-So you'll notice how brightly-marked she is.

-Yes.

0:09:180:09:22

-A lovely, rich red collar.

-That very straight bill she's got.

0:09:220:09:27

Yes, really fine bill for feeding on insects.

0:09:270:09:30

Look how unbothered she is by us - she's just here.

0:09:300:09:33

-Oh, she's not bothered by us.

-How about that for timing?

0:09:330:09:36

Nine out of ten of the UK's small population of red-necked phalaropes

0:09:370:09:41

can be found on Fetlar each summer.

0:09:410:09:44

The wildlife here is in great shape.

0:09:440:09:47

Now, the welfare of our livestock is one of our priorities,

0:09:500:09:53

along with price and quality, when choosing meat at the supermarket.

0:09:530:09:57

But is there a way to truly tell if our farm animals are healthy

0:09:570:10:01

and happy?

0:10:010:10:03

Tom's been finding out.

0:10:030:10:05

When it comes to what we eat, most of us say

0:10:150:10:17

the well-being of animals is important.

0:10:170:10:20

In a survey for Countryfile last year,

0:10:200:10:22

90% of you said welfare was a key issue when buying food.

0:10:220:10:27

Everyone, it seems, wants a slice of the good life.

0:10:270:10:31

But there's still a lot of confusion about the various schemes

0:10:310:10:34

that promote good standards.

0:10:340:10:36

For some, the standards set by British law are enough.

0:10:360:10:40

Others want higher welfare guarantees,

0:10:400:10:43

from schemes like Freedom Foods or the Red Tractor.

0:10:430:10:46

Hello, you.

0:10:460:10:49

When we looked at this issue on Countryfile last year,

0:10:490:10:52

there seemed to be significant differences between the schemes -

0:10:520:10:55

on paper, at least.

0:10:550:10:56

So, when it comes to an average chicken used for meat,

0:10:560:10:59

the Red Tractor label specifies a maximum of 19 per square metre.

0:10:590:11:04

For the Freedom Food scheme, it's 15.

0:11:040:11:06

In principle, it sounds better,

0:11:080:11:10

but does it mean the animals are happier?

0:11:100:11:13

Here in Hertfordshire, Jean-Paul Michalski produces eggs under

0:11:130:11:17

the RSPCA Freedom Food label.

0:11:170:11:20

Why did you decide to go for Freedom Foods?

0:11:200:11:22

RSPCA Freedom Foods is an organisation that is

0:11:220:11:25

synonymous with high levels of bird welfare.

0:11:250:11:27

But what do you think it actually means for the chicken itself?

0:11:270:11:31

What makes a happy chicken?

0:11:310:11:32

For me, a happy chicken is the way I look after my birds.

0:11:320:11:36

It's about being a stockman. It's about the daily routine.

0:11:360:11:40

When I'm walking the birds, I'm looking at them,

0:11:400:11:43

making sure they're healthy, making sure that I feel they're happy.

0:11:430:11:47

Why is it important to you to farm like this?

0:11:470:11:50

I'm a stock person at heart. I look after chickens and that is what I do.

0:11:500:11:55

I like to do that to the best of my ability.

0:11:550:11:58

Obviously, the things I can do to make the life of these hens better,

0:11:580:12:02

and obviously, for them to produce more for me by doing so, is fantastic

0:12:020:12:07

and that's why all the effort and all the work that I do goes

0:12:070:12:11

towards making sure that these hens are as happy as they possibly can be.

0:12:110:12:15

For Jean-Paul, good welfare isn't just about statistics.

0:12:150:12:18

It's about the personal care of his animals.

0:12:180:12:21

And that is a philosophy now central to the Freedom Food label.

0:12:210:12:26

Over the past two years,

0:12:260:12:27

it's raised the welfare bar even higher, with a new scheme designed

0:12:270:12:31

to measure animals' health and happiness on a more personal level.

0:12:310:12:35

Andrea Stanley is a trained assessor for Freedom Foods.

0:12:360:12:39

OK, so this is my crib sheet, but we're basically measuring

0:12:410:12:45

feather loss, so we're looking at the backs, heads and necks.

0:12:450:12:48

We're also making sure they're not too dirty,

0:12:480:12:51

so we're measuring dirtiness.

0:12:510:12:52

I like this one - "antagonistic behaviour".

0:12:520:12:55

That means chickens that are getting a bit angry with each other!

0:12:550:12:57

Absolutely. To us, welfare is based on the five freedoms

0:12:570:13:00

set by the RSPCA -

0:13:000:13:02

to make sure all their physical needs are met

0:13:020:13:04

and their psychological needs.

0:13:040:13:06

And to make sure they're able to express their own behaviour,

0:13:060:13:09

so seeing it from the hen's point of view.

0:13:090:13:11

-So it's not just about physical health?

-It's not. Are they happy?

0:13:110:13:15

Happy hens lay more eggs and they're less likely to disease.

0:13:150:13:20

Do you think we can tell what is happy with animals?

0:13:200:13:22

I believe we can, so using the welfare outcome we can measure

0:13:220:13:27

how they're doing and their psychological and physical needs.

0:13:270:13:30

-And how are they all looking and doing?

-These are looking fantastic.

0:13:300:13:33

Really, really lovely, calm flock.

0:13:330:13:35

I love the way we've got an audience, as well!

0:13:350:13:38

It's like they've come to watch,

0:13:380:13:39

-to check out you're putting down the right score for them!

-That's it!

0:13:390:13:42

The RSPCA says through Freedom Food it wants to...

0:13:420:13:46

..but currently, it only covers about 5% of the market,

0:13:490:13:54

so how significant is its contribution to welfare overall?

0:13:540:13:58

Well, it has real success in certain sectors,

0:14:000:14:02

so if you're looking at laying hens for the eggs that we eat,

0:14:020:14:06

that's actually taken out about 50% of the UK market.

0:14:060:14:09

Pigs are nearly 30% and salmon,

0:14:090:14:11

farmed salmon are more than 60% Freedom Food.

0:14:110:14:15

But overall, you would accept that is a sort of gold standard

0:14:150:14:18

that not everyone is at. It's not a broad scheme.

0:14:180:14:22

It is a gold standard.

0:14:220:14:23

The whole point is that this is the stretching end

0:14:230:14:26

of achievable for welfare.

0:14:260:14:27

It has to be dedicated and focused to welfare,

0:14:270:14:30

making that achievable, but also just stretching those limits, definitely.

0:14:300:14:34

But are these high welfare standards in the end just for the wealthy?

0:14:340:14:37

No, I don't think so, not at all.

0:14:370:14:39

We're now seeing Freedom Food-labelled products on more

0:14:390:14:41

shelves than ever before in the supermarket,

0:14:410:14:43

so that's coming from farms that are inspected to RSPCA welfare standards.

0:14:430:14:46

They cover a real wide range of the prices that are on offer,

0:14:460:14:49

from the basics and the values, as well in supermarkets, which is

0:14:490:14:53

really good news. We're also seeing it more on the high street,

0:14:530:14:56

so a much wider audience coming into the fast food chains as well.

0:14:560:15:00

Cheaper products may improve Freedom Foods' share of the market

0:15:000:15:03

in the future, but for the moment at least, its standards

0:15:030:15:06

of welfare only apply to a small proportion of British farm animals.

0:15:060:15:11

So is there a way of delivering higher welfare

0:15:110:15:13

across more of the market?

0:15:130:15:15

In a moment, I'll be talking to an organisation whose standards

0:15:160:15:20

may not look as good on paper, but who claim in practice that they

0:15:200:15:24

are doing more for animal welfare in the UK overall than Freedom Foods.

0:15:240:15:28

At this time of year, Shetland's days are very long.

0:15:370:15:40

The sun sets late in the evening and the night sky never grows

0:15:420:15:45

truly dark, because of its northerly latitude.

0:15:450:15:49

It's now nearly midnight,

0:15:510:15:54

but there's still this unearthly glow in the sky.

0:15:540:15:58

The Shetlanders round here call it the Simmer Dim,

0:15:580:16:01

a strange half-light where twilight and dawn merge.

0:16:010:16:06

With only 100 growing days a year, the farmers

0:16:090:16:12

and producers on these islands have to make every day count.

0:16:120:16:16

In a few hours, I'll be waking up to meet the people who farm

0:16:160:16:20

these shores and the animals that have become adapted to live here.

0:16:200:16:23

But for now, I'm going to go and get some kip.

0:16:230:16:26

Morning breaks and brings with it a change in the weather.

0:16:390:16:42

Perched on the shore of one of Shetland's smaller islands

0:16:430:16:46

is Burland Croft, home to Mary Isbister and her husband Tommy.

0:16:460:16:53

Both native Shetlanders, they're champions of native breeds.

0:16:530:16:57

So much so, they've even saved some species from the brink

0:16:570:16:59

of extinction.

0:16:590:17:01

-You must be Mary.

-Hello, Adam. Nice to see you!

0:17:040:17:08

You brought the weather, but never mind!

0:17:080:17:09

-Goodness me, Shetland must have four seasons in one day!

-Absolutely.

0:17:090:17:13

That's why we love it. We don't know what's going to happen the next day.

0:17:130:17:17

It's certainly good weather for ducks.

0:17:170:17:19

-Where are these Shetland ducks, then?

-Well, in the boathouse!

0:17:190:17:23

Chukka chukka chukka!

0:17:240:17:26

Oh, my word - look at them, lovely! Look, there's an egg!

0:17:260:17:30

I should take this home with me

0:17:310:17:33

and hatch it and have Shetland ducks at home!

0:17:330:17:35

Well, you can do that, but I think they don't like the weather

0:17:350:17:38

-so, well, they're not going to come out!

-No!

0:17:380:17:41

Tell me about this hutch, then.

0:17:410:17:42

I think of Shetlanders as great recyclers,

0:17:420:17:45

because this was always done in Shetland.

0:17:450:17:47

An old boat was reused and usually it's for a lamb house,

0:17:470:17:51

but here we use it for the duck house.

0:17:510:17:53

It makes a great duck hut, I've never seen anything like it.

0:17:530:17:56

Let me give you that egg. They'll run out, will they, in a second?

0:17:560:17:59

-I would think they'll come for their breakfast if we move back.

-OK.

0:17:590:18:03

Come on, ducks.

0:18:030:18:04

Aren't they lovely?

0:18:050:18:07

-They're quite unusual looking ducks, aren't they?

-They're not too big.

0:18:140:18:19

They're nearly like Indian runners. You see them go and they're so busy,

0:18:190:18:23

they never stop.

0:18:230:18:25

They usually just have the white breast and the rest of them

0:18:250:18:28

is absolutely black, jet black.

0:18:280:18:31

I noticed some of them are going a bit lighter.

0:18:310:18:33

Yes, I know - they go white with age. That white one there is almost 20.

0:18:330:18:38

It's unbelievable, but they just keep living.

0:18:380:18:42

And they got down to quite low numbers.

0:18:420:18:44

They were down to amazingly... three birds.

0:18:440:18:47

When we realised just how few was around, we pulled that three together

0:18:470:18:51

and to be honest, that's been the start of the Shetland ducks again.

0:18:510:18:56

-From three to now hundreds or even thousands.

-Thousands, I think.

0:18:560:19:01

What an achievement! You must be so proud.

0:19:010:19:04

I've never really looked on it like that.

0:19:040:19:07

I think it's just nice to see plenty around again.

0:19:070:19:11

-Are they good characters?

-Absolutely wonderful.

0:19:110:19:14

They're very much their own persons!

0:19:140:19:17

More than 700 miles from home,

0:19:240:19:26

I'm closer to the Arctic Circle than I am to the Cotswolds.

0:19:260:19:30

Around every corner is another vista, waiting to wow you.

0:19:300:19:35

But on a soggy day like this, it's not hard to imagine

0:19:350:19:38

the ruthless winter of our most northerly British territory.

0:19:380:19:42

For many months of the year,

0:19:420:19:44

the harsh weather tests even the hardiest of men and beasts.

0:19:440:19:47

I've come to Uradale Farm to meet Ronnie Eunson,

0:19:510:19:54

another local champion of rare breeds.

0:19:540:19:56

Ronnie, hi. I'm Adam.

0:19:560:19:59

-Pleased to meet you.

-It's a lovely Shetland day!

-Aye, midsummer!

0:19:590:20:03

Not so great, I'm afraid! But that's just Shetland.

0:20:030:20:07

I've never seen so many Shetland cattle in one place,

0:20:070:20:09

it's lovely, isn't it?

0:20:090:20:11

Well, there's not too many sizeable herds left in Shetland.

0:20:110:20:14

During the 18th century,

0:20:140:20:16

they reckoned there was about 50,000 here,

0:20:160:20:18

but over the years they declined until in the early 1980s,

0:20:180:20:21

there was only 27 registered females left.

0:20:210:20:26

-Goodness me, that low in numbers?

-Yes.

-How have they come back?

0:20:260:20:31

Well, really determination on the part of a few people.

0:20:310:20:35

There are only four sire lines, so very limited genetic pool.

0:20:350:20:39

But we like to think that we've been able to improve the cattle

0:20:390:20:43

-over the years.

-And do they really suit Shetland well?

0:20:430:20:47

Well, they should do, because they've been here for thousands of years.

0:20:470:20:51

They are a type of breed that can cope with most things.

0:20:510:20:56

They eat a very diverse diet,

0:20:560:20:58

so that suits the different seasons so that they can get a bit of grass,

0:20:580:21:03

they can get a bit of hay, we've even seen them

0:21:030:21:06

eating the seaweed at times,

0:21:060:21:07

so they're quite catholic in their tastes!

0:21:070:21:10

It's part of our living heritage and the more people you can

0:21:100:21:13

persuade to eat them, the more likely people like you are to

0:21:130:21:16

breed them and therefore, the breed will continue to regenerate.

0:21:160:21:19

Yes, it's the ultimate irony - how to save a breed - eat it!

0:21:190:21:23

THEY LAUGH

0:21:230:21:25

How do you, as farmers, and your animals,

0:21:250:21:27

cope with these long summer days and short days in the winter?

0:21:270:21:31

Well, the long, summer days are usually quite easy to cope with.

0:21:310:21:35

But in the winter time, all the native breeds here seem

0:21:350:21:39

to have the same characteristic where they simply shut down

0:21:390:21:43

when the conditions get too tough and they rely on their own reserves.

0:21:430:21:48

These animals are adapted to this environment,

0:21:480:21:50

but last year, Ronnie and his family learned just how tough it can get.

0:21:500:21:54

THUNDERCLAP

0:21:540:21:56

The peat slide came, several thousand tonnes of it.

0:21:560:22:01

The first I noticed was everything went quiet.

0:22:020:22:05

There was no sound at all, and I thought it was very strange,

0:22:080:22:11

and I looked outside and everything was just black.

0:22:110:22:15

It carried away a house and our Land Rover and burst through the house,

0:22:170:22:21

so it caused a lot of damage and thankfully, nobody was killed.

0:22:210:22:26

A very resilient bunch, farmers, aren't they?

0:22:260:22:30

I guess we need to be fairly resilient to cope with all the bits

0:22:300:22:35

and pieces and problems that occur, but every now and then,

0:22:350:22:40

something happens which lifts your spirits

0:22:400:22:43

and make things seem an awful lot easier to cope with.

0:22:430:22:47

Sometimes it's all about hearing a wren sing

0:22:470:22:49

in the early morning, when you're lying in bed or seeing

0:22:490:22:53

the first sunshine over the top of the hill, or just green shoots.

0:22:530:22:59

It...lifts the heart and it keeps you going.

0:22:590:23:03

Now, that's what I call Shetland spirit.

0:23:050:23:08

Apart from his rain-hardened cattle, Ronnie also farms Shetland sheep.

0:23:090:23:13

Lucky for them, today is shearing day,

0:23:170:23:19

and that means they can escape from the rain. And so can we!

0:23:190:23:24

-It's nice to get out of the rain!

-Not so nice, is it?

0:23:240:23:27

So it's all happening in here.

0:23:290:23:30

Yes, we're trying to get the last of the clipping finished today here,

0:23:300:23:34

it's just not a very nice day outside,

0:23:340:23:37

so we left the sheep inside last night.

0:23:370:23:40

-Keep the wool dry.

-That's right.

0:23:400:23:42

Well, it's come to be a little bit more valuable than it used to be.

0:23:420:23:46

-And how many Shetlands have you got?

-Around about 700 here.

0:23:460:23:49

We breed them pure. It's basically just for a very specialised market.

0:23:490:23:55

What do you do with the daggy bits?

0:23:590:24:01

-Just throw them over your back there and we tidy them up after.

-OK.

0:24:010:24:05

I'm pinching your job here!

0:24:050:24:07

THEY LAUGH

0:24:070:24:10

There's the whole fleece.

0:24:100:24:11

Lovely, isn't it? Chuck it in this white one?

0:24:110:24:14

Yes, that's the white one.

0:24:140:24:16

And they say that a very fine Shetland fleece,

0:24:160:24:18

when it's spun into a shawl,

0:24:180:24:20

-they can pull it through a wedding ring, is that right?

-Yes, yes.

0:24:200:24:23

It's a very strong fibre with a very fine crimp to it,

0:24:230:24:29

so when it's spun up, it actually makes a very fine yarn.

0:24:290:24:34

It seems to be what the market wants.

0:24:350:24:38

-I've got some of my Cotswold wool here to show you.

-Oh, dear!

0:24:380:24:41

-Have a bit of a comparison!

-Oh, dreadlocks!

0:24:410:24:45

We'll have a wool-off competition!

0:24:450:24:48

So, look - this is the wool that made the Cotswolds famous.

0:24:500:24:54

We'll compare.

0:24:540:24:56

So this is very, very long and quite fine,

0:24:560:25:01

but I reckon that Shetland wool is finer, you know.

0:25:010:25:04

Well, if you hold it up to the light, you can see

0:25:040:25:08

the Cotswold is straight, with not so much crimp

0:25:080:25:12

-and the fibres themselves are a little bit thicker.

-They are.

0:25:120:25:17

It makes a very fine jumper-weight yarn,

0:25:170:25:20

a bit like what you're wearing, but better!

0:25:200:25:22

ADAM LAUGHS

0:25:220:25:24

I think you might be beating me there, actually.

0:25:240:25:27

I think mine looks cleaner!

0:25:270:25:28

They're the best sheep breed in the world, and the one that evolved to

0:25:280:25:33

cope with the conditions up here, so at the end of the day,

0:25:330:25:36

this is the sheep that does the business.

0:25:360:25:39

For more than 6,000 years, the people of Shetland have farmed

0:25:430:25:47

and fished from these shores.

0:25:470:25:50

Now perfectly adapted to the shifting conditions,

0:25:500:25:52

the local breeds are thriving in their homeland, thanks to the

0:25:520:25:56

skill and determination of the native Shetlanders themselves.

0:25:560:25:59

People have lived on the Shetland Isles for more than 6,000 years.

0:26:140:26:18

From the first Neolithic farmers to the Vikings who

0:26:180:26:22

arrived in the ninth century, marking what many call

0:26:220:26:24

the dawn of Shetland's history, right through to today's 22,000 residents.

0:26:240:26:30

This place was strategically important for the Vikings

0:26:330:26:36

because of its position in the north Atlantic.

0:26:360:26:39

Shetland was the ideal stepping-stone for marauding Vikings

0:26:390:26:42

heading for Greenland and Iceland.

0:26:420:26:46

The archipelago was under Norse rule from the ninth to the 15th century.

0:26:470:26:52

And the Nordic influence is celebrated

0:26:520:26:55

in the Up Helly Aa fire festival

0:26:550:26:56

lighting up the capital Lerwick every January.

0:26:560:27:00

The arrival of the Vikings brought place names, local dialects

0:27:000:27:06

and other traditions that are still around today,

0:27:060:27:10

including the game of...

0:27:100:27:12

hnefatafl.

0:27:120:27:14

Hnefatafl, despite its puzzling spelling, is quite simply

0:27:150:27:19

a board game that simulates Viking combat and predates chess.

0:27:190:27:23

Every year, the world championships are held here on Fetlar,

0:27:250:27:28

so I'm meeting hnefatafl Grand Master Peter Kelly to find out more.

0:27:280:27:33

-Hello, Peter.

-Hello, Ellie.

-So what do you need to play the game?

0:27:330:27:36

-You need a board and pieces.

-Right.

0:27:360:27:39

Now, in history, pebbles were used

0:27:390:27:42

and I believe that people scraped boards on the boats that they

0:27:420:27:48

were coming over in and on the sand

0:27:480:27:50

when they were playing on the beach.

0:27:500:27:53

In the Viking sagas, it says things like, "I have so many skills,

0:27:530:27:57

"I throw the spear and I play hnefatafl."

0:27:570:28:01

It was seen as an important thing for Vikings to play.

0:28:010:28:04

What is the aim of the game?

0:28:040:28:06

The attacking pieces are black

0:28:060:28:09

to identify them from the defending pieces which encircle the king.

0:28:090:28:13

For the attacker,

0:28:130:28:14

it is to stop the king getting to the corner of the board

0:28:140:28:19

and then to surround him on all four sides

0:28:190:28:24

with attacking pieces.

0:28:240:28:26

-And then, the attackers have won.

-War!

0:28:260:28:29

For the defenders, it is

0:28:300:28:32

to get the king to the corner of the board and then HE'S won.

0:28:320:28:36

So what are the moves that I need to learn?

0:28:360:28:38

The moves are in straight lines.

0:28:380:28:40

As many places as you want?

0:28:400:28:42

Yes, you can go as far as you like, but you have to stop if you

0:28:420:28:45

come to either one of your own pieces or one of the other pieces.

0:28:450:28:48

So how do you take a piece?

0:28:480:28:50

Well, the Vikings called it The Hammer And Anvil.

0:28:500:28:54

If there are two pieces together, like that,

0:28:540:28:57

then if it's white's go, he can go...

0:28:570:29:01

-..smack the hammer against the anvil and it's lost.

-OK.

0:29:020:29:06

Well, I think I understand the rules now.

0:29:060:29:09

And to do it in style and make it a bit more interesting...

0:29:090:29:14

or ridiculous...

0:29:140:29:17

-A-ha!

-Very fetching.

-OK.

0:29:170:29:19

It may be more than 1,000 years old, but the rules of the game

0:29:190:29:24

weren't properly standardised until 2007, right here on Fetlar.

0:29:240:29:28

The main innovation was the introduction of a gong

0:29:280:29:31

to speed up the game. GONG CRASHES

0:29:310:29:33

Players now have only ten seconds to make their move.

0:29:330:29:37

That's...

0:29:370:29:38

-Kerchunk.

-Oh!

0:29:400:29:42

SHE LAUGHS Squashed!

0:29:420:29:44

Oh, it was a schoolboy error. Right...

0:29:440:29:47

Out goes the king. I'm not having that.

0:29:480:29:50

I think I see where you're going.

0:29:500:29:52

SHE GASPS

0:29:580:30:00

-You can't stop me now.

-I can't stop you?

-No, that is...

0:30:000:30:04

I've won! Ha-ha!

0:30:040:30:06

How embarrassing! A worthy winner. Well done.

0:30:060:30:09

THEY LAUGH

0:30:090:30:10

I think I'll stick to chess.

0:30:100:30:12

Now, earlier we heard how

0:30:160:30:18

welfare standards for farm animals are evolving.

0:30:180:30:22

But does higher welfare have to mean a higher price? Here's Tom.

0:30:220:30:26

In recent years, we've seen

0:30:300:30:32

an increasingly personal approach to animal welfare in the UK.

0:30:320:30:37

On the RSPCA's Freedom Food farms,

0:30:370:30:40

they bring in assessors to monitor animal health and happiness.

0:30:400:30:43

But not everyone agrees that the Freedom Food label

0:30:450:30:48

is doing the most good when it comes to animal welfare.

0:30:480:30:51

Here in Shropshire, Richard Hooper

0:30:540:30:56

looks after a 230 sow-intensive breeding unit.

0:30:560:31:00

They can shut the nodding donkey part

0:31:020:31:06

to prevent any other sows eating their food

0:31:060:31:09

and also preventing other sows biting their back ends.

0:31:090:31:13

Richard is not part of Freedom Food.

0:31:130:31:16

Instead, he produces pork for the Red Tractor label,

0:31:160:31:20

set up in the year 2000 by the National Farmers' Union

0:31:200:31:22

to assure food quality.

0:31:220:31:25

So what sort of things does a Red Tractor label oblige you to cover?

0:31:250:31:29

It covers just about everything that we do on the unit.

0:31:290:31:32

It covers the housing, it covers the feeding, the water supply,

0:31:320:31:37

the veterinary medicines.

0:31:370:31:39

It is everything you can think of to do with pigs,

0:31:390:31:42

it is covered within that.

0:31:420:31:44

So you think it is a pretty thorough welfare check?

0:31:440:31:46

I think it's a good standard. I really do think it's

0:31:460:31:49

a good standard from a producer's point of view.

0:31:490:31:51

It's been widely bought into by producers.

0:31:510:31:54

90-odd percent of the pigs produced in the country

0:31:540:31:57

are now covered by Red Tractor.

0:31:570:31:59

A lot of people think pigs or animals in general

0:31:590:32:02

are happier outside. What do you make of that perception?

0:32:020:32:05

It's... Are you happy outside when it's minus 20?

0:32:060:32:09

Are you happy outside when it's bucketing with rain for weeks on end?

0:32:090:32:13

I think, you know, the environment we've got here is controlled.

0:32:130:32:17

From a human point of view, it does perhaps look a bit alien for a pig,

0:32:170:32:21

but what is the natural environment for a domesticated pig these days?

0:32:210:32:25

Whereas the Freedom Food label only covers 5% of the market,

0:32:260:32:31

Red Tractor covers 80%.

0:32:310:32:34

Recently, it has started to adopt the kind of personal approach

0:32:340:32:37

to welfare that we saw earlier on the Freedom Food farm.

0:32:370:32:41

No, no, no, no.

0:32:410:32:43

No. See, that one would score positive as a body mark.

0:32:430:32:48

Roger Blowey is a qualified vet

0:32:480:32:50

who carries out assessments on Red Tractor farms.

0:32:500:32:53

He isn't just looking for signs of physical damage.

0:32:530:32:57

He also wants to work out if the pigs are happy.

0:32:570:33:00

A good indicator is how playful they are.

0:33:000:33:02

You will see a ball somewhere and then you've got this

0:33:020:33:07

salt mineral block there and you can see they have been chewing that.

0:33:070:33:12

See how they're chewing the end of the chain?

0:33:120:33:14

So you have noted down one or two things here.

0:33:140:33:16

Is that fairly typical, or do you ever come in

0:33:160:33:19

and give everything an absolute clean bill of health?

0:33:190:33:21

Never, never. No. Always there are some scratches.

0:33:210:33:28

In a unit of this size,

0:33:280:33:29

you would expect the odd pig to be not walking 100% correctly,

0:33:290:33:34

so you are going to have the odd lame one and that sort of thing.

0:33:340:33:37

And even in the highest of welfare systems,

0:33:370:33:39

would you always find some problems of this nature?

0:33:390:33:43

-Yes. Always.

-Just part of the wear and tear of being a pig in a group?

0:33:430:33:47

Yes, it is. It's like us, isn't it?

0:33:470:33:49

Every now and again we scratch ourselves.

0:33:490:33:52

It's just part of their natural behaviour and you can see

0:33:520:33:56

by the way they are tackling my feet

0:33:560:33:58

that they just love chewing and things.

0:33:580:34:00

I can see you are the new toy!

0:34:000:34:02

Red Tractor doesn't claim to always match the Freedom Food label

0:34:040:34:08

when it comes to welfare standards, but it does believe

0:34:080:34:11

its products are generally cheaper and they serve more of the market.

0:34:110:34:16

So, Emma, can the general shopper

0:34:160:34:18

-expect good animal welfare on a budget?

-Yes, they can.

0:34:180:34:21

We know that animal welfare is really important to consumers.

0:34:210:34:24

We've got good standards in there, standards that are above legislation

0:34:240:34:28

and, importantly, above those of imported products.

0:34:280:34:30

I was going to ask you about that "above legislation"

0:34:300:34:33

because in the past, Red Tractor has been kind of accused,

0:34:330:34:36

if you like, of being another word for the bare minimum.

0:34:360:34:38

-You don't think that's fair?

-No, I don't think that's fair.

0:34:380:34:41

The Red Tractor standards are actually inspected on far more farms

0:34:410:34:44

then say the Freedom Food or Soil Association standards,

0:34:440:34:48

so even if our standards don't match up to them on welfare,

0:34:480:34:51

actually, in practice, they are implemented on far more farms.

0:34:510:34:55

So in effect you're saying that far more animals

0:34:550:34:57

-are benefiting from your standards because they are broader.

-Exactly.

0:34:570:35:01

What's better?

0:35:010:35:03

Have aspirational standards

0:35:030:35:04

that only few farmers will actually be inspected to and meet

0:35:040:35:07

and few people can afford to pay for,

0:35:070:35:10

or to have good animal-welfare standards

0:35:100:35:12

that actually are practised on far more farms

0:35:120:35:15

and the general public can actually afford to buy the products?

0:35:150:35:18

Higher welfare standards are good for sales as well as animals,

0:35:180:35:23

but they don't convince everyone and some would doubt

0:35:230:35:27

that being reared on a farm can ever create true contentment.

0:35:270:35:30

Surely the happiest of animals would be those who live

0:35:300:35:34

somewhere like this, wild and able to roam freely where they like.

0:35:340:35:39

Or are they?

0:35:390:35:41

David Main is a professor of animal welfare

0:35:410:35:44

who has helped both Red Tractor and Freedom Foods

0:35:440:35:47

develop their current standards.

0:35:470:35:50

Are animals happier in the wild?

0:35:510:35:53

I think animals can be happy in the wild, but animals in the wild

0:35:530:35:59

are exposed to a lot of predation, a lot of disease etc.

0:35:590:36:02

But understanding how they are in the wild also helps understand

0:36:020:36:06

what animals need in a farming system.

0:36:060:36:08

We are talking about some element of control here,

0:36:080:36:10

so is it like different star ratings of hotels

0:36:100:36:14

or maybe even different severities of prison?

0:36:140:36:16

Well, it is like that in a sense because different production systems

0:36:160:36:20

give different opportunities

0:36:200:36:22

and different facilities to the animals,

0:36:220:36:25

so in laying hens,

0:36:250:36:26

a free-range organic system does provide extra welfare potential,

0:36:260:36:30

extra opportunities for the animals, but actually what is quite important

0:36:300:36:34

is how that hotel, how that production system is managed

0:36:340:36:38

because it's all about the attention to detail that the stockman does do

0:36:380:36:42

and that has a very real impact on animal welfare.

0:36:420:36:45

So the quality of the manager or the stockman as you put it is critical?

0:36:450:36:48

Absolutely, it is.

0:36:480:36:49

A variety of animal-welfare standards

0:36:540:36:56

may be a little confusing for shoppers,

0:36:560:36:58

but it does offer us choice on how we spend our money

0:36:580:37:01

and for the animals themselves,

0:37:010:37:03

well, this competition between standards does seem to be driving up

0:37:030:37:08

the average welfare of the nation's livestock.

0:37:080:37:12

From weather-beaten crags to windswept sands,

0:37:220:37:25

Shetland's myriad islands are ever-changing.

0:37:250:37:28

Here, the weather can blow from furious gales to clear skies

0:37:280:37:32

in the shake of a lamb's tail.

0:37:320:37:35

Only the toughest, and it would seem smallest, can thrive here.

0:37:350:37:39

In this Lilliput land of livestock,

0:37:430:37:45

this has got to be the most famous of the bijou beasts.

0:37:450:37:48

Surely a trip to the Shetlands wouldn't be complete

0:37:500:37:53

without seeing one of these - a Shetland pony.

0:37:530:37:56

They are really hardy and like many of the animals on the Shetlands,

0:37:560:38:00

they have adapted to be super tough and their strength is legendary

0:38:000:38:03

and they have been used for all sorts of work.

0:38:030:38:06

When mining was at its peak, they used to go down into the dark pits

0:38:060:38:09

and work alongside the miners.

0:38:090:38:11

Here on Shetland, fishermen owned them

0:38:110:38:13

and used their tail hair to make fishing lines,

0:38:130:38:16

but of course those days are long gone,

0:38:160:38:18

but they are a working pony and they like to be kept busy

0:38:180:38:21

and this little lady is in training.

0:38:210:38:23

So, come along then.

0:38:230:38:25

Melody, Rebecca and Miranda are all young riders

0:38:290:38:32

with their sights set on the Shetland Pony Grand National.

0:38:320:38:36

It takes place each year as part of the Olympia Horse Show in London.

0:38:390:38:44

Hi, Melody. I believe this is your pony I've been borrowing?

0:38:440:38:48

There we are.

0:38:480:38:49

'Riders come from all over the country,

0:38:490:38:51

'but these lasses are flying the flag for Shetland.'

0:38:510:38:54

How long have you been racing Shetlands?

0:38:540:38:57

-I started last year.

-And I hear you are a bit of a champ,

0:38:570:39:01

-is that right?

-Yes.

0:39:010:39:02

-Did you win?

-Yeah, I won twice at Olympia.

-Did you? Goodness me!

0:39:020:39:06

Well done, you!

0:39:060:39:07

CROWD CHEERS

0:39:070:39:12

So what makes a good Shetland pony jockey?

0:39:140:39:17

-You're used to riding them and you don't get scared.

-Yeah.

0:39:170:39:22

-Does it help that you come from the Shetlands?

-Yeah.

0:39:220:39:24

-You've got it through your blood.

-Yeah.

-Fantastic.

0:39:240:39:27

'While they go off to train, I'm going to find out

0:39:270:39:30

'more about the Shetland Pony Grand National.

0:39:300:39:32

'Helen Thomson has been involved since it began.

0:39:340:39:37

'Over the years, she has trained

0:39:370:39:39

'more than 30 young jockeys for the competition.'

0:39:390:39:42

-So how did it all get started?

-Well, it started in about 1982.

0:39:420:39:46

A great spectacle, kids have fun,

0:39:460:39:48

but it raises money for Great Ormond Street Children's Hospital,

0:39:480:39:51

so you get children raising money for children.

0:39:510:39:54

Throughout the year, up to 50 ponies and riders take part in heats

0:39:550:39:59

before being whittled down to a lucky ten for the grand final.

0:39:590:40:02

The riders are all aged between 9 and 13

0:40:020:40:05

and can be no taller than five foot,

0:40:050:40:08

so this is a big race with mini contenders.

0:40:080:40:11

And how fast are they, the Shetlands?

0:40:140:40:16

Well, you would not believe this,

0:40:160:40:18

but I am told they are two-thirds the speed of a racehorse.

0:40:180:40:21

-Goodness me!

-Yeah, I know.

0:40:210:40:22

-So they are good at racing then?

-Oh, yes. Oh, yes.

0:40:220:40:25

Well, there's only one way to test the horsepower of these ponies

0:40:260:40:31

and that's a race.

0:40:310:40:32

With some months to go before the big event,

0:40:320:40:34

we are going to stage our own.

0:40:340:40:37

-What are they going to do? Walking start, is it?

-Yes.

0:40:370:40:40

Walking, walking, go!

0:40:400:40:43

-Goodness me, they really fly, don't they?

-Oh, yes.

0:40:430:40:46

Oh, Miranda has fallen at the second hurdle,

0:40:480:40:51

but like a true pro, she is back in the saddle. Will she be all right?

0:40:510:40:56

Ah, she'll bounce.

0:40:560:40:57

Great little jumpers! It's wonderful, it's really exciting!

0:40:590:41:04

Melody is well in the lead now.

0:41:040:41:07

Oh, she's gone!

0:41:070:41:09

Now Rebecca has taken a tumble and her horse is heading for the hills.

0:41:090:41:14

I think these girls are even tougher than the ponies.

0:41:140:41:17

-Goodness me! It's pretty fast, isn't it? Are

-you OK? Yes.

-Are you sure?

0:41:170:41:23

-What happened?

-I think he did a tight corner and then I flew off.

0:41:230:41:28

I reckon those silver booties made him fly. All right, little one?

0:41:280:41:33

So lively!

0:41:330:41:34

-Cor, he's got a spark in his eye! And how are you? Are

-you OK? Yeah.

0:41:340:41:38

-Did you enjoy that?

-Mm-hm.

-Well done!

0:41:380:41:40

Well, I don't have ever seen anything like it.

0:41:400:41:43

It was quite extraordinary!

0:41:430:41:44

They might be the future stars of Shetland pony racing,

0:41:440:41:48

but I'm off to meet someone who has already reached the dizzy heights

0:41:480:41:51

of international superstardom for completely different reasons.

0:41:510:41:56

This is Socks, a Shetland stallion who has wowed the world

0:41:580:42:01

with his funky moves and has had

0:42:010:42:03

more than seven million YouTube hits.

0:42:030:42:05

-Hi, I'm Adam.

-Hi, I'm Mari and this is Socks.

-Oh, hello, Socks.

0:42:070:42:12

So tell me about his rise to stardom.

0:42:120:42:14

It really has been an incredible journey.

0:42:140:42:17

There was two gentlemen that came up from London in October

0:42:170:42:20

and went around all the Shetland pony studs that were available

0:42:200:42:24

and they saw many, many ponies through an audition process

0:42:240:42:30

and came back and came back again

0:42:300:42:32

and just decided that Socks was to be their star.

0:42:320:42:35

# Can you hear me calling out your name?

0:42:390:42:43

# You know that I've fallen and I don't know what to say

0:42:430:42:47

# I speak a little louder

0:42:470:42:49

# Or even shout

0:42:490:42:52

# You know that I'm proud and I can't get the words out

0:42:520:42:55

# Oh, I-I

0:42:550:43:00

# I want to be with you everywhere... #

0:43:000:43:04

SOCKS WHINNIES

0:43:040:43:06

-Can he really do the moves?

-Er, no.

0:43:060:43:11

There was an element of computer-generated imagery.

0:43:110:43:15

He can back up, he's got some moves of his own.

0:43:150:43:19

But moonwalking, I'm afraid, is not one of them.

0:43:190:43:21

Now, I've been told he's a bit of a one with the ladies.

0:43:210:43:24

Oh, he is certainly that, yes!

0:43:240:43:26

Last year, he swam the loch and served the mare

0:43:260:43:31

and then got beaten up by my other stallion.

0:43:310:43:34

What a naughty little chap you are!

0:43:340:43:37

Goodness me! It's all that dancing prowess!

0:43:370:43:40

So now he's incredibly famous?

0:43:400:43:42

He is, very much so. He is world famous.

0:43:420:43:46

I've got the most lovely letters and e-mails and texts

0:43:460:43:48

and phone calls from all over the world.

0:43:480:43:50

It's been absolutely incredible.

0:43:500:43:52

It was only a few weeks ago my daughter showed me on the Internet.

0:43:520:43:55

She said, "Dad, have you seen this little Shetland pony?"

0:43:550:43:58

-And here I am now meeting him!

-He's quite a star, I must admit.

0:43:580:44:01

Yes, he's quite a star.

0:44:010:44:03

Let's see what he can do then. Go on.

0:44:030:44:06

Put him through his paces.

0:44:060:44:08

Well, we'll get him to back up...

0:44:080:44:10

..which he does quite naturally.

0:44:120:44:14

And he'll turn around without any assistance.

0:44:160:44:18

We'll go back again.

0:44:210:44:23

Sometimes he'll pad his foot.

0:44:250:44:27

In the video, his mane is longer, isn't it?

0:44:300:44:33

Yes, that was another story.

0:44:330:44:36

Yes, the company wanted him to have

0:44:360:44:39

longer, more bold, I suppose, locks,

0:44:390:44:43

so they got him hair extensions. THEY LAUGH

0:44:430:44:46

# Oh, I... #

0:44:460:44:49

SOCKS WHINNIES

0:44:490:44:51

# ..I want to be with you everywhere... #

0:44:510:44:53

-So can I have a little go with him?

-Absolutely.

0:44:530:44:56

Let's try this now. OK, here we go.

0:44:560:44:58

So backing up, let's go back. Back, back, back.

0:44:580:45:02

Very good. And in a circle.

0:45:020:45:04

Yeah, all on the spot.

0:45:060:45:07

OK, and now moonwalk.

0:45:100:45:12

MARI LAUGHS

0:45:120:45:14

Copy me.

0:45:140:45:15

That's fantastic! Well done!

0:45:150:45:18

I hear he likes the water. Can I take him in?

0:45:180:45:21

-Certainly.

-Come on, then.

0:45:210:45:23

Let's go for a paddle. I like being at the seaside.

0:45:230:45:26

Come on, then.

0:45:260:45:28

Woo-hoo-hoo!

0:45:280:45:30

What do you reckon?

0:45:310:45:33

Look at this. Woo-hoo-hoo!

0:45:350:45:37

ADAM LAUGHS

0:45:370:45:39

It went over my wellies!

0:45:390:45:41

What a good boy! Amazing.

0:45:430:45:46

-He's gorgeous, isn't he?

-Thank you.

0:45:460:45:49

SOCKS WHINNIES

0:45:490:45:52

I know, it's wonderful, isn't it? There you go.

0:45:520:45:57

Now, Socks here is a bit of a celebrity,

0:46:000:46:02

but this landscape has star qualities too

0:46:020:46:04

and hopefully this kind of scenery

0:46:040:46:07

will inspire you to take part in our photographic competition.

0:46:070:46:10

If it does, then here's John with details on how to enter.

0:46:100:46:14

The theme for this year's competition is Our Living Landscape.

0:46:170:46:22

We want pictures that capture the beauty of the British countryside,

0:46:220:46:26

all the wonderful life, the fantastic scenery that you find within it.

0:46:260:46:31

The 12 best photographs chosen by our judges will make up

0:46:340:46:38

the Countryfile calendar for 2014.

0:46:380:46:42

We've already had some wonderful entries for this year's competition,

0:46:420:46:45

but there is still time to get yours in, so here's what you need to know.

0:46:450:46:50

The Countryfile photographic competition

0:46:500:46:52

is not open to professionals

0:46:520:46:54

and because we want every entry to be an original,

0:46:540:46:56

they mustn't have won any other competition.

0:46:560:47:00

You can send in up to four photos and they must have been taken in the UK.

0:47:000:47:05

Please could you send in hard copies, not e-mails or computer files.

0:47:050:47:11

Write your name, address and a daytime and evening phone number

0:47:110:47:15

on the back of each photo, with a note of where it was taken.

0:47:150:47:19

Then send your entries to...

0:47:190:47:25

The full terms and conditions are on our website,

0:47:310:47:34

which is where you will also find

0:47:340:47:36

details of the BBC's code of conduct for competitions.

0:47:360:47:39

Now, our closing date is Friday, 26 July.

0:47:390:47:43

I'm sorry, but we can't return any entries.

0:47:430:47:46

Whatever you decide to photograph, do it responsibly.

0:47:460:47:49

Take care not to disturb any animals or damage the environment

0:47:490:47:53

and always follow the Countryside Code.

0:47:530:47:56

Now, if that has inspired you to get out in the week ahead,

0:48:000:48:02

you'll want to know what the weather is going to be like,

0:48:020:48:05

so here's the Countryfile forecast.

0:48:050:48:07

.

0:49:500:49:57

Adam and I have been exploring one of the most rugged

0:50:100:50:13

and extreme corners of our countryside, the Shetland Islands.

0:50:130:50:19

While Adam has been fooling around in the surf with Socks,

0:50:190:50:22

Shetland's superstar pony...

0:50:220:50:25

Good boy.

0:50:250:50:27

..I've been discovering the wealth of wildlife

0:50:270:50:30

this windswept place has to offer.

0:50:300:50:31

Look how unbothered she is by us. She's just here.

0:50:310:50:35

Situated 60 degrees north, the same latitude as Alaska and Greenland,

0:50:350:50:40

Shetland can be a hard place to survive and the weather

0:50:400:50:44

can change in a instant, as I'm finding out only too well.

0:50:440:50:47

So the wildlife, like its ever-resourceful island folk,

0:50:490:50:52

have learned to use every bit of the natural environment to get by,

0:50:520:50:57

including this rather slimy-looking algae.

0:50:570:51:00

Seaweed has long been used by coastal communities

0:51:020:51:06

as a way of enriching their poor soil and helping crops grow

0:51:060:51:09

and it's no different today.

0:51:090:51:11

This natural resource makes a fantastic fertiliser,

0:51:150:51:18

so it's very much the farmers' friend here on Shetland

0:51:180:51:21

and it's packed with minerals and nutrients.

0:51:210:51:24

Not to mention its rejuvenating properties,

0:51:240:51:27

which I rather embarrassingly experienced

0:51:270:51:30

in Northern Ireland not so long ago.

0:51:300:51:32

And it's a food source, which is what I've come here to sample.

0:51:320:51:36

I'm just not sure yet how much I really want eat it.

0:51:360:51:40

For the past ten years, Michael and Margaret Blance

0:51:410:51:44

have been tapping into the tidal greens washing up on their doorstep.

0:51:440:51:47

That's where we're heading, the innermost line on the beach.

0:51:490:51:53

Initially, they foraged for the green and brown stuff

0:51:530:51:57

littering their coastline and sold it on as fertiliser,

0:51:570:52:00

then three years ago, they had a brainwave.

0:52:000:52:02

Why not grow it themselves?

0:52:020:52:05

They've now branched out into edible seaweed too

0:52:050:52:08

and, as far as they know,

0:52:080:52:09

they are the only commercial seaweed farmers in the UK

0:52:090:52:13

and there is a knack to it.

0:52:130:52:14

Take the lines like this and don't cut it on the stalk,

0:52:140:52:17

-cut it there.

-Midway through there?

-Midway through, OK?

0:52:170:52:21

-Take that one.

-Take a piece of this one.

0:52:220:52:24

-Just try and leave some on and it regrows again.

-Is that all right?

0:52:240:52:28

Oh, it's lovely. There's a lot of variety on here, isn't there?

0:52:280:52:30

There certainly is. We've got sugar kelp,

0:52:300:52:33

kelp

0:52:330:52:36

-and lettuce.

-Fantastic.

0:52:360:52:38

-What does the sugar kelp taste like?

-We can give you a bit to try.

0:52:380:52:41

You eat it straight out of the sea?

0:52:410:52:43

-Straight out of the sea, nice and clean.

-Oh, wow.

0:52:430:52:47

Lovely. Just down the hatch then, yeah?

0:52:470:52:50

Just down the hatch with a little bit.

0:52:500:52:52

Or have a big bit and be done with it.

0:52:520:52:54

SHE LAUGHS

0:52:540:52:56

Mmm, texture's good. Solid texture.

0:52:570:52:59

It's not like having pudding in terms of sweetness, but...

0:52:590:53:03

-It's not bad.

-It's not bad.

0:53:030:53:06

How do you take that one off, the lovely green one?

0:53:060:53:08

-Just pluck it gently off.

-Just with your hands?

-Yes.

0:53:080:53:11

This feels more delicate, doesn't it, this one?

0:53:110:53:13

-Is just like a bit of lettuce.

-It is.

0:53:130:53:15

So, Margaret, why did you start harvesting seaweed?

0:53:150:53:19

We considered that to farm seaweed would be less labour-intensive,

0:53:190:53:23

it's better for the environment.

0:53:230:53:25

Although we cut along the shoreline and we cut sustainably,

0:53:250:53:30

we still feel that farming is the way to go

0:53:300:53:32

as long as it's done in moderation.

0:53:320:53:34

And so how do you go about farming seaweed?

0:53:340:53:37

Well, you could spore the ropes, deliberately spore them

0:53:370:53:40

-and put out the ropes.

-So you just leave ropes out there?

-Yes.

0:53:400:53:44

Oh, wow! Why not spore them?

0:53:440:53:46

Well, I feel although you could spore them,

0:53:460:53:49

-maybe you will then introduce an invasive species.

-Oh, I see.

0:53:490:53:53

So to me, to let it spore naturally,

0:53:530:53:56

you're just letting the natural ecosystem do its job

0:53:560:54:00

without interfering, so that's how I feel.

0:54:000:54:03

And what is it about Shetland that makes good seaweed, would you say?

0:54:030:54:07

I think it's because we have such clean, clear waters

0:54:070:54:12

and we're on the edge of the Atlantic and the North Sea.

0:54:120:54:16

There's the cold water coming from the north

0:54:160:54:18

and your warm Gulf Stream coming up.

0:54:180:54:19

And long days of sunlight and daylight.

0:54:190:54:24

After it's harvested, the edible seaweed is washed,

0:54:240:54:29

dried for around 24 hours

0:54:290:54:32

and then milled down to different grades of powder or flakes,

0:54:320:54:35

ready for consumption.

0:54:350:54:36

Here you go.

0:54:380:54:39

Next time I see this, it will be on my plate.

0:54:390:54:43

It's lovely and warm in here.

0:54:440:54:46

It's low in calories, full of vitamins, minerals and trace elements

0:54:460:54:51

and demand for Margaret and Michael's seaweed is on the up.

0:54:510:54:54

But what can you do with it?

0:54:540:54:56

I was hoping for a seaweed picnic on the beach,

0:54:560:54:59

but the Shetland weather has forced me inside

0:54:590:55:02

to meet local chef, Glynn Wright.

0:55:020:55:05

We've wrapped the scallops in seaweed, sea lettuce.

0:55:050:55:10

Mmm!

0:55:100:55:12

That's got amazing flavour.

0:55:120:55:14

Normally I find scallops a little bit bland,

0:55:140:55:16

but that's got a nice kick.

0:55:160:55:18

This is scones.

0:55:180:55:19

It's just butter and flour and egg mixed up and some seaweed through it

0:55:190:55:22

to get the nutrients and the goodness out of that.

0:55:220:55:25

This is cheese with seaweed through it as well,

0:55:250:55:28

a few different kinds of seaweed.

0:55:280:55:30

It's called bourach and bourach is an old Shetland name for a cow.

0:55:300:55:34

It makes it taste kind of green.

0:55:340:55:36

What do you find people's reactions are to it?

0:55:360:55:38

Sometimes they go, "Oh, seaweed, no,"

0:55:380:55:40

because they think it's just something that lies on the beach,

0:55:400:55:43

but once it gets at this stage, it's a totally different thing.

0:55:430:55:46

-It's a seasoning.

-And even in sweet things.

0:55:460:55:49

This is Shetland fudge and you can see the bits of seaweed in it.

0:55:490:55:53

-You don't call it fudge, do you?

-Tablet.

0:55:530:55:54

It sounds almost medicinal, but clearly isn't!

0:55:540:55:57

Yes, it's full of goodness. It's got the benefit of seaweed in, so...

0:55:570:56:00

-It fills in part of my five a day!

-Yeah.

-Lovely.

0:56:000:56:03

There's not a lot of things that it can't be used in.

0:56:080:56:10

Your imagination really is the end of it.

0:56:100:56:12

Wow, that is just what I need after sitting out in that rain.

0:56:120:56:16

We always see if you want the weather to change in Shetland,

0:56:160:56:18

-just wait a minute and it will change.

-I love that.

0:56:180:56:21

Well, that is it from a now very wet Shetland Islands.

0:56:220:56:26

Next week, we will be all the way down south in Essex,

0:56:260:56:29

where Julia will be negotiating fast tides and quicksand

0:56:290:56:33

as she takes on one of Britain's toughest coastal paths

0:56:330:56:37

and I will be helping community groups

0:56:370:56:39

convert brownfield sites into wildlife havens.

0:56:390:56:41

See you then.

0:56:410:56:43

Subtitles by Red Bee Media Ltd

0:56:590:57:02

Download Subtitles

SRT

ASS