Matt Baker meets the Dorset man championing local winter produce. Anita Rani finds out how making jewellery inspired by nature can improve the winter blues.
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A season when wild winds whip as snow smothers the land,
and darkness embraces our days.
It's easy to hunker down away from the cold weather
at this time of year.
But if you head outside and brave the elements,
you'll be amazed how spectacular this season can be.
Today, we're embracing the wonders of winter.
Come on, then.
Matt's meeting the farmer with a breed of pigs hardy enough
to tough out even the worst winter weather.
Anita's discovering how to beat the winter blues
with a helping hand from nature.
As soon as I step outside, there's a change in my mood.
In fact, it's better than chocolate.
Better than chocolate, eh?
Steve's sledding with huskies...
Whoa, I really want a break!
..and Adam's on Gower's salt marshes,
which have their own wintry challenges.
Goodness me, Rowland, what happens here?
I mean, the sheep are right over there!
Have you brought your swimming trunks?
-Go on, get in!
MATT: The stark beauty of winter.
From the snow-capped mountains of the Highlands
to the far-reaching views of the Isle of Purbeck, here in Dorset.
This season sweeps across our landscape,
and takes hold with her icy grip.
Winter's wild elements batter both coast and country.
From north to south, east to west,
we have had our fair share of storms this winter.
We've had Aileen, Ophelia, Brian, Caroline, Dylan, and Eleanor.
For farmers and for fishermen, the last few months has been tough.
With winds of up to 100mph, our rural communities have been hit hard.
But regardless of what the weather can throw at them,
those who are producing our food have no choice.
They need to carry on.
James Warren champions local farmers and fishermen.
He sources, sells, and cooks their produce.
As a farmer himself, he grazes his animals on the coast,
and knows just how hard the winter can be.
Has it been pretty tough here?
Pretty good. We haven't had particularly cold weather,
-although it's chilly in this wind today, but...
It has been wet - for the last three, four weeks,
it's been really wet, seems to be raining every day and every night.
Yeah, and the wind, as well.
Pop down into the valley, it's not nearly so bad,
but up here, it does blow through a bit of a hoolie, they call it.
Well, your pigs are grunting impatiently.
Yeah, I think they're quite keen to get out.
Oh, good morning!
Wow, oh, these are absolute beauties, aren't they?
Such a beautiful array of colours down there. So, what breed are these?
These are Mangalicas crossed with Berkshire,
so the Mangalicas are a Hungarian breed,
-and the Berkshire's a traditional English breed...
..which we cross up, and it gives you these nice colours,
and gives you a great foraging, outdoor, hardy pig.
-Some of them are really curly.
-Those two at the back there.
-Yeah, some people call them sheep pigs.
Yeah, you can see why. And so full of character.
Oh, absolutely, yeah, you could watch them for ages.
MATT CHUCKLES I love 'em!
There we are, team.
Come on, then.
These Mangalicas may look quirky, but that curly coat
keeps them nice and warm up here on the hills in winter.
-They're very competitive when they eat.
-Are they? Yeah.
-They just run.
-You know, they...
-Look at them!
They always think the other pig's got more than they have, constantly.
And what are they really good at, then, what is their key job here?
They're going to get rid of brambles, and just the scrubland,
which allows the heather to have no competition when it's growing.
And what does that fodder do for the taste of the meat, then?
And this landscape in particular, grazing them here?
Well, I think having a good percentage of naturally foraged diet
-has got to be good for a pig.
And it's definitely good for the meat.
I think it makes for a much darker meat,
and the fact that they're growing slower, you know,
we're not trying to finish these pigs in three, four, five months -
they're with us for kind of nine, ten months -
and a lot of their diet is coming from natural forage,
so it makes a huge difference.
-It's exposed round here, isn't it?
-Yeah, it's a bit sharp up here.
-Cracking view, though.
-Yeah, amazing, isn't it?
How did all this start for you, then?
Well, I started working for a local farmer, for a sheep farmer,
and I became aware of all the fantastic products
that are being produced around Purbeck,
and then I couldn't really get my hands on any to eat them,
so I started looking at the idea of opening up a shop
and a butchery, and as I looked more into it,
I realised there was more and more that I could buy.
It wasn't just local meat James wanted to source,
but local fish, too.
So, those initial days as a shepherd, then, they were round...
Yeah, on the far hills there, down Tyneham valley, Kimmeridge way.
That's where I started, and that was a big influence, really,
-overlooking the sea there.
-And the beautiful landscape, and...
..it just made me want to eat products from those hills, really,
and around here.
And do you think that this area has a special taste
as far as all of that food is concerned?
Is there something in common that it has?
-Yeah, I like to think it's like eating the view, really.
There's salt in the air and on the grass,
and we get a lot of sunshine here, as well,
and I think animals with sun on their back,
that's got to be a positive thing.
And I'll be getting a taste of this view later.
"This holy fox, Or wolf,
"or both, for he is equal ravenous
"As he is subtle, and as prone to mischief
"As able to perform't."
"Some animals are cunning and evil-disposed, as the fox."
ELLIE: Wily creature of ancient myth -
I've been intrigued by foxes for as long as I can remember.
When I was a child, I would see foxes on the valley
opposite the house that we lived in,
this flash of colour on a bleak green background,
and even now, if I catch a glimpse of a fox at dusk,
there's still a moment where it takes my breath away.
But in winter, you're far more likely to hear one than see one.
At this time of year, the vixen cries for a mate.
It's one of the season's eeriest sounds.
But what lies behind our many myths of the cunning fox?
Lucy Jones is a journalist who was so intrigued,
she wrote a book on the subject.
We're out in the Surrey countryside hoping to catch a glimpse.
Not the ideal time to spot foxes, but we know they are here.
-Yeah, we might hear them.
-We might, absolutely, with the breeding.
-This could even be a fox earth, you never know.
Our relationship with foxes goes back a long way, doesn't it?
Yes. If you think about all the placenames in Britain
named after foxes - there are hundreds of places
called after "todde," which is an old British word for foxes.
The conflict's always been there, too,
people who love them, and people who see them as problematic.
That's woven into our culture, too.
The fox particularly in Britain is this kind of flint for emotions,
because it is our largest remaining predator,
it succeeds brilliantly in our urban areas.
And that success, that resourcefulness,
also lends to this wily fox, cunning fox.
Yes, if you look back at Chaucer and Aesop,
and then medieval literature and folklore,
the fox was characterised as this cunning villain,
as a device to warn people in communities about sin.
It's a marvellous hunter, it's very agile,
-but calling it cunning is a misnomer - it's not true.
The fox is the kind of big beast in the woods that we need to kind of,
I don't know, project our fears on, to tell stories about, be afraid of.
There are none about today, but luckily,
I know somewhere I'm guaranteed to see them.
David Mills is the owner of the British Wildlife Centre in Surrey.
He spends his days observing these curious creatures,
many of which have been rescued from the wild.
-Hello, Ellie, how are you?
-I'm well, and you?
-Yes, good. Lovely morning. This is Flo.
She is a fine looking fox.
-Flo, come and...
-Wow! She's very confident, isn't she?
-Yes, she is.
She's hand-reared, she is nine years old.
-Have you hand-fed a fox before?
-No. This is a first!
And I tell you, it's a great pleasure.
DAVID CHUCKLES It really is.
But she still retains a lot of her wildness, even though she's here.
Oh, yes, she's not a tame fox.
She is on the alert the whole time. She just trusts us.
With up to 12,000 young visitors each year,
the centre aims to educate us all about native wildlife.
We get a lot of children from London,
and they first thing they say, "Where are the crocodiles?"
"Are we going to see lions and tigers today?"
"No, you're going to see the foxes."
And they are gobsmacked.
You know, cos they... They've never seen a fox so close.
The fox may be a rare sight in children's lives,
but it's as familiar in their stories as ever.
Coralie Bickford-Smith's award-winning tale
tells of a friendly fox that loves and loses a star.
Coralie, why have you chosen a fox?
Well, I was living next door to a vacant plot,
and the foxes had taken it over,
and they looked so skinny and small and lost.
They sort of embodied what I was feeling like when I lost my mum -
at an early age, she died -
and this book was basically about my journey of grieving,
and then the wisdom that she left us with when she passed away.
You know, you feel a little bit heartbroken for Fox,
and we're not used to that feeling -
we don't often feel sad for Fox in literature.
Yeah. I really did want to turn the tables.
-Just give him some positive story for once.
-Absolutely. Fox the hero.
Be they hero or villain,
most children experience the fox through stories.
But short winter days are special -
a chance for a rare torch-lit glimpse...
..or just to enjoy a foxy fable around a cosy campfire.
"Once there was a Fox who lived in a deep, dense forest.
"He would wake at night to the cool, calm light of Star.
"Then, one night, Fox woke.
"Where did Star go?
"Fox looked up."
"Fox could not believe there were so many stars.
"His heart was full of happiness.
"He knew that somewhere out there was a Star that once was his."
MATT: The peaks of the Scottish Highlands
can be cold and unforgiving.
Never more so than in winter.
Yet there is still beauty to be found here.
But if you look closer...
..all is not what it seems.
That's because these are paintings.
With their painstaking detail,
self-taught artist Jamie Hageman's work seems as real as photographs.
Fascinated by the rugged beauty of mountains,
Jamie is off to brave the cold in search of inspiration
for his latest painting of the steep-sided Glen Coe Valley.
OK, see you later. I'm off to work.
-Bye. Have fun.
Winter's all about the drama of the mountains.
Under snow and ice, everything is just heightened.
I have to paint the most impressive mountain scene I can,
and that, for me, is winter.
So I'm going to head up the south ridge of Am Bodach,
and just get above the valley floor.
That's the plan.
It's windy, but, er...might be able to find somewhere sheltered.
I grew up in Lincolnshire, which is extremely flat, very quiet.
My father took me to North Wales when I was about 11,
and suddenly opened up this amazing new world of mountains
which I'd never thought about or seen before.
It obviously went in deep inside,
because then I would get back to Lincolnshire,
and I'd want to draw mountains and paint them and write about them
and look at books about them.
I've always taken photographs out on the hills when I was little,
but I was always disappointed with them.
I could never quite reproduce the feeling of being in the mountains
and the emotions that I felt, so I think painting, for me,
was a way of getting past that, and a way of showing Mum
where I'd been and what impressive situations I'd found myself in.
Yeah, it'll be a lovely sunny day soon.
Today, we've got...
..probably 40-mile-an-hour winds from the west,
and it's bringing in hail, snow...
It's probably minus ten wind-chill.
I'm a bit sheltered in the tent here, luckily,
but if I was sitting outside without the tent...
..I'd be freezing.
So I'm sitting here looking towards the Three Sisters of Glen Coe,
and I've just sketched in the central peak called Gearr Aonach.
My style is certainly realistic,
and pretty accurate when it comes to the features of mountains.
I like to think that climbers might be able to map their climbs out.
I mean, this seems ridiculous, but actually,
what I'm going to end up with is a nice little souvenir of being here.
I've got something that I've produced while I was here,
on-site, looking at the mountain itself.
Oh, look, I'm getting hail on the canvas now. This is good!
I do enjoy it. I don't think I'm bonkers.
As a sketch, I think I'm pretty happy with that,
given the conditions.
The relentless winter seas of the British Isles.
But fishermen all across the country brave these rough waters
all year round to bring home the catch of the day.
-Now the shipping forecast, issued by the Met Office.
Portland, west five to seven, backing south four or five,
then veering west five to seven, occasionally gale eight in Portland.
This is the Dorset coastline, a place that is both friend and foe.
For local fishermen, winter is a waiting game.
As Nick Ford knows only too well.
He fishes for shellfish out of Kimmeridge Bay,
but if he can't get out, he's nothing to sell on.
Which means James Warren,
the pig farmer and local food champion who I met earlier,
has no shellfish for his farm shop devoted to Dorset produce.
-How are we, sir?
-Nice to see you. I'm good, I'm good.
I'm guessing, because of all these white horses out here,
is collecting pots off today?
It's definitely off today.
And has that been the story, then, for most of the winter?
Well, I've managed to get three days in this month.
-Have you really?
And this that unusual for a winter, then, or is that normally the case?
It's fairly standard.
-You know, other Januarys, I've done 20 days...
It's all down to which way the weather swings.
The winter doesn't just hamper his catches.
It plays havoc with the gear that Nick depends on, too.
-Some of these have been damaged at sea in the rough weather.
There's the rubber binding on them,
it's all looped round, and eventually that wears through,
and then the pot breaks down.
How many pots do you have out there at the moment, then,
thrashing around in this weather?
And of your 300 pots that are out there now,
-how many crabs would you expect?
-It could be one, it could be...
-Yeah, or it could be ten.
But in the winter time, the lobsters are a lot less,
but the crabs more so.
To turn over the gear you'd probably catch sort of around 120 kilo
of crab, probably.
120kg is equal to 170 crabs from Nick's 300 pots.
Hey, the weather's coming in now, Nick.
Yeah, looks like a little squall coming.
Good job we're not out there.
-Right, so, this is the latest haul?
-This is the latest haul.
Ooh, my word! They're huge!
Right! THEY LAUGH
-So, these are brown crabs?
-These are brown crab, yeah.
-Oh, that colour, I mean, they are gorgeous!
-Can I pick one up?
-Yes, you can.
Look, it's huge!
And this, I mean, the sizes, then, obviously there's various sizes.
Yeah, they're all different ages,
I mean, I don't exactly know how old,
but they could be up to about 15 years old,
-some of these bigger ones.
-And I'm going to turn you back over there, as well.
So, if it's really bad weather, right, you can't get out,
-you've got no lobsters, you got no crabs at all...
-Does James go elsewhere?
It just won't be in the window, and he'll put a little note,
-"Too rough, no fish today."
-But that adds to the magic of it, doesn't it?
And actually, eating seasonally, that's the whole point,
that the education side of all this, as well.
Yes, so sometimes his window can be full,
and another time, it can look quite bare!
-Well, I'll tell you what, it's going to look brilliant this week.
And I'll get a taste later on in a seasonal surf and turf.
STEVE: There's nothing quite like a bracing Scottish winter's day
to invigorate the senses.
When the snow blows in, there are those who come out to play.
And then there are those on four legs who are just born to run on it.
Not how one would normally address
acquaintances in refined circles,
but you could say this farm has gone to the dogs.
Deep in the Perthshire countryside is Bowland Trails,
a 220-acre farm run by John and Mary Carter,
who are world champion dog sled racers.
Having been brought up in England, it was John's dedication
to his huskies that brought him north of the border.
I had a dozen dogs in the year 2000,
and just towards the end of the race season,
the foot and mouth outbreak happened.
I was training at Thetford, and...
basically I just couldn't go to the forest,
they'd locked the forest off, and my dogs were climbing the walls.
So I looked to see if I could find a bit of land in Scotland and move up.
Everything seemed to fall into place.
It's just minus a house, that was all.
Yep - despite living here for more than 15 years,
John and Mary still haven't got round to building a permanent house.
Everything in life has a price, doesn't it?
The dogs come first, you know? We both feel like that.
It has its trials at times, there's no question.
We've got no running water,
and the genny's only on a certain amount of the day,
so Mary has to plan when she opens the freezer and does the washing.
-So you're completely off the grid here?
-Totally off the grid.
The only thing that we get up here free is grass.
And there's plenty of grass here for the animals,
but they've got to work hard to find it under the snow.
When it comes to grazing, John and Mary farm breeds
that are capable of thriving in the toughest of conditions.
Alongside their 36 Siberian Huskies,
John and Mary farm a flock of 200 Hebridean sheep,
and more than 50 pedigree Highland cattle.
We're surrounded by your Highland cattle, Mary.
What makes them the perfect breed up here?
Well, they are incredibly hardy, as you can see, but for us,
because our focus is always the Huskies,
we need something that we don't have to have too much input ourselves -
we like something that's going to really just get on
and do the job without too much of our intervention,
so through the winter, all we need to do is put out a few
bales of silage to keep them going, and in the summer,
I keep an eye on them through calving time,
but they just get on and do the job,
so we really have to do very little with them.
-Their temperament - they're so friendly.
Not all Highlanders are friendly.
We're always nice and calm and quiet with our cows,
so our cows are really steady - they know that we're no threat.
What about that interaction between the livestock and the Huskies?
Well, with all the cows that have been born here,
they've grown up seeing the Huskies go past,
and so they know that it's no threat,
they're really quite used to it,
you know, it's like, same dogs, different day, going fast.
Our dogs are so focused, all they want to do is run.
They don't want to have to be stopping
and going off the trail to chase things.
It's no interest to them. They just want to run.
And, boy, do they run.
With more than 10 miles of purpose-built trails,
this is the go to place for Huskies and their mushers to come to train.
But if you think this kind of paw-pounding action
is just for the non-disabled, then think again.
Whoa, that's amazing, the speed she's going!
Catherine Lewis has spina bifida, a condition that affects her spine,
but from what I can see,
she's certainly not one to pull back on the reins.
So, Catherine, where did this love of the dogs come from?
Well, when I was very young, I had a lot of surgery
and I spent a lot of time at Great Ormond Street Hospital,
and I didn't have much else to do,
so my parents brought me a lot of books to keep me occupied,
and one of them was about wolves,
and I was completely captivated by this book,
I thought it was absolutely wonderful,
and decided that when I was older, I wanted to have wolves as pets.
And as I grew, I realised that that's not very practical.
And I met a lady who had some Siberian Huskies.
I was absolutely bowled over by them, they were fantastic,
and I decided there and then, this is what I want.
So talk me through that first time you went out on a rig.
Well, we went to a very secluded beach, and they just ran,
and it was just like freedom.
When you see them work, they work together as a group,
and their will to move and to go
and see what's around the next bend is absolutely infectious.
For me, it's the fastest I can go.
I'm using somebody else's legs to run, but I'm still running,
and I'll never forget that day.
The sun was shining, the sky was blue, very like today, except...
-But you was on a beach!
-But I was on a beach, yes.
Well, this is the polar opposite of a beach, but...
They said every dog has its day, so I guess it's my turn.
I'm going to be using Catherine's specially adapted rig,
and Mary's given me an expert steer.
The dogs are going to set off at quite a pace.
That's when I need you just to brace yourself, cos...
Brace myself? How fast are they going to go?
If you're taking a left turn...
-Yeah, that's that way...
If you're taking a right turn, you say, "Gee."
OK, I've got that.
They're more excited than I am!
-It's going to be fun, isn't it?
With speeds of up to 25mph,
it's time for this young pup to run with the big dogs.
This is amazing! Gee!
Whoa! I really want to brake! Argh!
Go on, dogs.
Well, I'll tell you what...
Thank you, firstly, Mary, that was something else.
These dogs are strong, they're powerful,
and you want to see the way that they go round the corners.
All I wanted to do was brake and slow it down -
they're just relentless - they would not stop.
And talking of not stopping, neither am I. Let's go again.
JOE: This season never ceases to amaze.
This magnificent spot overlooks the three counties
of Dorset over there, Devon there, and Somerset right here.
And even in the middle of winter, it just oozes charm.
There is a sense of tranquillity here.
A timeless landscape where the sight and sounds
of the majestic deer, antlers ablaze,
are not out of place.
Because these hills are home
to a collection of extraordinary creatures.
This is the South West Deer Rescue Centre.
Run by Mike Gage, also known as the Deer Whisperer,
these rolling acres are home to more than 150 deer.
-Mike, how are you doing?
-Good to see you.
So what are you doing here?
This is fodder beet, and it's high in sugar.
The deer seem to love it.
Where did this passion for deer come from?
I was a plasterer, and I, erm...
..got a contract down in Dulverton on Exmoor,
and one morning, driving into Dulverton,
nine red deer ran across the road in front of my van,
and that was it, really, I got hooked, and that was 42 years ago.
-So I went out, bought a camera, and off I went.
And I couldn't understand how I sneaked all down
across these fields, under hedges, and I knew they couldn't see me,
and when I got there, they weren't there.
I thought, "Well, how did they know?"
And I worked it out - they could smell me coming down the wind.
-So, then, I walked with the wind in my face,
and I've walked right up to deer.
From that first encounter with the red deer on Exmoor,
Mike's become the go-to deer guy.
His herd's grown along with his reputation.
So this place really is...
-..to give people a chance to share your passion,
-that they can come and experience deer quite up close.
And talk to them, and photograph them, and...
Which people can't do very often.
-Yeah. So shall we get in there and give them their breakfast?
-You've done this before!
So, Mike, introduce me to some of the characters in this field, then.
This is Rosie. Rosie!
Rosie comes from Exmoor.
-Now, Rosie's a little bit different, clearly.
-She's a red deer.
She's a red, I thought so. Good! MIKE CHUCKLES
Well, she came with the RSPCA about four years ago,
and I bottle-fed her...
..with Lola, over there.
-This is Lola here?
She's a little fallow deer, and they came together,
and they go everywhere together, they follow each other.
I think fallow deer are really gentle animals, to be honest,
and they're like my family, really.
And Mike wants to show others just how fabulous
his fallow deer family is.
Today, some local youngsters are here to get hands-on
with these gentle, hungry creatures.
What do they like? Carrot?
-It is a bit muddy.
But it doesn't seem to bother them too much.
Would you eat a muddy carrot?
Oh, that's lots! Oh, thank you! Thank you!
This is Damme.
Damme is 16 years old. She'll be 17 years old this June.
It's not just fallow and red deer.
Mike also looks after axis, sika, and muntjacs.
During the winter, when the pickings are thin,
the deer need a helping hand,
so it's time to move his herd of red deer to pastures new.
MIKE CALLS TO DEER
So why are you moving them today?
Cos the grass has had it
and there's some fresh grass in there, look.
How much more work, how much more effort is it in the winter,
having to look after them all?
It's a heck of a lot of work in the winter.
On my own, it takes me from about eight to two o'clock...
-..to feed everyone.
-So in the winter it's the best part of a day
-going round feeding them all?
Do you ever sort of sit back and think,
when you came here and started this, there was none of this,
-and now you've done all this?
You must be very proud of what you've achieved.
Erm... I never thought of it. Yes, you're right!
MATT: Now, this year, we are celebrating 30 years of Countryfile.
And it also happens to be the 30th anniversary
of another memorable event that was watched by millions of us.
In 1988, Eddie "The Eagle" Edwards from Gloucestershire
became the unlikely hero of the Calgary Winter Olympics.
Eddie leapt into the nation's hearts
with an unforgettable show of strength in the face of adversity,
finishing last in not one but two ski jumping events.
With the Winter Olympics starting later this week,
Eddie is going back out on the piste
at Glenshee Ski Centre in the Scottish Cairngorms.
He used to be a ski instructor here before gaining Olympic notoriety,
so Eddie's going to show us the slopes.
This is the bit I remember most -
the approach from Blairgowrie up to Glenshee.
I used to run up here to get warmed up and stretch,
and then get ready for a day's skiing.
The other guys, the ski instructors and workers at Glenshee,
they just let me get on with it, but I was serious about my racing,
and for me, fitness was everything.
So I guess, yes, they must have thought to themselves, "He's mad,"
but...it didn't stop me doing it, though.
Yeah, this looks fantastic, it's quite modern. It's very posh.
When I remember skiing here 35 years ago,
it was literally a garden shed over there, and we had to walk in,
there was no heating.
Gosh! Glenshee have come into the 21st century! This is wonderful!
I was 19 years old - back in 1982.
That's when I came up for the season to ski here at Glenshee.
Oh, my God!
-Is it who I think it is? Eddie! How lovely to see you!
-How are you?
-Two - we have to be...
-Oh, gosh! You're still here!
I'm still here, yeah.
We always remember you affectionately up here,
-and say, "Oh, he used to work up here!"
I do tell people, yes. They say, "Have you skied in Scotland?"
I say, "Of course! I worked there as a ski instructor in Glenshee.
-"Get up there and ski!"
-So are you going to get your skis on?
-I'm going to have a ski,
and I hope I don't need your services as a medical officer.
-Or the dog to find you!
-Or the dog to find me, yeah!
-"We've lost Eddie, where's Eddie?"
-I'll find you!
I'd never been to Scotland before.
Coming up to Glenshee was a bit of a culture shock.
A - they speak funny up here,
and I couldn't understand the way they were speaking.
And the weather was really, really harsh, cos sometimes the wind
would blow you up the hill faster than you could ski down it.
I couldn't see where I was skiing for the first month that I was here.
It was like a permanent whiteout,
but that was really good for my skiing, too,
because if you can ski well when you can't see where you're going
and you can't see what you're doing, that makes you an even better skier.
I love the outdoors.
I think that's part and parcel of being a skier -
the enjoyment of being in the mountains.
You know, not only here in Glenshee, but when you go to Italy or Austria.
Beautiful scenery, fresh air, the wildlife that you see,
the elements - it's all different challenges.
Now, the reason I went into ski jumping
was quite by accident, really.
I was in the wrong place at the wrong time.
After working here in Glenshee, I went to Europe for a year or two,
and I kept running out of money.
My dad was a plasterer, my mum worked in an office,
we weren't rich, so I had to decide,
either I'd come back home to Cheltenham,
and go back to plastering with my dad and forget about skiing,
or find something cheaper to do, and I saw the ski jumps.
And when I sat and looked at them, I realised that Great Britain
have had lots of Alpine skiers, cross-country skiers,
biathlon skiers, but we'd never had a jumper,
and I thought, "I'll give it a go."
And then, two years later, there I was at Calgary,
jumping in the Olympics, and all the broken bones that occurred
over those 20 months were all worth it, cos I got there,
and I realised my dream of getting to an Olympic Games.
And they rest, as they say, is history.
ELLIE: from the Highlands of Scotland to the Gower Peninsula in Wales.
Adam's visiting a farmer
whose livestock live life on the edge of this unusual coastline.
Farming during the winter definitely has its challenges,
but in this landscape, it can be even tougher,
especially when it comes to gathering up the sheep on the salt marshes.
ADAM: I love Gower, and it's particularly stunning
at this time of year, during the winter months.
Now, you wouldn't expect to find
grazing animals out here, would you?
along the salt marshes here,
there's a flock of sheep that graze all along the side of the estuary.
And I've brought along Peg here, my sheepdog, to give me a hand.
She likes a trip to the seaside.
But also, I've come to learn about the shepherding skills,
because they have to gather these sheep off the salt marsh
so they don't get swept away during the high tide.
So I'm going to use Peg, and hopefully,
she'll be able to cope with this very unusual terrain.
Rowland Prichard has been farming here his whole life.
I'm meeting him at Weobley Castle.
It's a stunning spot overlooking the spectacular landscape.
-Hi, Adam, how are you?
-What a place to live, eh?
-This is lovely, isn't it?
Well, I've just been down on the marshes,
but it's completely different looking down on it from up here.
Oh, yeah, from here, you can see all the gutters, all the inlets,
the pills that divide the marsh off, you can see the lot, can't you?
Is that what you call the sort of river inlets, the pills?
-That river there, we call them a pill, yeah.
The tide comes in through it, and then goes back out.
-So what's the job first?
-First job, we've got to go feed them.
-OK, I'll give you a hand.
We jump aboard the tractor and head straight out to the marshes,
where the sheep are eagerly waiting to be fed.
This track is extraordinary,
it just seems to go straight out into the sea.
Is it safe?
It always has been - I'm still here!
-So you're just used to farming in this extraordinary environment?
We know the tide is coming in tonight,
so we've got a few hours' gap now
to feed the sheep before the tide comes in.
Rowland unhitches the trailer,
and starts by unloading two big bales of silage
onto the sand at the edge of the marsh.
Silage is grass cut during the summer
that's then used during the winter months when there is little to graze.
And then underneath that, he's got fodder beet,
and they're running in to feed on it already.
Most farmers are feeding their animals extra grub
at this time of year,
but out on the sands like this, it's quite extraordinary.
The sheep seem to love it. They're totally at home out here.
Rowland, did you grow this fodder beet?
This fodder beet is grown, yes, on the farm.
Particularly now they are heavy in lamb,
they need a little bit more than the grass they can eat off the marsh.
They seem in fit condition. How many ewes have you got out here?
-We've got about 1,000 on the marsh here.
It takes the sheep a couple of hours to finish munching
on their high energy lunch before they return to the salt marshes.
Well, the tide is on its way in now,
so we need to get these sheep in now before they get underwater.
And do they literally get washed away by the sea if they don't get in?
Yeah, we've got to come out and get them in, because,
as you can see, there's little gutters all along the marsh,
and they fill with water, then they can't come in.
-They're sort of trapped on the island.
So we've got to be at least two hours before high water,
getting them in.
We head towards the flock in the distance,
but it's slow progress on this terrain.
The sheep know these marshes like the back of their hooves.
When we seem to be gaining on them, the tide beats us to it,
and we're cut off from the flock.
It's now down to the dogs to play their part.
Goodness me, Rowland, what happens here?
I mean, the sheep are right over there!
Have you brought your swimming trunks with you?
Go on, get in!
-Will your dog go across?
-I don't know! I've got no idea. Will yours?
-I think so. We'll give them a try, shall we?
-Go on, then, yeah.
She's making her way along the edge there -
-looking for somewhere to cross, is she?
-Yeah, she's looking.
She'll go in a minute now. Keep an eye on her.
There she is, she's in the water.
-Gosh, she can swim well, can't she?
-She's swimming terrific, yeah.
Fair play, and that's a strong current coming the other way.
-Brave, isn't she?
-Yeah. Right, let's see your dog.
-Come on, then!
-Not sure she will! I'm not filled with confidence!
ROWLAND LAUGHS Peg, good girl. Away, away.
Peg, away. Away.
Just when it looks like Lib will have to do the job on her own,
I'm amazed by Peg -
she finds a narrow crossing, and she takes the plunge.
Once on the other side,
the dogs have a quick shake before they race off to find the sheep.
The dogs work as a perfect team, coming in from different sides,
cutting the flock off, and sending them back in the right direction.
With her years of experience, Lib leads the way.
But Peg is like a duck to water,
and is soon handling this terrain like an old-timer.
This might be a difficult environment to farm,
but Rowland has a very good reason for grazing his flock here.
It's great watching them move off the marshes,
and the weather is closing in now, isn't it?
-But what makes this salt marsh lamb so special?
It is the vegetation they're eating.
We haven't got the rye grasses that you get in fields.
There's a lot of fescues, and an awful lot of herbs,
so the fact that they're eating a different vegetation,
that affects the flavour.
And is it anything to do with the salt in the ground?
The salt affects the vegetation, and the vegetation then affects
-the flavour, so the salt is doing it indirectly...
-..but you won't taste salt on the meat.
-Yeah, just a rich flavour.
-Just a rich flavour, yeah.
-They're leaving us behind, we'd better catch up.
-Let's catch up.
Before we know it, most of the sheep have made it to the track
that leads them to higher ground.
-We've got the main flock in, Rowland.
-They've come in well, haven't they?
-But there's a few stragglers here.
-Yeah, they're on the bridge.
Oh, look, and the gate has blown shut on them.
What shall we do, try and squeeze through?
See if you can pass, if you can open the gate.
ADAM WHISTLES That'll do, Peg!
-They're pushing it open.
-There we are, they've gone now.
ADAM WHISTLES Here!
We've got shepherds all over the UK managing sheep in different ways,
you know, in the Cotswolds, the Lake District fells,
the Scottish mountains, but here on the salt marshes,
there's nothing like it, is there?
No, this is completely different, isn't it?
You see the dogs working, he's got to learn to swim...
..jump gutters, and it's all completely different here.
Well, it's been a real experience for me,
and I think Peg's still got a lot to learn.
Oh, she's learning fast, fair play.
Another three years, and you'd be a marsh shepherd.
ANITA: The colder months bring much beauty.
shorter days and plummeting temperatures
don't bring joy for everyone.
For many of us, winter is a time of darkness and anxiety,
when those long, warm days of summer seem like a million miles away,
and it's all too easy to start feeling a little bit glum.
But you don't have to be blue.
Emma Mitchell, a Cambridgeshire-based biologist, writer and artist,
has come up with a way of living with winter that's all about embracing it.
-Now, winter can be gloomy,
but I think this is what you'd describe as a perfect winter's day,
wouldn't you? So what are we out here to do?
What I'm after, really, is tiny little seasonal nature finds.
Seed heads or perhaps little seedlings coming out,
and despite it being quite the depths of winter,
there's quite a lot to find.
I'll make things with it.
I'll either draw with them or cast them in silver.
Are we going to be crafting?
-Oh, I'm looking forward to it already.
A decade ago, Emma's life was very different.
She had a stressful job which caused depression that got
worse in the winter.
I became really lacking in energy, I did have to have antidepressants,
and also counselling for the stress levels,
so it was a serious situation.
Feeling lost, Emma turned to social media to ask what others do
to fight the winter blues.
Again and again, they came up with the same answer.
Lots of people got out to walk in green spaces,
even in their garden, and so I started to come for regular walks.
And as soon as I step outside, there's a change in my mood.
In fact, it's better than chocolate.
-Shall we gather?
-Shall we do what you do?
-Come on, then.
Better than chocolate? Nothing's better than chocolate!
So, this is just a hedge.
But look deeper, and it's full of treasures.
Here, we've got another really common plant, and that's yarrow.
-We're making jewellery with these, aren't we?
-Look, that would make a great...
-What do you reckon?
-Woman of the woods. Looking beautiful there.
Now, there's proper science behind this, isn't there?
There's quite a lot of scientific research that has unpicked
why we feel so good in a green space,
and in fact, it's the oils and chemicals
-being released by the plants that we inhale...
..that affects our circulatory system, it affects our mood.
So it's not just open space, meditation,
it's actually physical, there's physical effects...
-..that are making us feel good.
Surprisingly, these chemicals aren't only active in summer,
with its abundance of foliage.
They are around all year, and in winter,
they're even more critical for our wellbeing.
-I can't wait to do the making bit.
-Are you excited?
-Yeah, really excited! Shall we give it a go?
-There may be cake.
-Oh! Oh! This gets better and better!
Emma's workshop is based in her picture-perfect cottage
in the heart of the Cambridgeshire Fens.
-Come on in, it's a bit cosier in here.
-It's lovely. That's better.
This is where the natural objects she's carefully collected
take on a whole new life.
-So here we are, this is where I hold my workshops.
-It is lovely!
First, we need to make the mould. Who doesn't love a bit of squidgy putty?
I really have regressed.
I'm four, and I want to be really naughty!
The idea is to make an impression of the plant.
I'm really enjoying myself. It's just me and this little bit of craft.
Then it's transferred to the silver clay, which is 93% silver.
A flash of flame burns away the impurities,
leaving just the solid precious metal.
-Look at that!
-We've made real silver, we're alchemists!
-I cannot believe it.
-That is so beautiful, so satisfying.
What's really special about it
is the joy that the whole process has brought.
-Going outdoors, and then that will always be a memory.
We've captured a seasonal moment.
In the depths of winter, a tiny, really common,
very beautiful little plant cast in silver like a fossil.
How beautiful is that? It's gorgeous, isn't it?
And if it's inspired you to get out there into the depths of winter
and do some gathering,
then you'll definitely need to know what the weather's up to.
Here's the Countryfile five-day forecast.
MATT: Today, we're embracing winter's icy charms.
From the countryside to the coastline, Dorset has it all.
Even in the most unforgiving season,
this diverse landscape lends itself to an array of top produce.
So, when it comes to fresh food, even in the middle of winter,
Dorset is the place to be.
Earlier, I met James Warren,
a farmer championing local producers and their food,
and he's about to rustle up a storm of seasonal delicacies.
James, this is a mightily impressive barbecue, to say the least...
-..and the produce that's
on here, I mean, what you're cooking,
it smells divine here.
Erm...so, yeah, just talk us through
the grill here and what we've got.
So, er...we've got a ribeye there
still on the bone,
which is of White Park beef.
Look at that!
We've left the cap on just to cook it,
but we'll take that off before we eat it.
Beautiful. This lamb here?
Yeah, again, this is truly local,
because up behind us
in the fields there is where that
lamb was born and raised.
It's actually from that sheep farm?
Yeah, it's part of the flock
you can see, those white dots.
Then have we got your pork there?
Yeah, this is a rolled
shoulder of our pork here,
which we've stuffed and we just roll up and down the barbecue.
-You see it's getting a nice colour now.
And frying off in the pan?
Then over there,
I just picked a little bit of
sea beet from the cliffs here.
It's a feast, but it doesn't end here,
because you've been doing something
with Nick's crab, as well.
Yeah, we've made a lovely
crab butter, which,
when I take that off
to rest in just a moment,
we'll put a couple of discs
-of the crab butter on there.
And that will just melt in,
so a bit of a surf and turf theme,
-as we're next to the sea.
So, you're farming it, you're selling
it, and you're cooking it, as well.
the jack of all trades here.
-We do the full thing, yeah.
I mean, obviously, this is a real passion of yours,
but how challenging is this in today's kind of agriculture
and today's market, as far as the consumer is concerned?
I think it is challenging,
but if something's only coming from a few fields away, you feel
it should be good value, you feel you should be able to save costs.
-It's not as easy as that,
but we certainly manage it wherever we can.
We must almost be at the eating stage.
Yeah, I think
we can start carving up.
We'll leave that for now. OK.
And Nick the fisherman is also joining us
to sample his own surf and turf.
I don't know what to start with.
Pick off those, they're like a lamb lollipop.
-Yeah. Good luck to you all.
Oh, my word!
I'm going to have a go at the crab butter on a...
Oh, yeah! Good, isn't it?
I mean, this, really, is what the essence of local food
is all about, I mean, here we are, in the landscape,
we're looking at exactly where the lamb was reared, you know,
we're just at the water's edge of where the crowd was caught, and...
I mean, it just doesn't get any better than this.
-It makes everything taste better, doesn't it?
-Oh, my word!
Well, that's almost all we've got time for for this week,
but if you would like to see more of what our spectacular winter season
has to offer, then you can watch Countryfile Winter Diaries,
all week, 9:15am, on BBC One.
Little sieves make perfect feeders.
I'll be revealing how wearing wellies
could be affecting your feet.
When we have a particular disease or condition,
that changes our odour, and the dog can identify the disease.
-So you are going to look after me out there?
-We'll look after you!
-So, wow, this is Robird, is it?
-This is it.
Some people would say, "Why don't you put the heating on at home?"
Cos we can't afford it.
We've had landslides, the railway moved 40 metres towards the sea.
Wow, look at that!
There's a garden in a carton in there.
-Were you expecting that?
From all of us here on the
Dorset coastline, it's goodbye.
Right, crew, we're finished! Come and eat!
Today, Countryfile embraces the wonders of winter. Matt Baker is on the Dorset coastline to meet a man who's championing local winter produce. Anita Rani finds out how making jewellery inspired by nature can improve the winter blues. In the Highlands, Steve Brown mushes with a pack of huskies, and we catch up with Eddie the Eagle, 30 years after his appearance at the Winter Olympics. We also take to the wilds with the artist who loves painting mountains. Joe Crowley meets the man with a lifelong passion for deer, while Ellie Harrison finds out about our long fascination with foxes. And Adam Henson is on a farm where gathering in the sheep is a risky business.