Waterworlds Compilation Countryfile


Waterworlds Compilation

Helen Skelton is at Kielder Water in Northumberland, exploring the ways in which water shapes our lives. Plus watery worlds from the Countryfile archive.


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Transcript


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Water is our most precious natural resource.

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There's not a plant or animal on earth that can do without it.

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Our landscape is shaped by it.

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Livelihoods depend on it.

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Water provides homes for wildlife.

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It's a place for recreation and a source of inspiration.

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Today, I'll be exploring the mighty Kielder Water

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and finding out how the wet stuff shapes our lives.

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We'll also meander through the archives,

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dipping a toe into previous watery worlds we've explored.

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We'll travel the UK, looking at rivers and reservoirs...

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..lochs, lakes and canals, and the life that ripples through them.

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From the time Ellie enjoyed the birdlife,

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as she paddled along the River Bann...

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They look like sentry men.

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-Yeah, exactly.

-Waiting, knowing there's food underneath.

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..when Anita visited the world's first artificial surfing lake...

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Paddle, paddle, paddle!

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Woohoo!

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..and when Adam met a farmer

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who spent more time on a boat than a tractor.

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-This has got to be a pretty unusual job in farming.

-Yes, pretty unique.

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There's not many farmers go to work on a boat, I'm sure.

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But that's the beauty of it, you're out here every day on the lough.

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Water is essential to life.

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And nowhere in the UK has more of it than this place -

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Kielder Water in Northumberland.

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In fact, it holds more than any other man-made lake

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in Northern Europe - 200 billion litres.

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Like many of our reservoirs,

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it was created to meet the demands of a booming industrial economy.

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Looking at this vast body of water now,

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it is hard to imagine that not that long ago,

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it was a valley full of villages and farms.

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In 1975, though, the building of that dam

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changed this landscape forever.

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Plans for the reservoir swept away all before it.

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Local people living in the valley

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lost their homes and farms to the water.

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At 5.5 miles long and 52 metres at its deepest point,

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it took almost two years to fill up.

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Jonty Hall is truly part of Kielder's history.

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Not only is he the facilities manager

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but, as a boy, he pushed the button to flood the reservoir

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before it was officially opened by the Queen in 1982.

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I congratulate all those who play a part in the conception

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and construction and management of the scheme.

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APPLAUSE

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I'm meeting him underneath the reservoir,

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in the belly of the beast.

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Well, this is some tunnel.

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So we are underneath the reservoir.

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-Yeah.

-How much water is above our heads?

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So above our heads, roughly about 50 metres.

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I've just got short of breath!

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There's definitely no cracks down here, is there?

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Well, no. No, it's really well looked after, believe me.

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-Yeah.

-And that is your job, but way back when,

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it was your job to help this dam start backing up in the first place.

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Yeah, so back in 1979,

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I was chosen because I was the oldest kid at Kielder School,

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so I was chosen to press the button.

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And did you, at the time, appreciate what a big deal that was?

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Yeah, I think I did. I mean, nine years old,

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travelling up and down the valley

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and seeing all of the work taking place,

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and hearing your mum and your dad talking about it and everybody else,

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so it was, it was a massive thing back then.

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How did the news go down that the valley would be flooded?

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It was met with a bit of optimism, but also a bit of...

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It's a white elephant, you know.

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Is the water really needed?

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So, for the people who lived in the valley,

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this valley was going to be flooded,

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and the house where they grew up

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or where they lived was going to be basically covered in water,

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and they were never, ever going to be able to go back

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-and see that again.

-So what happened to those people?

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They were compensated for losing their property and their land,

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and they also built some new houses down on Falstone,

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and they had the chance to buy those properties.

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Obviously now, a couple of generations on,

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how is the reservoir received locally now?

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Now it's looked at...

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A major provider.

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Kielder can supply water to 80% of the north-east.

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We never have any water restrictions or hosepipe bans.

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It's certainly an impressive structure.

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I feel like I'm in a James Bond film,

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but I'm definitely more comfortable above the surface.

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-Can we go back up?

-Of course we can, yeah.

-Lead the way.

-Off we go.

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So, if this place supplies eight out of ten homes in the north-east,

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I bet Matt Baker grew up drinking water from Kielder.

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The reservoir here not only provides a life source for locals,

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but a whole host of wildlife.

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I'll be hearing more about that a bit later on.

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But first, we're off to Scotland.

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A while back, Matt visited the stunning Loch Lomond.

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On one of its tiny islands, he met some rather unusual farmers

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who made the most of their watery surroundings.

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Loch Lomond is the largest freshwater lake in the UK,

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covering around 27 square miles.

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And what better way to explore this place than in one of these?

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Wow. The nose goes up slightly as the power kicks in.

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This seaplane flies regularly from Glasgow to Loch Lomond,

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and with water for a runway,

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we can take off and land wherever we like.

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David West is my pilot.

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David, you've flown jumbos all over the world,

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so how does zipping around here in a seaplane on Loch Lomond compare?

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I've got to tell you, um...

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-..I love this.

-Do you?

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THEY LAUGH

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I'm not saying any more than that, I absolutely adore this.

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It's that mix of seamanship, airmanship,

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and look at the landscape.

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It's just amazing, it really is.

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It is the oddest feeling as we're coming into land that we're just...

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We're heading in to water.

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-And we're on.

-Thank you so much.

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No, it's a pleasure to have your company.

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The loch is dotted with many small islands,

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some of which are no bigger than a rock.

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Only two are inhabited, and having got the lie of the land,

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I've dropped in on the smaller of the two, Inchtavannach.

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I'm meeting some four-legged island residents and their owners -

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the appropriately named Roy Rogers and his partner, Susan Gell.

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Apparently, their horses like nothing better

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than a swim in the loch.

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But first, I need to get to know the animals better.

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Roy, how are you doing? All right?

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-Hello.

-Good to see you. Is there room for a small one in there?

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-Yes, absolutely.

-I'm sure she'll let you join us.

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Hello, my darling.

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-This is Rosa.

-Rosa.

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I have to say, Roy, you have the most incredible existence.

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Of all of the farms and the crofts that I've visited, this one,

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it has to be one of the most exciting.

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-How big is the island?

-It's about 200 acres,

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it's about a mile long, roughly, by a quarter of a mile wide.

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Is there anyone else on it, then?

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-Apart from yourself?

-No, just us. Just us.

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-Just how we like it.

-Just you and the horses. Ah!

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I think, well, for me, it's...

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To give you an idea, my parents always said I'd be a recluse

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when I was a kid,

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when I was brought up for a while in the Highlands in Scotland.

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And horses came along quite late in life,

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I was 48 before I started with horses.

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Right. And is that where the swimming comes from, then?

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-Because...

-Sort of.

-..you've got a stretch of water

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between you and the mainland,

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so you've got to get from one to the other.

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Well, it sort of came in that way, as I'd certainly seen, you know,

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these types of people who work with horses

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doing that sort of thing, and they just do it naturally.

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-Yeah.

-But it was primarily because we wanted to get to the other side!

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THEY LAUGH

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Aren't you a beautiful girl?

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She's saying, "Can I go for a swim?"

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Well, it's not your turn today, is it?

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No, it'll be Shoshoni getting her regular swimming exercise

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in a very fresh loch.

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Is that you being acclimatised, Susan?

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Or Shoshoni?

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HE LAUGHS

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-Is it nippy?

-Just a bit.

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Seems like a very long way away, Roy.

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No, only takes about four minutes or so.

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And Shoshoni's a pretty powerful swimmer, so it won't take long.

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-Yeah.

-We have literally swum hundreds of them there.

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In the winter, though?

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-Yeah, actually, we've done it at all times.

-In the winter as well, yeah?

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Yeah, we've done it with the snow coming down and all sorts.

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Susan's not so keen these days!

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-If Susan's got to get in the water, I'm not surprised!

-Yes.

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Whoa, this is the moment.

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Here we go, it's getting deeper.

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And she's swimming now, is she?

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-Yeah.

-There she is.

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What a good girl!

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And so the technique here, Susan, is just,

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what, just to keep her straight with the lead?

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Yes. The main thing is, when we first started swimming,

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they try and use the boat as a little safety zone,

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so we usually have to push them out away from the boat,

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and it's getting the distance from the boat that's the important thing.

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And, I mean, it is a wonderful form of exercise, this, anyway, isn't it?

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Oh, it's absolutely brilliant, yeah.

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If you've got a lame horse, you can just keep them fit by swimming.

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She sounds like she's taking quite a lot of air there!

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-SNORTING

-Yeah.

-She's OK, though?

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Yeah? That's the way they breathe. Because they close,

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they swallow, so they hold themselves...

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You know yourself, when you swallow, you do that.

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And then they're breathing through their nose...

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-Oh, OK.

-..rather than through their mouths.

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Almost there. It's an incredible rate that she's swimming at.

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She swims fairly fast.

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Some of the other horses swim a lot slower than her.

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-Yeah.

-She's one of the fastest.

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And you can see as well, she's very buoyant in the water.

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Her bum sticks up in the water.

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That's it, yeah, yeah.

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Some of the horses, they sink quite low down.

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Yeah, yeah. And I think she's got her feet down now, has she?

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-Yeah, that's her down now.

-She has?

-The loch's quite high just now.

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Normally this little bit's all land.

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Back in Northumberland, my exploration of Kielder continues.

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And there's a lot of ground to cover.

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The reservoir holds more water

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than any other man-made lake in Northern Europe.

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And it's surrounded by the UK's biggest man-made forest.

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Which is a winning combination when it comes to wildlife.

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Crossbills, ospreys, otters all thrive here.

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In fact, it's home to half of Britain's red squirrel population.

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One species did completely die out, but after 30 years,

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Ratty is making a return.

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Water voles were once a common sight at Kielder Water, but by the 1990s,

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they'd pretty much disappeared.

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More than 90% of our water vole population has died out,

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making them the UK's fastest-declining land mammal.

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But locals here will soon see them back on the banks.

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The Restoring Ratty project here at Kielder

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is the UK's biggest-ever reintroduction

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of the endangered species to one location.

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The Forestry Commission,

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the Tyne Rivers Trust and the Northumberland Wildlife Trust

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are all working together to make it happen.

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I'm hoping Paul Pickett can tell me more

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about why they vanished in the first place.

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There's two main reasons. The first reason is habitat loss.

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Fragmentation due to tree planting right up to the water's edge

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stopped the water vole colonising new areas.

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The second reason is mink.

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They devastated the watercourses here.

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And they just kill everything, they're such an efficient killer.

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And how important are water voles to this ecosystem?

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They're really important, because they provide a food source.

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Everything eats water voles.

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Herons will eat water voles, otters will take water voles.

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They're a really important food source.

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And they're important botanically, as well.

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Because they will carry seed and plant matter into the burrows

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and spread plants up and down the river system.

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So they're good for diversity, as well.

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What's the state of play with mink?

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Is it safe to reintroduce water voles now?

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That's a really good question. The mink seem to have disappeared.

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We've been surveying here.

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Why? Probably because they're a product

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of their own success, really.

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They've depleted their food source.

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There probably is still one or two about, but not in any great numbers.

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So how confident are you about reintroducing water voles?

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Extremely confident now.

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We've got thousands of hectares of open space, areas like this,

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wetland areas, we've got bogs,

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we've got mires in the forest and they're ideal for water voles now.

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The project started two years ago,

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and there have already been nearly 600 water voles

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released back to Kielder's waters.

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Healthy animals were donated from sites in the North Pennines,

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the North York Moors and The Trossachs in Scotland,

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where their numbers are high.

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They were then taken down to Devon to breed,

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before they returned to the watery world here at Kielder.

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But to make sure their future is safe,

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the Restoring Ratty team need to keep monitoring

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for the presence of mink.

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OK, what have we got here?

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This is one of the wildlife platforms

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that we've put in around the north of the forest,

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in all the river systems.

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And they're basically just to check for mink.

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-OK.

-That was their original use.

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Is there any chance there's been a mink in there?

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We can have a look. We can certainly have a look.

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Oh. So what is that?

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It's just a...

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Basically, it's a basket that sits in the water to keep moist.

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It's an oasis, and a sand-and-clay mix on top.

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So it's great. If anything goes over, it leaves a really good print.

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Right.

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-And a really obvious print, as well. So there's nothing on there.

-No.

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I wouldn't expect there to be in this weather, to be honest.

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-OK.

-During the summer, we'll have more rafts out.

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Probably 100 rafts throughout the north of the forest.

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And we also have camera traps, as well.

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These are working 24 hours.

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So if anything appears, then we've got it, and we know what's there.

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So, an exciting time for the water voles, hopefully?

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-Yeah. Certainly will be, yeah.

-Roll on, spring.

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-Roll on, the spring.

-And lots and lots of baby water voles.

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Finding ways to live alongside wildlife can only be a good thing.

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And last summer, Anita visited Woodberry Wetlands,

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a reservoir in the heart of Hackney in North London,

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where drinking water and wildlife are natural neighbours.

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Once upon a time, this place was all barbed wire and fences,

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but lucky Londoners have just gained access to it for the first time

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in more than 180 years.

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Built in the 19th century,

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the reservoir was always closed to the public.

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Until recently.

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Working with Thames Water,

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London Wildlife Trust has carefully built an urban oasis.

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One local lad taking full advantage of the new access is Nathan Legall.

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So, Nathan, a Londoner born and bred and now a wildlife ranger.

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Yeah. I'm here, working on the reserve

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and helping to protect this for nature and for local people.

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Why is it so important to have something like this

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in the heart of a city?

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So, green space in London is very precious.

0:17:120:17:16

When you come from the main road,

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you would not expect to see this spectacle of wildlife

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that we have here.

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People always come here and when they come through the main entrance,

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they have to stand there just simply in awe.

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Having a reserve like this

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right in the heart of London is almost unheard of.

0:17:280:17:32

Yeah.

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We're in zone two of London,

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literally, get off the Tube at Manor House, zone two,

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and walk ten minutes down the road, and here you are.

0:17:370:17:39

You could put it on your tourist trail of London, couldn't you?

0:17:390:17:42

You could go and see Buckingham Palace,

0:17:420:17:44

Houses of Parliament, jump on a Tube, Woodberry Wetland Reserve.

0:17:440:17:47

-Absolute must-see.

-SHE LAUGHS

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This group of grandparents and grandchildren

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visit as often as possible.

0:17:550:17:57

So, Carol, how important is it to have this on your doorstep?

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It's really important.

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Some of these children, well, most of the children haven't got gardens.

0:18:010:18:04

They haven't got these facilities,

0:18:040:18:06

and we're very fortunate and we've never looked back.

0:18:060:18:08

We come here about twice a week

0:18:080:18:10

and the children love it.

0:18:100:18:12

They get so much out of it, it's untrue, you know.

0:18:120:18:15

This is the garden that I never had.

0:18:150:18:17

-What have we got?

-A snail.

0:18:180:18:20

A snail?

0:18:200:18:22

There we go.

0:18:220:18:23

There's one local resident with a view I can't wait to see.

0:18:240:18:29

Daphne Hart has lived here for nearly 40 years.

0:18:290:18:32

-Amazing.

-Wait till I open the window.

0:18:320:18:35

-There you go.

-Wow.

0:18:360:18:38

What an incredible view.

0:18:380:18:40

Yeah. I love it. I absolutely love it.

0:18:400:18:42

I don't have to go for a ride to the country.

0:18:420:18:46

I've got it all here. I've got the greenery, I've got the water.

0:18:460:18:49

Words can't explain how I feel.

0:18:500:18:52

I think it's phantasmagorical.

0:18:520:18:54

-SHE LAUGHS

-My own words, I think...

0:18:540:18:57

-That's a great word.

-It is. It is wonderful,

0:18:570:19:00

and whoever comes up here cannot believe,

0:19:000:19:03

that, you know, with this view...

0:19:030:19:04

-Mm.

-My mother used to say, when she used to come up here,

0:19:040:19:08

she said, "You need never be depressed.

0:19:080:19:10

"Because you look out this window and you have all the four seasons."

0:19:100:19:14

And I feel so privileged to be able to live here.

0:19:140:19:17

You are very, very lucky.

0:19:170:19:19

-Yeah.

-Now let's just have a look at the wildlife.

0:19:190:19:21

-Yeah.

-Look at those beautiful birds.

-Yeah, yeah, yeah.

0:19:210:19:23

-And we're in London. You know...

-That's...

0:19:230:19:26

I can't believe we're in Hackney.

0:19:260:19:28

-Yeah.

-I can't believe it.

0:19:280:19:30

-Would you ever move?

-Never.

0:19:300:19:32

Never, never, never, never.

0:19:320:19:34

-Never move.

-I don't live too far away,

0:19:340:19:36

so I'm going to pop in for a cup of tea every now and again, just for...

0:19:360:19:39

For the conversation, obviously.

0:19:390:19:40

-Oh, shut up.

-The company and...

-Yeah, yeah, yeah, schmoozer!

0:19:400:19:43

THEY LAUGH

0:19:430:19:45

What an unexpected gem right in the heart of the city.

0:19:540:19:58

We're off to County Antrim in Northern Ireland now,

0:20:030:20:06

where you never seem to be too far away from water.

0:20:060:20:09

A while ago, Ellie was there on a wildlife safari,

0:20:090:20:12

taking in the waterfowl and fish that thrive in its rivers and lochs.

0:20:120:20:17

This beautiful river is the Lower Bann,

0:20:200:20:22

stretching 36 miles along the boundary

0:20:220:20:26

of Londonderry and Antrim,

0:20:260:20:28

and there's only one way to see it.

0:20:280:20:30

Boosting my paddle power are Robin and Chris,

0:20:300:20:33

who've been messing about in boats here for years.

0:20:330:20:35

I'm ready.

0:20:350:20:37

So when you're paddling, Ellie,

0:20:370:20:38

just do, like, a stroke and then let it glide almost for a while.

0:20:380:20:41

-You see how quick we're going now without even paddling.

-Yeah.

0:20:410:20:44

Are these sand martins here?

0:20:460:20:48

-I think so, yeah, yeah.

-Yeah?

-Yeah.

0:20:480:20:50

The River Bann is famed for its birdlife.

0:20:520:20:55

Even here, where it feels quite industrial,

0:20:580:21:00

it's still very much surrounded by nature.

0:21:000:21:02

Yeah, plenty of greenery here, isn't there?

0:21:020:21:04

Indeed.

0:21:040:21:05

Once an important route for commerce,

0:21:060:21:08

these days, the river is a great place for leisure.

0:21:080:21:12

My guide, Chris Scott, helped create the Lower Bann Canoe Trail,

0:21:120:21:16

which we're following today.

0:21:160:21:17

As we approach the eel fishery,

0:21:200:21:22

I can't help feeling we're being watched.

0:21:220:21:24

There are five herons circling around here.

0:21:250:21:27

They know that there's food in there for them.

0:21:270:21:29

Yeah, definitely looking for a snack, all right.

0:21:290:21:31

There's six herons now. Yeah, they're all over.

0:21:310:21:34

Look at them all lined up like that!

0:21:350:21:36

They look like sentry men.

0:21:360:21:38

Yeah, exactly. Statues.

0:21:380:21:39

Statues, waiting, knowing there's food underneath.

0:21:390:21:42

That's amazing.

0:21:420:21:43

All of a sudden we're in the countryside.

0:21:540:21:56

Goes from grey to green very quickly.

0:21:560:21:58

-Yeah, yeah.

-Chris, have you done the trail?

0:21:580:22:00

I have indeed, yeah. It's a fantastic trip now.

0:22:000:22:02

How long is it?

0:22:020:22:04

I always say to people, you know, you can do it in two days at a push,

0:22:040:22:07

but, you know, why not do it in three, and spend two nights?

0:22:070:22:09

There's some gorgeous campsites along the way,

0:22:090:22:11

so you can really chill out and take it all in.

0:22:110:22:14

-How long did you do it in?

-I did it in three.

0:22:140:22:16

-Enjoyed it, took your time.

-Absolutely.

0:22:160:22:19

And that's really what this trip's about,

0:22:220:22:24

taking your time to take it all in.

0:22:240:22:27

I've seen more herons here than I've ever seen before.

0:22:290:22:31

-Yeah.

-It's good...

0:22:310:22:33

I think we take it for granted now, the herons, actually.

0:22:330:22:35

-Yeah.

-It's funny you saying it.

0:22:350:22:37

It's a sign that there's loads of food.

0:22:370:22:38

It's great.

0:22:380:22:40

This is so blissful.

0:22:400:22:42

This is my mindful moment right here.

0:22:430:22:46

Wildlife water.

0:22:460:22:47

Amazing place to breathe.

0:22:490:22:52

I love it.

0:22:520:22:53

I could do this all day.

0:22:540:22:56

But first, I make a stop near Portnagh, a busy holiday-makers hub.

0:22:580:23:02

I'm meeting Stephen Douglas from Waterways Ireland,

0:23:030:23:06

who is going to tell me about the river's past.

0:23:060:23:10

Stephen, how are you doing?

0:23:100:23:11

-Hello, Ellie. Nice to meet you.

-You too. I've been on a great journey.

0:23:110:23:14

It's the same sort of paddle strokes

0:23:140:23:16

that would've been made 10,000 years ago,

0:23:160:23:18

when man first settled in Ireland, along the lower banks of the Bann.

0:23:180:23:21

So they were hunter gatherers,

0:23:210:23:23

and they would've used the canoes

0:23:230:23:24

and skin boats to travel upstream to hunt and fish.

0:23:240:23:28

These flints are typical of the hoard of flints that has been found,

0:23:280:23:32

actually, along the River Bann.

0:23:320:23:34

-Oh, yeah.

-There's a real history there.

0:23:340:23:36

The river became important again in the mid-1800s as a commercial route.

0:23:370:23:42

The locks that were built to allow freight survive to this day.

0:23:420:23:46

The stone delivered on-site

0:23:460:23:48

and would've had to have been handcrafted

0:23:480:23:50

by the stonemasons on-site.

0:23:500:23:52

And you can see how good a job they have done.

0:23:520:23:54

And standing up well to the test of time.

0:23:540:23:56

Absolutely, 160 years later in a water-based environment.

0:23:560:23:59

-Yeah.

-It's a testament to the skill and craftsmanship

0:23:590:24:02

of the people who constructed the locks.

0:24:020:24:04

Absolutely. But this lock, it's a little bit worse for wear.

0:24:040:24:07

It's seen some years' use, this one.

0:24:070:24:09

Well, you're absolutely right, Ellie.

0:24:090:24:11

This is one that we've programmed for replacement, and, in fact,

0:24:110:24:14

we're constructing a new balance beam for this

0:24:140:24:16

in our shed across the way.

0:24:160:24:18

Inside the 21st century work shed, a little piece of history.

0:24:220:24:26

Hi, there. How are you doing?

0:24:280:24:29

-Hi, Ellie. How are you?

-I'm all right, thanks.

0:24:290:24:31

-I'm good.

-Good.

-These plans look pretty old.

0:24:310:24:33

Yes, they are. They're very old.

0:24:330:24:35

The plan of the gate, actually,

0:24:350:24:36

was originally back in the sort of late 1800s.

0:24:360:24:40

Wow.

0:24:400:24:41

And then the reprint in 1931.

0:24:410:24:43

-So these are the best plans for the job.

-Yes.

-Pretty much.

0:24:430:24:46

-Feet and inches, yeah.

-Feet and inches, so old units, as well.

0:24:460:24:49

Yeah.

0:24:490:24:51

Some safety goggs.

0:24:510:24:53

-Yes.

-Right, what's this?

0:24:530:24:55

This is for the big crossbeams that go in.

0:24:550:24:57

-So it's got to be accurate?

-Yes, have to be accurate.

0:24:570:24:59

Dead on. OK, so that one's done.

0:24:590:25:01

-That one's in the process.

-This is how they would do it.

0:25:010:25:03

This is probably how they would have done it years and years ago.

0:25:030:25:06

Still a hammer and chisel, pretty much?

0:25:060:25:07

Still a hammer and chisel at this stage.

0:25:070:25:09

-Would you like to have a go now?

-Yeah, I would.

0:25:090:25:11

-OK.

-I can't go wrong, can I?

0:25:110:25:14

-No.

-Not today, please.

0:25:140:25:16

OK.

0:25:160:25:17

Oh, I'm not going anywhere.

0:25:170:25:19

Let's get digging.

0:25:190:25:20

OK. I bet I get some lush splinters out of this.

0:25:240:25:27

-Yeah.

-I love splinters.

0:25:270:25:29

There's still plenty of work to do,

0:25:320:25:34

but it's time for me to be on my way.

0:25:340:25:36

From the rivers of County Antrim to the lakes of Snowdonia now,

0:25:470:25:51

where Joe met an artist for whom water is not just an inspiration,

0:25:510:25:55

but also an integral part of his work.

0:25:550:25:58

We all love to walk through picturesque landscape

0:26:090:26:12

and take in the beauty of the place,

0:26:120:26:14

but do we really appreciate all that we encounter?

0:26:140:26:18

Well, I've come here to Snowdonia to meet an artist

0:26:180:26:20

whose work is truly connected to the landscape

0:26:200:26:23

and intended to give passers-by an enhanced vision

0:26:230:26:25

of the world around them.

0:26:250:26:27

Anthony Garratt is a contemporary artist who's renowned

0:26:330:26:36

for his large-scale outdoor installations.

0:26:360:26:39

He creates these dramatic works in the landscapes

0:26:390:26:42

where they are ultimately displayed.

0:26:420:26:44

He's taking on his greatest challenge to date.

0:26:440:26:47

Two paintings, High and Low,

0:26:470:26:49

will be exhibited in two contrasting locations here in Snowdonia.

0:26:490:26:53

-Anthony, how are you doing?

-Hi, Joe, very well. How are you?

0:26:540:26:56

-Good to see you.

-And you.

0:26:560:26:57

This looks amazing. And an epic backdrop, as well.

0:26:570:27:01

It is an epic backdrop. Yeah, you've got these beautiful mountains

0:27:010:27:04

at the top and then this aggressive quarry at the bottom.

0:27:040:27:06

-It's an exciting spot.

-Tell me the idea behind this.

0:27:060:27:09

Very rare to see a painting exhibited outdoors.

0:27:090:27:12

It's a unique way of seeing a painting

0:27:120:27:14

because the weather changes each day.

0:27:140:27:16

It has a life of its own and it's open to everyone as well.

0:27:160:27:19

So there's no hiding it away in a white box.

0:27:190:27:21

This is out for everyone to see.

0:27:210:27:23

So these will be exhibited outside for how long?

0:27:230:27:25

For weeks, months?

0:27:250:27:26

So this project is called High and Low

0:27:260:27:28

and it's going to be exhibited for about five months,

0:27:280:27:31

one on the flanks of Mount Snowdon on a lake,

0:27:310:27:33

and this one is going to be hanging down in a slate cavern

0:27:330:27:35

500 feet underground.

0:27:350:27:37

So they explore the highs and the lows of Snowdonia

0:27:370:27:39

and the heritage of the mining, as well.

0:27:390:27:41

So on Snowdon, you've got the old copper mine

0:27:410:27:43

and here, you've got the slate-mining industry,

0:27:430:27:45

so that's a nice tie as well.

0:27:450:27:47

-Look, I want to see you work.

-Yeah.

0:27:470:27:48

-Get stuck in.

-So I can get painting.

0:27:480:27:51

For Anthony, it's important to use natural materials

0:27:540:27:57

connected to the landscape, such as copper and slate.

0:27:570:28:00

-Perfect. There we go.

-I'd hang it up now.

0:28:010:28:03

It looks great!

0:28:030:28:05

I'll have to get you to sign this.

0:28:060:28:09

You OK there for a couple of hours?

0:28:090:28:11

Yeah, this is probably where I'm most useful, I think.

0:28:110:28:13

This painting represents the low part of the project

0:28:160:28:19

and will be displayed in the belly of Llechwedd Slate Mine.

0:28:190:28:22

It's not just Anthony working on these installations.

0:28:270:28:30

He has a team of more than 20 people

0:28:300:28:32

helping him realise his final vision.

0:28:320:28:34

Anthony's other painting, High, is finished and ready to put in place.

0:28:360:28:40

We are carrying it to its final destination,

0:28:410:28:44

floating on the Lake Llyn Llydaw,

0:28:440:28:45

under the shadow of Mount Snowdon.

0:28:450:28:48

Let's take a look at it.

0:28:490:28:50

This is your moving team.

0:28:510:28:53

-It is indeed.

-Hello, everyone. ALL:

-Hi.

0:28:530:28:55

Everyone feeling strong?

0:28:550:28:56

-Yeah, yeah.

-So how far has it got to go?

0:28:560:28:59

-Half a mile.

-Half a mile?

0:28:590:29:02

Right, shall we give it a go, then?

0:29:020:29:03

200 years ago, miners walked this track,

0:29:070:29:10

and, being true to the history of the place,

0:29:100:29:12

the team are following in their footsteps,

0:29:120:29:14

transporting the painting to its new home.

0:29:140:29:16

Brilliant. Thanks very much, everyone.

0:29:210:29:23

And we're down. Good job.

0:29:230:29:26

Anthony, carrying it around there really hits home

0:29:260:29:28

that this is a team effort. This isn't about a solo artist.

0:29:280:29:31

The painting is quite a small element

0:29:310:29:33

of the whole project, really.

0:29:330:29:34

I mean, there's a couple of shipwrights, Mark and Loz,

0:29:340:29:36

who have been designing and building this for months.

0:29:360:29:39

It's taken a lot of effort from a big team, which is great.

0:29:390:29:42

So the final thing is to launch a massive painting

0:29:420:29:44

into the middle of a lake?

0:29:440:29:46

Indeed, just beneath the summit of Snowdon.

0:29:460:29:48

-You don't see that very often, do you?

-Exactly.

0:29:480:29:50

-I'm excited.

-Right, let's crack on.

0:29:500:29:53

The shipwrights, Mark and Loz, are getting ready

0:29:540:29:56

for the launch at the water's edge.

0:29:560:29:58

-Hi, guys. How's it going?

-Hi.

-Good.

0:29:580:30:00

So this frame here that's going to hold the canvas

0:30:000:30:02

is your construction?

0:30:020:30:03

It is, yeah. This was quite a big challenge, yeah.

0:30:030:30:06

Because we had to keep it light, so it could all be carried up.

0:30:060:30:09

You've seen all the carrying that's gone on.

0:30:090:30:11

-Yeah.

-We're going to get all this lot set up by the water's edge.

0:30:110:30:14

-OK.

-And then get ready to do some more lifting.

0:30:140:30:17

-And carrying.

-Shall we have a go at getting it down to the lake, then?

0:30:170:30:20

-Can we get some more help?

-Yes, let's do, wave some people in.

0:30:200:30:23

So now we need the painting.

0:30:230:30:24

-Oh, yeah, the painting.

-We're going to pick it up.

0:30:240:30:26

-Yeah.

-Take it down to the framework.

0:30:260:30:28

Take it flat down.

0:30:280:30:29

And then we'll stand it up,

0:30:290:30:31

and then we'll make the rest up when we get there.

0:30:310:30:33

-And then who knows?

-Who knows? Indeed.

0:30:330:30:36

One, two, three.

0:30:360:30:37

This is such a surreal view,

0:30:390:30:41

looking out across this giant artwork

0:30:410:30:43

and just seeing five heads around me.

0:30:430:30:46

And up. Somebody get ready with the clamp.

0:30:460:30:48

It's taken so much effort to get to this moment,

0:30:490:30:52

but will it actually float?

0:30:520:30:54

There she blows!

0:31:010:31:02

It's a curious sight, watching this giant canvas glide across the lake,

0:31:060:31:11

and, after all the hard work, it's finally in place.

0:31:110:31:16

-So there it is.

-It is.

0:31:160:31:17

You must be very proud?

0:31:170:31:19

Yeah, it feels amazing. I'm sort of fed up with looking at the painting,

0:31:190:31:22

so it's quite nice to have it out there! But it looks amazing.

0:31:220:31:26

It shows it had to be that big.

0:31:260:31:27

It's the biggest freestanding canvas you've ever worked on.

0:31:270:31:30

Yeah, it's huge, but it does look small.

0:31:300:31:33

Wow. Well done.

0:31:330:31:35

-Thank you.

-Good work.

-Thanks for your help.

0:31:350:31:38

I'm pleased it's worked out so well. It's beautiful.

0:31:380:31:40

It's not just in Wales

0:31:490:31:51

where art, water and the landscape have joined forces.

0:31:510:31:55

Kielder Water here in Northumberland

0:31:550:31:57

has inspired many with its watery charms.

0:31:570:32:00

Kielder has been inspiring artists for years,

0:32:070:32:10

and, dotted throughout this landscape,

0:32:100:32:12

there are a series of really interesting sculptures.

0:32:120:32:15

Lots of them have a special relationship with water.

0:32:150:32:17

Like the Wave Chamber here.

0:32:220:32:24

Peter Sharpe is the curator.

0:32:260:32:28

He commissioned this and many of the works on the water.

0:32:280:32:31

Tell me about the wave chamber, then.

0:32:330:32:35

Well, what it does is it captures the light off the waves,

0:32:350:32:39

so it's a camera obscura.

0:32:390:32:41

It's got a lens and a mirror at the top

0:32:410:32:42

and the light bouncing off the waves out there

0:32:420:32:45

gets projected inside,

0:32:450:32:47

so you get your own little Cinemascope display in there

0:32:470:32:50

when you shut the door.

0:32:500:32:52

It's very, very dark, and you have to get your eyes used to it.

0:32:520:32:55

So what's the idea, then?

0:32:550:32:56

Is it to get people to get a different experience of the water?

0:32:560:32:58

Yeah, when the artist came here,

0:32:580:33:00

he was really interested in the way the light

0:33:000:33:02

sort of bounces off the waves,

0:33:020:33:03

so what he wanted to do was to sort of isolate that experience.

0:33:030:33:07

-Well, there's a sensational light out here...

-Fantastic.

0:33:070:33:09

..but I'm going to see if I can enjoy a bit of focus.

0:33:090:33:13

Right, so, we go in.

0:33:130:33:15

Shut the door.

0:33:190:33:20

So the idea is just to focus on what we can hear, and...?

0:33:220:33:26

Yeah, and wait for your eyes to adjust to the light.

0:33:260:33:28

We needed a bit more sun,

0:33:330:33:35

but with a bit of creative licence, you get the idea.

0:33:350:33:38

A place like this really makes those senses just open up.

0:33:410:33:44

-Let's go.

-Out we go.

0:33:460:33:48

It is very dark in there,

0:33:480:33:50

but it kind of makes you focus down, doesn't it,

0:33:500:33:53

and just think about one thing?

0:33:530:33:55

It does. I think it's very easy to just sort of move too quickly

0:33:550:33:58

through the landscape and not really stop and look.

0:33:580:34:02

It's an experience, isn't it?

0:34:020:34:04

It is. It is.

0:34:040:34:05

Many of the works here are by internationally famous artists,

0:34:060:34:10

and they provide an unexpected surprise

0:34:100:34:12

when spotted from the water.

0:34:120:34:14

Do you need art in a stunning landscape like this?

0:34:160:34:19

It's beautiful, anyway.

0:34:190:34:21

It's interesting, having installations

0:34:210:34:25

that also act as vantage points or shelters or seating.

0:34:250:34:30

They help kind of focus the environment so...

0:34:300:34:32

..one of the things that the artworks do here

0:34:340:34:36

is that they provide different ways of thinking about the landscape.

0:34:360:34:40

We're just seeing a belvedere appearing here.

0:34:430:34:46

-OK.

-That piece of work looks like a very tiny little jewel

0:34:460:34:49

in the distance, but when you're up close, it's got a lot of presence.

0:34:490:34:52

Look at that. That's cool!

0:34:520:34:54

It's quite an unusual thing.

0:34:540:34:55

The flash of orange in the distance is called 5502.

0:34:570:35:01

They built it, and it's, like, walls and seats and a kind of roof,

0:35:020:35:06

but they're facing in different directions

0:35:060:35:08

so the reason it's kind of orange, kind of red like that,

0:35:080:35:11

is they wanted to make it feel like

0:35:110:35:13

it was a very manufactured sort of industrial structure,

0:35:130:35:16

and they describe it as a sort of manufactured architecture

0:35:160:35:19

in a manufactured landscape, so it's a sort of reflection on the fact

0:35:190:35:23

that all of the landscape around here

0:35:230:35:25

is all designed on a computer, really.

0:35:250:35:27

-It's man-made, isn't it, yeah?

-Man-made.

0:35:270:35:29

It would take days to get around all of the sculptures on these shores,

0:35:310:35:36

but one of my favourites puts me back on dry land.

0:35:360:35:39

This is Silvas Capitalis,

0:35:510:35:53

which is affectionately known as The Head.

0:35:530:35:56

Now, the idea is it listens to and it watches out

0:35:560:35:59

on the ever-changing watery world.

0:35:590:36:02

It's brilliant.

0:36:020:36:03

Water may look beautiful and provide inspiration for many,

0:36:130:36:16

but for those whose livelihoods revolve around it,

0:36:160:36:19

things aren't always as straightforward as they seem -

0:36:190:36:23

as Adam found out when he visited County Fermanagh

0:36:230:36:25

in Northern Ireland last summer.

0:36:250:36:27

The picturesque Lough Erne.

0:36:370:36:39

It's one of the largest freshwater lakes in the UK.

0:36:390:36:42

The vast expanse of water flows for 50 miles

0:36:430:36:46

right through the heart of County Fermanagh.

0:36:460:36:49

It's made up of more than 150 islands,

0:36:500:36:53

and during the summer, when the grass is flourishing,

0:36:530:36:56

livestock make the most of the island's pastures.

0:36:560:36:59

And I've been told to expect the unexpected,

0:37:000:37:03

and I'm very excited about it

0:37:030:37:04

because this is far from your classic farming landscape.

0:37:040:37:07

You won't find many tractors out here.

0:37:070:37:09

Stockman Andrew Gallagher has an unusual daily commute,

0:37:140:37:17

travelling around the loch by boat.

0:37:170:37:20

Hi, Andrew. Can I climb in?

0:37:200:37:22

Andrew works for the RSPB, managing livestock for conservation grazing.

0:37:230:37:28

Their aim is to promote birdlife.

0:37:280:37:30

This has got to be a pretty unusual job in farming?

0:37:320:37:34

Yes, pretty unique. Not many farmers go to work on a boat, I'm sure.

0:37:340:37:37

That's the beauty. Often, you're out here every day on the lough.

0:37:370:37:40

-How many cattle?

-There's about 140 cattle,

0:37:400:37:42

give or take, on the islands.

0:37:420:37:44

In the summer, it must be beautiful, mustn't it?

0:37:440:37:46

Oh, it's deadly. You couldn't beat it.

0:37:460:37:48

You could spend all day on the loch.

0:37:480:37:49

-Even if you've got no cattle to see.

-And you're moving some cattle today.

0:37:490:37:52

Yes, we are bringing across five cows and two calves.

0:37:520:37:55

-I'm looking forward to seeing that.

-Yes, it should be good.

0:37:550:37:57

Livestock has been transported around the loch

0:38:000:38:03

for at least 1,000 years.

0:38:030:38:04

Fred Ternan was the last person to be born

0:38:060:38:08

on one of Lough Erne's islands.

0:38:080:38:10

He has some interesting family footage from the 1950s

0:38:100:38:14

of how they used to swim the cattle between the islands.

0:38:140:38:17

The end of the rope was passed to a man in the boat,

0:38:170:38:19

and then the boat was rowed out a bit from the shore

0:38:190:38:22

and, as you can see,

0:38:220:38:23

the cow doesn't really want to go swimming at all,

0:38:230:38:25

but eventually the cow is pulled up close

0:38:250:38:27

to the back of the boat, where it will be held,

0:38:270:38:30

and swims quite contentedly along behind the boat.

0:38:300:38:32

Who is in the boat here?

0:38:320:38:33

This is my father rowing the boat and that's myself as a little boy.

0:38:330:38:36

-It must've been exciting?

-It was indeed.

0:38:360:38:38

It was good fun when you're small.

0:38:380:38:40

And the cows could swim all right, then? I've never seen a cow swim.

0:38:400:38:43

Oh, no, they could swim,

0:38:430:38:44

and, in fact, they can swim without being on a rope, as well.

0:38:440:38:47

Providing they know where they're going,

0:38:470:38:48

they can get across.

0:38:480:38:50

But it's much safer to have them on a rope

0:38:500:38:51

to ensure that they don't swim off in their own direction,

0:38:510:38:54

and then you've got to round them up again.

0:38:540:38:56

The cattle were traditionally transported

0:38:580:39:00

on a special boat called a cot.

0:39:000:39:02

Today, livestock are still being moved on a boat

0:39:030:39:06

based on this ancient design.

0:39:060:39:08

They are nice and quiet, aren't they?

0:39:130:39:15

Yes. They will stand now quiet.

0:39:150:39:17

Admiring the scenery, the same as us...

0:39:170:39:18

-Lovely.

-..till they get across.

0:39:180:39:20

Right, let's go, Skipper.

0:39:200:39:22

ENGINE STARTS

0:39:220:39:24

Ah, we seem to be stuck.

0:39:260:39:27

Are we grounded?

0:39:290:39:30

Do you want me to jump off and push?

0:39:300:39:32

So just by moving the weight of the cattle...

0:39:340:39:36

-That's all it takes.

-Getting it off the bottom.

0:39:360:39:38

There we go. We are away now.

0:39:380:39:40

How far have we got to take these?

0:39:500:39:52

We are just taking these across the lough over to that pen over there.

0:39:520:39:54

They are beautiful islands, aren't they?

0:39:540:39:56

-How many are there?

-There's over 150 altogether.

0:39:560:39:59

Incredible to think that people lived on them all, isn't it?

0:39:590:40:01

-Yes, it's mad.

-Doing this job in the old wooden boats.

0:40:010:40:04

Yeah, towing them across and all sorts.

0:40:040:40:06

Do you swim them occasionally?

0:40:060:40:08

No, never, no. We've not went down that route.

0:40:080:40:10

In the summer sunshine, Lough Erne is looking at its best.

0:40:170:40:21

Even the cattle seem to be enjoying the view.

0:40:210:40:24

It's almost 30 degrees, so it's a good job we're surrounded by water.

0:40:270:40:31

The cows know exactly how to cool down.

0:40:310:40:35

You must have seen some sights or have some interesting stories?

0:40:360:40:38

Oh, yeah. Last week, we had the Highland bull on one island

0:40:380:40:42

and we had heifers on another island.

0:40:420:40:44

It was about half a mile across.

0:40:440:40:46

And I came back onto the island with the heifers, and there he was,

0:40:460:40:48

standing looking at me, the big bull. He had swam, let's say

0:40:480:40:51

half a mile across the lough himself and onto the island.

0:40:510:40:53

-To get in with the heifers?

-To get in with the heifers, yeah.

0:40:530:40:56

That's a long swim, isn't it?

0:40:560:40:57

-Isn't it?

-So he could just smell them on the wind.

0:40:570:40:59

He smelt them on the wind, and away he went.

0:40:590:41:01

What happens if the boat sinks, then, Andrew?

0:41:100:41:12

If the boat sinks, I'm taking that cow's tail

0:41:120:41:14

and you choose whichever one you want.

0:41:140:41:16

Just grab a tail and they'll take you ashore?

0:41:160:41:18

I don't know where you'll land,

0:41:180:41:20

but you'll land on dry ground somewhere...

0:41:200:41:22

-THEY LAUGH

-..and that's all that matters.

0:41:220:41:24

It's not long before land is in sight.

0:41:260:41:29

With the promise of summer pastures and fresh grass ahead,

0:41:320:41:35

the cattle don't hang around.

0:41:350:41:36

It's a quick leap of faith into the water...

0:41:380:41:40

..and finally the cattle are rewarded

0:41:470:41:49

with as much grass as they can eat.

0:41:490:41:52

They're certainly enjoying that, Andrew.

0:41:520:41:54

Yeah, there's tonnes here for them, plenty of good grass.

0:41:540:41:56

They'll be here now until October,

0:41:560:41:58

so they'll be in good shape by the time that comes around.

0:41:580:42:00

It's beautiful, isn't it?

0:42:000:42:02

The cattle love all this fresh grass,

0:42:050:42:08

but their grazing also benefits others species on the islands.

0:42:080:42:11

I'm meeting with conservationist Amy Burns, from the RSPB.

0:42:130:42:16

There's certainly plenty of grass here, Amy, isn't there?

0:42:170:42:20

There is, yeah, plenty, which is part of the reason

0:42:200:42:22

we put the cattle out onto the islands, you know.

0:42:220:42:24

There's no other way we could manage this, apart from grazing, so...

0:42:240:42:28

And you want it for the birds, grazed down?

0:42:280:42:30

Yes, curlew, which would have been widespread

0:42:300:42:33

across the UK and Ireland,

0:42:330:42:35

now that have suffered really significant declines,

0:42:350:42:37

we're trying to help bring back from the brink really, here in Fermanagh.

0:42:370:42:40

But also birds like lapwing and snipe

0:42:400:42:42

that are associated with farmland,

0:42:420:42:44

and what we're trying to achieve with the grassland

0:42:440:42:46

is to get it into suitable nesting conditions for the birds.

0:42:460:42:49

So we want a variation of height in this sward,

0:42:490:42:51

so species like curlew will prefer a taller sward,

0:42:510:42:54

maybe about 30cm. Lapwing like it very short, of about five.

0:42:540:42:58

-And is it working?

-It is.

0:42:580:42:59

It's working really well.

0:42:590:43:01

We've had some fantastic success,

0:43:010:43:02

and our numbers keep going up year-on-year

0:43:020:43:04

because of the management that we do on these islands.

0:43:040:43:06

-So this is a safe haven, really?

-It is. You know,

0:43:060:43:09

it's probably one of the best spots in the whole of Northern Ireland,

0:43:090:43:12

I think, you know, for breeding waders.

0:43:120:43:14

There's no time to hang around.

0:43:140:43:16

At the other side of the lough,

0:43:160:43:18

some sheep are patiently waiting THEIR turn.

0:43:180:43:20

But this might not be plain sailing,

0:43:200:43:22

as sheep really aren't keen on water.

0:43:220:43:24

-How many have you got in here?

-There's about 12 ewes in here.

0:43:240:43:27

-OK.

-Yeah.

-Shall I stand this side?

0:43:270:43:29

You stand that side there, yeah.

0:43:290:43:31

Farmer Mark Thompson has made this crossing with his flock many times,

0:43:320:43:36

so we're in safe hands.

0:43:360:43:37

-Not great swimmers?

-No, they hate water.

0:43:400:43:43

And if you try to swim the sheep,

0:43:430:43:44

they're likely to drown, aren't they,

0:43:440:43:45

particularly when they've got a full fleece on?

0:43:450:43:47

A full fleece on, like, as you say,

0:43:470:43:49

it just sucks in the water straightaway.

0:43:490:43:51

You know, a cow is different. Cows, their bellies can float,

0:43:510:43:53

whereas the sheep will not do it, they don't like it.

0:43:530:43:55

Warm summer sun and woolly coats are not a good combination,

0:44:010:44:05

so we need to get them into the shade as soon as possible.

0:44:050:44:08

Well, they seem pretty keen.

0:44:090:44:10

Oh, yeah, yeah, they were mad to get to the grass now

0:44:100:44:12

and a wee bit of shelter.

0:44:120:44:13

Well, it's a wonderful summer holiday for your sheep and cattle

0:44:190:44:22

-on this beautiful island.

-Oh, yeah.

0:44:220:44:23

And a perfect habitat for the birds, it couldn't be better.

0:44:230:44:26

Oh, yeah. Like you say, it both complements well,

0:44:260:44:28

it both works together well, so it does.

0:44:280:44:30

Of course, we couldn't have a programme about water

0:44:390:44:42

without one of us getting wet.

0:44:420:44:44

And when it comes to surfing,

0:44:440:44:46

it seems you don't have to be at the mercy of the Atlantic

0:44:460:44:48

to catch a wave,

0:44:480:44:50

as Anita found out when she visited a new water world in Snowdonia.

0:44:500:44:54

Snowdonia National Park is one of Britain's largest protected areas,

0:44:570:45:01

covering more than 800 square miles.

0:45:010:45:04

It's home to the highest peak in Wales - Mount Snowdon.

0:45:040:45:08

I'm in Dolgarrog in the River Conwy Valley

0:45:090:45:12

right on the eastern edge of the park.

0:45:120:45:14

This part of the country has some of Britain's most dramatic

0:45:170:45:20

and mountainous landscapes, attracting visitors all year round,

0:45:200:45:24

and I'm here to check out one of its latest attractions.

0:45:240:45:27

That is Surf Snowdonia, the world's first artificial surf lagoon.

0:45:270:45:32

This extraordinary place has been built on the site

0:45:440:45:47

of a former aluminium factory.

0:45:470:45:49

Where some just saw a derelict wasteland,

0:45:490:45:51

Andy Ainscough and his dad Martin

0:45:510:45:53

saw an opportunity to ride the waves.

0:45:530:45:56

The idea is insane, but just looking at it, you sort of think, well,

0:45:570:46:01

of course this should be here.

0:46:010:46:02

So why did you and your dad decide to do it?

0:46:020:46:05

It was the ideal site, really.

0:46:050:46:06

We're not too close from the big populations,

0:46:060:46:08

but we're in a beautiful part of Snowdonia,

0:46:080:46:11

with power next door from a power station.

0:46:110:46:13

And surfing is probably the UK's biggest growing watersport

0:46:130:46:16

and it was something I was really passionate about.

0:46:160:46:18

So we did it.

0:46:180:46:19

Six months of development turned into 12 months,

0:46:190:46:21

and then we opened in 2015.

0:46:210:46:23

It's absolutely fantastic.

0:46:230:46:24

What's the technology, then? How does the wave work?

0:46:240:46:27

We've got a big motor at one end, and a return wheel at the far end.

0:46:270:46:30

And almost what's like a snowplough

0:46:300:46:32

that runs between the middle and creates the wave.

0:46:320:46:34

We create a wave of two metres in height every 90 seconds.

0:46:340:46:37

So the same wave every time at the push of a button.

0:46:370:46:40

This old industrial site has undergone a complete transformation

0:46:430:46:48

to turn it into an ecologically sensitive surfers' paradise.

0:46:480:46:52

How much of a consideration has the environment been,

0:46:520:46:55

because you are in this very spectacular part of the world?

0:46:550:46:58

Yeah, this was a factory for almost 100 years,

0:46:580:47:01

and when it closed in 2007, it was left derelict.

0:47:010:47:03

We came in and cleaned up the land,

0:47:030:47:05

pumped out all the oils and solvents,

0:47:050:47:07

completely broke up all the concrete and used it in our construction

0:47:070:47:11

-to make the basis for our buildings.

-So you recycled quite a lot?

0:47:110:47:13

Yeah, we recycled pretty much all the concrete on-site.

0:47:130:47:16

The water's recycled.

0:47:160:47:18

That comes from the hydropower station,

0:47:180:47:20

from the pipes down from the mountains.

0:47:200:47:22

And I've noticed it's not bright blue.

0:47:220:47:24

It's kind of a sandy colour underneath it.

0:47:240:47:26

Yeah, we always wanted the liner to match the River Conwy.

0:47:260:47:29

We're only about half a mile from the River Conwy which is tidal,

0:47:290:47:32

which is sand-coloured at low tide, so we had to match that.

0:47:320:47:35

We're just on the edge of the National Park,

0:47:350:47:37

so the way this looks is very important.

0:47:370:47:40

Because when you do have a look at it from up high,

0:47:400:47:42

it does blend in really nicely.

0:47:420:47:44

I mean, I've always wanted to surf.

0:47:460:47:48

Honestly, I thought it would be somewhere like Costa Rica,

0:47:480:47:50

not Snowdonia.

0:47:500:47:53

But I'm here, and I guess

0:47:530:47:54

I'm going to have to give it a go at some point.

0:47:540:47:57

But before I dip my toe in the water,

0:47:590:48:01

I want to find out about something else on this site

0:48:010:48:03

that's pretty special.

0:48:030:48:05

It's not just the surfers

0:48:050:48:07

who are making the most of this environment.

0:48:070:48:10

The landscape and wildlife around the surf lake

0:48:100:48:12

is also being carefully looked after.

0:48:120:48:14

Tucked away in a quiet corner of the site

0:48:160:48:18

is one of the habitats being managed by a team

0:48:180:48:20

from Natural Resources Wales.

0:48:200:48:23

Hi, how are you doing?

0:48:230:48:25

Sian Williams and Matthew Ellis have been involved with the project

0:48:250:48:28

from the start, working closely with Andy

0:48:280:48:31

to help protect the natural environment.

0:48:310:48:33

So, what are the specific environmental considerations

0:48:330:48:36

for this area?

0:48:360:48:37

So, obviously, you know, we've got the main River Conwy

0:48:370:48:39

just over here.

0:48:390:48:41

There's important mussel beds in the estuary,

0:48:410:48:43

and also bathing water there as well,

0:48:430:48:45

so it's really important for us to protect the water quality

0:48:450:48:48

and also the biodiversity in the area.

0:48:480:48:50

We've got a nature reserve next door,

0:48:500:48:52

a Site of Special Scientific Interest here as well.

0:48:520:48:55

And why is it important to have kept this bit of the factory?

0:48:550:48:59

This part of the factory supports the lesser horseshoe bat.

0:48:590:49:01

It's a very important area for the lesser horseshoe bat,

0:49:010:49:04

is the Conwy Valley,

0:49:040:49:06

with a number of nationally important roosts,

0:49:060:49:08

and this was used by the bats for hibernation.

0:49:080:49:11

-I need to see them.

-Here they are.

0:49:110:49:13

So this is an example of what they look like?

0:49:130:49:16

BATS CHIRP

0:49:160:49:18

Oh, they're so cute.

0:49:180:49:19

-Oh, they're fantastic.

-Aren't they?

0:49:190:49:21

-They sound like R2-D2.

-Yes.

0:49:210:49:23

And what kind of environment does a lesser horseshoe bat

0:49:240:49:27

like to be in?

0:49:270:49:28

Lesser horseshoe bats like a connected landscape

0:49:280:49:30

with a mosaic of habitats,

0:49:300:49:31

which includes woodlands, hedgerows, streams.

0:49:310:49:36

Do they mind surfers?

0:49:360:49:37

They don't mind surfers at all.

0:49:370:49:39

And have you both had a go at surfing?

0:49:390:49:41

-Not yet.

-Hopefully soon.

0:49:410:49:43

Soon? You've got to.

0:49:430:49:45

-It's right there.

-It's a nice day today. I'm quite tempted.

0:49:450:49:47

Jo Dennison is head coach at Surf Snowdonia,

0:49:520:49:55

the perfect person to help me catch a wave.

0:49:550:49:58

You will probably see a wave coming towards you.

0:49:580:50:00

When it gets another board's length away,

0:50:000:50:02

you're going to start to paddle. So look forwards,

0:50:020:50:05

nice, long, strong paddles, like that.

0:50:050:50:09

-Paddle.

-That's it.

0:50:090:50:11

-Lean back.

-Yeah.

-And from here, I'm just going to take two steps.

0:50:110:50:14

-OK.

-So, I'm going to go one, two and then surfing position.

-OK.

0:50:140:50:18

OK, so just try it.

0:50:180:50:20

-That's not going to work.

-That's not going to work.

0:50:210:50:24

Do I look like I know what I'm doing?

0:50:240:50:26

Here we go.

0:50:260:50:28

All right, here we go.

0:50:340:50:36

Paddle, paddle, paddle.

0:50:410:50:43

SHE SQUEALS

0:50:440:50:46

SHE SCREAMS

0:50:490:50:50

SHE LAUGHS

0:50:510:50:53

That was awesome!

0:50:550:50:56

SHE LAUGHS

0:50:560:50:59

That was amazing.

0:50:590:51:01

It's great to see how this unique facility

0:51:010:51:03

has breathed new life into the region,

0:51:030:51:06

transforming a heavily polluted industrial site

0:51:060:51:09

into a haven for wildlife and people.

0:51:090:51:11

I'll be heading back out there shortly, but first,

0:51:170:51:19

let's find out weather-wise if it's going to be perfect

0:51:190:51:22

for getting out and about on the water

0:51:220:51:24

or if it will be better for ducks.

0:51:240:51:25

Here's the Countryfile forecast for the week ahead.

0:51:250:51:28

Water is our most important natural resource.

0:52:090:52:13

We've seen how it gives life,

0:52:130:52:15

provides livelihoods and is a source of inspiration.

0:52:150:52:19

And, of course, when it comes to recreation, it's good, clean fun.

0:52:200:52:25

-Hello! ALL:

-Hi.

0:52:250:52:28

It is freezing, but that will not stop these guys

0:52:280:52:31

getting their fresh-air fix.

0:52:310:52:33

Freezing is sort of an understatement,

0:52:340:52:36

but they're not the only ones out on the reservoir today.

0:52:360:52:39

The local Scout centre often runs outdoor activities for youngsters

0:52:440:52:48

and the Calvert Trust make sure everyone can enjoy the water here

0:52:480:52:52

by providing experiences that are accessible to all.

0:52:520:52:56

This boat has been designed to give easy access to wheelchair users,

0:53:000:53:04

and for Doug Paulley, it's given him a new lease of life.

0:53:040:53:07

How difficult is it for you, normally,

0:53:090:53:11

to get out into the countryside?

0:53:110:53:12

It can be very difficult to get out.

0:53:120:53:14

I mean, I live in a care home and I don't have my own transport.

0:53:140:53:17

And even without that, getting out and about in a wheelchair

0:53:170:53:20

and being able to get to places can be really difficult.

0:53:200:53:23

So, yeah, it's a real difference coming here

0:53:230:53:26

in that they make it easy to come out and about on the water,

0:53:260:53:29

and to go around the forest and see beautiful things.

0:53:290:53:33

They give me a go on the steering every so often,

0:53:330:53:36

and go exploring around all the edges of the lake.

0:53:360:53:38

-Yeah, it's really good.

-It is years since I've been at Kielder.

0:53:380:53:41

Just tell us a bit more about it.

0:53:410:53:43

-What do you love about it?

-It's an entirely artificial environment,

0:53:430:53:46

but, also, it's one of the most, despite that,

0:53:460:53:49

it is one of the most unspoiled environments as well.

0:53:490:53:51

So it's great being able to be somewhere that is so remote.

0:53:510:53:55

It's weird being somewhere without any mobile phone coverage, though.

0:53:550:53:58

-It's liberating, though, isn't it?

-It kind of is, it kind of is, yeah.

0:53:580:54:01

It certainly stretches you.

0:54:010:54:02

It seems like you've got a good gang,

0:54:020:54:04

and I can tell everybody's keen to get back out on the water,

0:54:040:54:07

so would you like me to get out of your way,

0:54:070:54:08

Sally, so you can enjoy the rest of the day?

0:54:080:54:10

-Yes, please!

-Yes, I'm off. THEY LAUGH

0:54:100:54:13

I thought so. Right, enjoy yourselves, guys.

0:54:130:54:15

-Nice to meet you.

-Bye.

0:54:150:54:16

They've got 27 miles of shoreline to explore.

0:54:190:54:23

No wonder they want me out of the way.

0:54:230:54:25

And after all that rowing, I'm sure this lot will sleep well tonight.

0:54:270:54:31

Well, we've seen just how important water can be

0:54:340:54:36

in shaping not only our landscape, but our lives.

0:54:360:54:40

A precious natural resource that we can all appreciate.

0:54:400:54:44

Well, that's it from me on Kielder Water.

0:54:480:54:51

Thanks, Guy. Cheers, Graham.

0:54:510:54:53

Next week, Matt will be in the Lothian and Borders of Scotland

0:54:530:54:56

where he'll be meeting the community

0:54:560:54:58

that saved its local lifeboat from going under.

0:54:580:55:00

All right, Graham, let's make some wash.

0:55:000:55:03

Ooh. Brilliant. Ta-ta.

0:55:040:55:07

SHE SQUEALS

0:55:070:55:08

SHE LAUGHS

0:55:080:55:09

We ARE making wash!

0:55:090:55:11

Water is our most precious natural resource. There is not a plant or animal on earth that can do without it. Our landscape is shaped by it; livelihoods depend on it. Water provides homes for wildlife and is a source of inspiration and a place for recreation.

Helen Skelton is at Kielder Water in Northumberland, exploring the ways in which the wet stuff shapes our lives. There is also a meander through the archives, dipping a toe into previous watery worlds to which Countryfile has been.


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