John Craven visits the remote landscape of Crummack Dale in Yorkshire. Here he learns about the Norber Erratics - giant boulders scattered after the last ice age.
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'You can have known its hills and its valleys since childhood.'
But it can still surprise you. Take this place - Crummack Dale.
a region that I love, but this small dale is completely new to me.
Huge boulders lie scattered all across the valley floor.
They're known as the Norber Erratics.
Now, a name like that sounds to me much more like a punk rock band!
But these rocks have been around for much, much longer.
I'll be finding out how they got here and how the Erratics
have inspired artists, from painters and poets to dancers.
Tom is finding out that there really is no such thing
and shopping from supermarket shelves,
the idea of finding your own food from wild in the woods
But is our appetite for samphire or mushrooms
threatening parts of the countryside?
Helen's meeting the English team going for glory in this year's
Can we see her in action? Yeah. Meg!
SHE LAUGHS She's like a whippet!
'..while Adam is over the water checking out the Irish competition.'
I'd love to take this little one home,
I'll see you in the Cotswolds. No bother.
Lush, green pastures, babbling streams and brooks,
all surrounded by dramatic limestone escarpments.
Quiet yet grand, like a deserted, natural amphitheatre.
One of the Yorkshire Dales' best kept secrets,
Crummack Dale is tucked between the big box office destinations
of Ingleborough and Pen-Y-Ghent in the south-west corner of the Dales.
The Crummack Dale landscape encapsulates
The shifting of the continents and the comings and goings
of the ice ages have created this unique landscape
and every fold, every dip, every rise -
everything is all because of the rocks.
'Limestone dominates this part of the Dales,
'most noticeably in the striking limestone pavements,
'furrowed by weathering with character in every grike and clint.'
But step over the limestone and this is what I've come to see.
and there are lots of them around here.
Large boulders perched precariously on much smaller stones.
It's an amazing sight, I've never seen anything quite like it before.
And if you think that it needs Stonehenge-type manpower
or modern lifting equipment to achieve something like this,
"Erratic" means this piece of rock shouldn't be here.
This hulking bit of sandstone on Norber Hill
is 100 million years older than the relatively tiny pieces of limestone
To explain this bit of upside down but completely natural geology
It does look as though somebody's put the big one on top of the little one.
They'd need to be very strong, John, because there's a few tonnes there.
And we as geologists have always wondered
how these boulders had possibly got here.
And we have to look no further than ice.
And we believe that the ice came down from the north
some 17,000 years ago in what we call a moraine field.
This is where, effectively, ice was melting,
Basically, all of these rocks were inside the ice while it was frozen,
and when it melted and retreated, they fell to the ground.
So what is the age of the big rock and the limestone?
The block on top was laid down in a sea 400-odd million years ago,
so it's very, very old, and we think these have come
from about two miles up the valley
because that's where we can find bedrock of the same material.
Whereas the limestone underneath would have been here
In terms of geological time, where we build the layers up,
the oldest at the bottom, this is completely upside down geology.
and this is a world-famous erratic field, as we call it.
There's a large area of these boulders left for us to see,
While these Erratics can be explained by nature,
'In his book, Walks In Limestone Country,
'Alfred Wainwright had a similar view.'
'Monoliths lie stranded in confusion.
'An amazing scene, one that imparts a feeling of unreality,
'as though this were not Earth, but some strange lunar landscape.'
And it isn't just Wainwright who's been inspired to commit
'Local painter Peter Osborne has been interpreting
These rocks make perfect subjects, don't they, Peter?
This place, more than almost any I know,
has got this character about it, it's built into these rocks.
Because of their enormous geological life cycle
and the things that they've kind of suffered.
You feel these rocks have been lifted out of their home,
carried away and dropped, and worn away by the weather,
and so there's a feeling of endurance and strength in them.
you try to bring out more than what the camera would see.
There's so many different shapes here.
There's architectural, there's movement in them,
There's everything here so they're a terrific subject.
It's like a sort of great museum of strangeness here.
The erratic nature of the Erratics certainly sparks the imagination.
A whole troupe of artists has been inspired by these humble
Photographer Paul Rogers focused on the millennia of lichen growth
that's created patterns like a night sky...
..whilst poet Elizabeth Burns has portrayed the Erratics in verse.
'Stopped, halted, frozen. A scatter of rocks in a field.
'The things that held them - glacier and limestone -
And here's a dance performance going on, in and around the Erratics.
Well, Louise, you've created this, how did it come about?
This was originally part of a three-day performance
that happened in Crummack Dale and beyond.
And during the performance, an audience made a 25-mile journey
and as they travelled, they experienced dance, poetry, music
and scientific talks in the landscape,
and this was one of those... one of those moments.
So, the Erratics became a stage for this ballet? That's right.
I mean, you can hardly resist these amazing Erratics,
and we were really drawn to them for their shape, their textures,
the fact that they're literally splitting in half,
so with the choreographer, we made a piece that responded
very much to the boulders themselves.
we looked back at some of the resourceful people
we've met recently who managed to gather food
from our natural landscape. But, as Tom's been finding out,
sometimes foraging can seem to go too far.
Our countryside provides space for recreation, relaxation
and a bountiful buffet of wild food.
Foraging is the age-old activity of finding food in our natural world,
appealing to the hunter-gatherer in us all.
I guess I could make a little meal out of these sweet chestnuts here.
But is a frenzy of foraging now damaging our countryside?
'has been visited by foragers for centuries.
'In recent times, the mushrooms here have been hitting the headlines.'
This is a cepe de Bordeaux, this is perfection.
A deadly Amanita? Deadly, deadly. Angel of death.
'Brigitte Tee-Hillman and has been picking mushrooms here
Well, it's a beefsteak... or we call it a beefsteak,
because if it's not bloody any more, it's too old.
It's good to eat, is it? It's excellent to eat, yes.
As a stir-fry - the Japanese use it in stir-fry. Can we cut it off?
But you have to cut it very close to the tree.
And this year, they are growing like crazy.
Yeah? Is this a good year for fungi?
Absolutely, because last year was the worst year
because of the rain and the weather, and this year is a fantastic year.
'Brigitte sells the best examples to high-end restaurants in London,
'and believes the way she harvests fungi
'doesn't damage the natural environment.'
How can I damage them if I'm still picking my same spots for 42 years?
Mm. I'm looking after them. Mm. I help them grow, yeah?
If they are over the top, I leave them on the tree.
Other people just knock them off the tree.
If they have poisonous mushrooms, they kick them over.
I don't do that, that's destroying nature.
'After a lengthy legal battle, Brigitte was granted
'the first and only licence in the New Forest
'She says she knows how to forage responsibly.'
Tell me what you think about some of the other commercial pickers.
They pick everything and they come with truckloads, with vanloads,
and they sell them illegally to hotels, whereas in some of them,
they have much stricter rules right now because they have to show where
So only some people do it, but they still do it.
'For Brigitte, it's the groups coming in for mass pickings
'with no regard for the natural world who are causing the problem.
'But what's driving their desire for large-scale foraging?'
Well, for a start, TV chefs have been extolling
the virtues of finding food for free in the wild,
encouraging viewers to fill their basket from nature's supermarket.
'Dishes like wild mushroom risotto and wild garlic soup
'are increasingly commonplace on trendy menus.'
So, I've come to London where many hand-picked wild mushrooms end up,
in fashionable restaurants and eateries like this one,
Right, look at that. So we've got these,
lovely couple of beefsteak mushrooms,
so we're going to use a bit of that, and we're going to use...
We're going to do mushrooms on toast, keep it nice and simple.
'Head chef Oliver Rowe's passion is for the seasonal,
'and mushrooms are about as seasonal as it gets.'
It's like...mushroom times 100, isn't it? They're amazing.
It's amazing. Super-strong flavour, it's gorgeous.
There is some concern, though, in some areas about over-foraging
and about the amount of money that can be made by this.
Do you ever worry that places like this are driving that demand
I think it's a fairly recent concern.
We haven't over-foraged so much in the past,
so when I've started sourcing as locally as I do,
and I felt it was something which we could do more with.
Now, people have cottoned onto it a lot more,
and I think they need to take a bit of care about what they're foraging.
If they sense other people have done a lot of foraging in the areas
But I think it's a shame if you don't utilise
the fruits of the countryside and actually make the most of them.
And on a wider note, the more in touch we feel with our food,
the more care and responsibility we'll have towards
sourcing it carefully and sourcing it responsibly.
'as you'd expect from a top chef with fresh ingredients.
'But what happens if we all start eating them?'
appears to be the ultimate organic choice.
that worries some environmental organisations.
'One of the concerned bodies is the British Mycological Society.'
It's called this because of this kind of inky effect there,
and that black splurge on my fingers there,
that contains all the spores for this fungus.
Justin Smith is one of their conservation officers.
So, what do you think about people coming and foraging for mushrooms?
It's not a problem with picking fruit bodies per se.
the sheer volume of people going out and picking.
And then certainly there's increasing evidence that suggests,
especially near the bigger populated areas,
that collectors are going in and stripping the sites of everything.
So they are taking the edibles, the inedibles, everything,
taking them off site, sorting through them in the car park or at home,
and then picking out all the edible things that they
want to eat themselves or they want to sell and then discarding the rest.
I think it's the scale, really, that's the problem.
Fungi are nature's recyclers, an essential part of our ecosystem.
And it will take decades to measure any damage.
Few people want foraging stopped altogether,
but there is growing concern that when it's done on a large scale,
especially commercially, it could have an impact on our natural world.
So, how do we make sure that it's done responsibly?
That's what I'll be investigating later.
It's not only in our woodlands that wildlife thrives.
As Ellie discovered when she visited Essex in the summer.
Industry and urban landscapes as far as the eye can see.
The shorelines of the Thames estuary aren't exactly the sort of places
you'd expect to find much life, let alone wildlife.
What happens when oil refineries, landfills
and industrial sites like these come to the end of their useful life?
Well, this site has been abandoned for more than 40 years,
and it looks like it hasn't been cared for at all in that time.
But that couldn't be further from the truth.
Places like this are known as brownfield sites.
And the conventional wisdom is to build on them.
But they're finding a new lease of life as nature reserves.
And some of them are up there with the best.
Of the UK's top five sites for rare and endangered species,
only three are traditional nature reserves.
The other two are brownfield sites. Both of those are here in Essex.
This one, on Canvey Island, is the best.
And get this, there's more biodiversity here, per square foot,
This area used to be a coastal grazing marsh.
But in the 1960s, it was decided to build an oil refinery here.
Changing circumstances meant that it was never finished.
And in 1973, the builders and developers moved out.
Now its evolution is being monitored by Sarah Henshall from Buglife.
Hi, Sarah, how are you doing? Yes, good, thank you.
some of the really rare bumblebees that live here.
Got it! Here we go. What's this one? This is a brown banded carder bee.
It's one of our rarest bee species. It's a really cute one.
As you can see, it's really fluffy and ginger
and it's got lots of brown bands on its abdomen, hence its name.
We've got 1,400 different species of invertebrates or insects here.
The reason these sites are important is because we've lost
lots of our more natural habitats in the wider landscape.
Sites like these are mimicking wildflower meadows,
heathlands, sites like that. It's covered in sandy Thames dredgings.
That's perfect habitat and substrate for insects and wildflowers.
That's a great find. Well caught. We'll let it go.
We need every single one of them out there, don't we? We do.
The value of brownfield sites has only really been recognised
in the past decade, so no-one knows much about how to look after them.
But they are a valuable asset, so how do we protect them?
is running an experiment here to find out.
I'm using a thermal camera here to measure how much heat
we're getting off these bare patches of ground.
The reason for that, a lot of the insects here really enjoy
having these bare scrapes, this exposed substrate.
So they can bask in the sunshine and warm themselves up.
So this plot here is actually part of a trial that we're doing
to look at how we manage brownfields.
If this was a woodland, or a fenland or a sand dune,
because someone has written a book about it.
So it's a new area of conservation, isn't it? It is, yes.
Brownfields are probably the biggest slice of luck that conservation
has had in the UK in the past 20 years. They're fabulous.
But in order to maintain the value of the sites,
we have to know how to manage them, and that's what we're doing here.
So, what does the trial involve and what's it going to tell you?
If we look here and behind us, we've got
three trial areas, and essentially what's happened is,
the vegetation has been removed, either a little bit,
a median amount or in this case, underneath our feet here, a lot.
Right. So what we are now doing is we're going to measure
and whether we get the species we actually want.
The transformation of Canvey Wick from oil refinery
to Site of Special Scientific Interest is complete.
But it's happened almost by accident.
The same can't be said about another site
Here, a new nature reserve has been created from scratch,
London's rubbish was brought 30 miles down the Thames by barge
and dumped in one of the largest landfill sites in Western Europe.
A million tonnes of it a year in a never-ending stream.
Two years ago, the landfill site closed, but the barges still come.
Not bringing rubbish from our bins any more, but instead
bringing the waste from the big tunnelling projects in the city.
And the chalk and soil from that gets used to cap this vast area.
The capping process was started just 18 years ago.
And since then, plants and animals have been colonising it.
They've had a little help from their friends.
and reptiles from some of the major developments nearby were rehoused.
Now, this whole end of the site, 120 acres of it,
has been turned into Thurrock Thameside Nature Park.
The reserve has only been open since May,
so they don't really know what's out there yet.
But already the species list is growing.
The reserve is being surveyed by Lisa Smart, the reserve manager,
and Darren Tansley, a mammal expert from Essex Wildlife Trust.
Darren, Lisa, how are you doing? Hello.
Are you all right? Yes, we're fine. Has it sprung?
Yes, this one has here, we can see the door's down.
So I'm assuming something's in there.
We'll just try to tease the bedding out
and hope the animal will come out with it.
And just see what we get. Any movement? It's exciting.
Ah, now, that's what we wouldn't necessarily expect
in a grassland area, but wood mice are common everywhere.
He's gone quite quiet there, that's not a sign that he's calm,
Do we need to crack on? We'll just let him go.
That's one new species added to the list.
But it's not just mammals they're looking for.
So, Lisa, we're on a reptile hunt. We are. Hopefully, anyway.
That's just in case we are lucky enough to find an adder.
because there are plenty on the site.
But I don't need the gloves because it's not an adder we find.
These experiences always lift my spirits, I love this.
what is it about this site that you love, Darren?
I mean, it's seeing animals like this, it's fantastic.
You rarely get a chance to see something like this
The local people here have had to put up
with it being a landfill site for 40 years.
And now to have a site that's going to be restored
to something that's going to support things like slowworms
and reptiles and short eared owls is just amazing for them.
We've got another over 600, 700 acres to come along to us,
from landfill site to nature reserve, where I've seen
slowworms, skylarks and wood mice has been truly remarkable.
And it's a great example of how we can rethink our brownfield sites
and how quickly our land can recover.
before the final of One Man And His Dog here on Countryfile.
And in the run-up to the big event, we're meeting the national teams.
Later in the show, Adam will be in Ireland.
But first, Helen caught up with the English competitors
I'm meeting two people - a handler at the top of his game...
And I have a fair few miles to cover because our English contestants
are from the far-flung corners of the nation.
I'm starting just over the border from my home county of Cumbria,
here in the wilds of Northumberland.
Home to Ben Smith, a shepherd from the village of Great Whittington
and a competitor in the singles round. But what about his dog?
Ben has an ever-expanding pack of companions to choose from.
Where are they? Oh! They're tiny. Yeah, they're only three weeks old.
Three weeks old? Can I meet them? Yeah. Go on in. Hello!
'Ben continues a family tradition of breeding collies.
'This fellow might be a champion of the future!'
So these guys are clearly too young to go to One Man And His Dog.
Who will you be taking? I'll be taking Meg,
who I won the national with last year.
Shall we go and meet Meg? Yeah. Lead the way, Ben.
'At six years old, Meg is in her prime, and a national champion.'
Tell me a little bit about Meg. What makes her so good at trialling?
She's very quick, very responsive, and has got a very good stop on her.
When you want her to stop, she stops instantly.
She'll correct things very sharp, also. Can we see you in action? Meg?
She's like a whippet! Yeah, she's quick.
She can be very close to sheep without upsetting them,
Once they get close, sheep get upset, which is her trait.
When you get into the shedding ring or the penning, she can be
literally a foot away where other dogs can't get anywhere near that,
so she's very on hand, so if you need her to move, she's there.
So do you train much with her or is she purely a working dog
No, once I train a young dog I pretty much take them to work every day.
Trialling is my second thing. They've got to earn me a living.
I go to trials and sort of wing it. You don't! I'm afraid I do, yeah.
A lot of people do a lot of schooling, but I don't.
'And Ben's winging it seems to be working.
'In the past six years he's been in the England team four times,
'competed in the International Sheepdog Trials,
'and won the English National Championship in 2012.
'The foundations for his success began at a young age.'
My granddad used to buy and sell dogs and train dogs.
I near enough grew up with my granddad, so it was what he liked,
and I loved being with him, and that's how I got into it.
Do you think about your granddad now when you do it? A lot, yeah.
He died just before I won the national, a couple of months,
so he just missed out seeing me win the national.
He would have been very proud. I'm sure he would.
That would have been a good one for him.
What would it mean to you, then, to win One Man And His Dog?
I used to sit with my granddad and watch this kind of programme,
and it would be a proud moment if I could win it.
'But Ben is up against some seasoned opponents.
last year's One Man And His Dog singles champion,
You're facing some pretty stiff competition. Of course.
So you've got to go with the game face on.
or the closest thing you're going to get to it, isn't it? Yeah.
but I'm not going for second place either.
Ben and Meg are pretty confident, but this is a team event,
so they're nothing without the young handler
that they'll be competing alongside as Team England.
'To meet this young handler, I've got a lot of travelling to do.
'24 hours, a few modes of transport, one sleep,
'and 470 miles later, I'm on the not-so-sunny shores of Cornwall.'
The young handler that I'm here to meet is the youngest of them all.
'This 14-year-old strapping lad is from the village of Veryan.
'He was runner-up in this year's international trials
'with his working dog Zac, who he trained himself.
'Mark inherited his passion for trialling from his dad Trevor,
'a shepherd who looks after 900 ewes on this cliff-top farm.
'Straight back from school, and Mark's practising with Zac.'
Mark! Sorry to interrupt this glorious Cornish evening.
How old were you when you started, you know, first running a dog?
I first started running a dog when I was ten. How often do you train?
Not any more. I love how you're looking at your dad there.
Does he really get up early? He's laughing at me, so I thought...
Tell me a bit about Zac, then. Zac is waiting patiently. Yeah.
He's two and a half years old. He's a Border collie dog.
'As Zac is a young dog, he is sometimes too keen.
'He can go in tight on the sheep and unsettle them.
'But making sure the flock stays calm
'is key to keeping it all under control.
'Fortunately, Mark has a friend on the farm who's taught him
'the experienced, now semi-retired, Tweed.'
You've seen him kicking around and you used to run him.
I learned to keep the dog off when working sheep
as he tends to come in and spook the sheep.
And I also learned just to relax when working a dog,
because your feelings can transmit to the dog and then the dog
acts differently and possibly doesn't listen to your commands.
So are you going to have to keep the lid on your nerves
on competition day? Yep. Can you do that? I'll try.
What would it mean to you to win One Man And His Dog?
because I came as a runner-up in the international, so I almost got there,
So winning One Man And His Dog would be quite an achievement.
'To get there, this young man and his dog Zac
'will need to hold their nerve and work as a team.'
What, if anything, is going to let your team down?
I have let the dog down in the past by giving him the wrong command,
It might be Zac's inexperience as well,
coming in too tight onto the sheep, or something like that.
If it goes wrong, it'll probably be my fault.
'He might be the youngest by almost a year, but Mark is a cool customer.
'Mum and Dad, on the other hand, are a little more tense.'
I'll probably be more nervous watching him
than he will actually be running him. Do you think? Yeah.
I just walk away to the other side of the field and leave him to it.
How would you feel if he won? Over the moon.
The whole of Veryan is going to be watching anyway,
so if he won there would be a big party. It would be great!
So there we have it. Team England - Ben Smith and Mark Hopper.
Later in the programme, Adam will be catching up with
the last of the contenders, Team Ireland.
Earlier on, we heard how the fashion for wild foods has led to concerns
that over-foraging is threatening parts of our countryside.
So how do we strike a healthy balance? Here's Tom again.
Foraging for free food in the great outdoors.
But some people are not simply foraging to get a taste of nature.
A mushroom like this can fetch ?40-?50 a kilo on the market,
leading woodlands that are close to some of our cities
needing to reach for extreme measures to protect their fungi.
'looks after 16 green spaces around our capital.
'After parts of its woodlands were stripped of fungi,
This is an almost magical feeling in this glade, isn't it?
Quite a few fungi around. Yeah. It's a fantastic show, this year.
'Paul Thompson is the superintendent at Epping Forest.'
We're very happy to support foraging in general,
but I think the big issue for us here in the forest,
two-thirds of it is a Site of Special Scientific Interest.
around the desire to pick edible fungi.
Have you really seen that pressure grow in recent years?
We're undertaking record numbers of discussions
and conversations with the public, and, unfortunately,
confiscations of large quantities of material being picked. Really?
Maybe ten years ago, we had individuals coming up with
a small basket, taking what they need for personal consumption,
and now they're coming with bin bags and collecting large,
very large quantities of material, and it's no longer...
'Here at Epping, they started with a formal code of conduct,
'but when neither worked, it led to an outright ban.'
Our process is very much an educational approach.
We will approach people who are fungi picking
and try to explain to them why we don't want it to happen.
We encourage people to put back what they've found.
And reluctantly, if that doesn't work, we will prosecute.
Our forest keepers have constabulary powers,
and we can take people to court. Have you done that? We have.
and nine prosecutions in the last couple of years,
and we've got new impending prosecutions with this season.
So here, you're simply not allowed to pick mushrooms,
but in other parts of the country, the rules aren't so clear.
For example, it's banned in some but not all protected areas,
like Sites of Special Scientific Interest.
And then, generally, you need the landowner's permission,
but that becomes a bit blurry when you've got public access.
And then there's the amount you're going to take - are they just
for you, or are you hoping to make money from the mushrooms?
and perhaps even more restrictions on foraging the answer?
Well, most organisations would like to try education first.
'Urban forager Andy Hamilton is here to teach me the basics.
These could be my final words, however.
there's not a massive amount of taste, but they weren't unpleasant.
You have to have a few in one go to get a big taste.
There's a few things I'm more familiar with there.
We've got some elderberries just there.
You want to leave a few for the birds.
You're already introducing that idea of being a bit
responsible, thoughtful, about how you go about it.
Yeah, we're sharing this area, it's not just us that come
and pick, there's animals, birds, insects...that come
For us to come in - when we can buy these foods -
it's good to just leave some for the species.
This, of course, is a real autumn favourite, the blackberry,
The phrase that's always used here is that foraging is
"food for free", but in a sense that's not quite...
There is a cost, possibly, to wildlife,
to yourself if you get it wrong... You need to think about that.
No, exactly, and I got it wrong once.
I remember going out and seeing a patch of wild rocket and picking it
cos I got so excited, came back the next year, there was none there.
You know, you're doing yourself out of food for free as well
Even on a selfish level, you perhaps don't want to do it.
'taking only what you need from a plentiful supply,
'just picking what you can confidently identify
'and leave any rare, protected or poisonous species well alone.'
So your amateurs should stick to the blackberries
and the obvious things we all know about,
and then if you want to learn more, do a bit of reading, get stuck in.
Exactly, just to get started you could even go out in your garden
and see what's there - probably nettles, dandelions, yarrow.
'If you're in any doubt, foraging courses
And the British Mycological Society are working on updating
There's a link to the current one on our website.
This has been a tremendously abundant autumn,
but that's so much more than simply a mouthwatering spectacle,
and we shouldn't let our greed blind us to the fact that these are
beautiful and critical components of the British countryside.
Earlier, Helen met the competitors representing England in
Now it's time to find out the strength of the Irish challenge.
Lush green hills, soaring mountains, spectacular coastlines.
Home to the senior and junior members of the Irish team hoping to
I'm on the west coast in County Mayo,
and I'm meeting up with the first member of the Irish team
everything One Man and His Dog will throw at him.
Competing in the singles is Michael Hastings.
He's been working with sheepdogs since he was ten years old.
He keeps around 100 black-faced ewes and uses eight dogs to work them.
My word, Michael, you've got plenty of dogs here.
Well, actually, Adam, they're all the one family,
All sons and daughters of this dog here, Kilgreen Ben.
Oh, Ben's my favourite, yeah, my first trial dog.
Friends of mine have got bitches and they've brought them to be
covered by Kilgreen Ben, cos he was working well and trialling well.
I take a stud pup instead of taking money, you know.
So rather than taking money for getting their bitches
pregnant by Ben, you choose to have a puppy from them instead?
That's right, Adam. How old is he now?
He's ten years old after Christmas, he's getting on a bit.
And is he the one you're going to work on One Man And His Dog?
Well, he is my favourite, but I'm not too sure,
cos he's getting a bit stiff in the bones.
I might decide to bring Meg, his daughter, instead.
Let's go and see them running in the field, shall we? OK.
Lovely, it's a great set-up you've got.
Let's see him go, then. Yeah, I'll send him off to the left here.
Oh, he's got a lovely wide out run, hasn't he?
Yeah, he's going a bit too wide maybe at this stage of his life,
And is that what you're worried about
That's right, I'd be a bit concerned about that
going over to England, if you had a small course it mightn't suit him.
Because he doesn't like to weave quickly,
he likes to take a nice, wide gentle turn?
'At ten, Ben has plenty of experience in trialling, but Michael
'still practises regularly with him to keep him at the top of his game.'
So this is quite an art, he's going to try and get the two big rams
out here and split them from the rest of the flock.
It's really working man and dog in harmony. Come bye, Ben.
The dog has got to try and understand what he's doing.
Lie down, Ben. He's got the rams to the edge now.
It's as much about understanding the sheep and what they're thinking and
where they're moving, and working with the dog to make it happen.
'he's separated the two rams from the flock.'
Brilliant, he's done it, look at that!
Here, here. That's brilliant, Michael.
Very good, I'm impressed. That'll do, Ben.
Shall we put Meg through her paces now, see how she gets on? OK, yeah.
So this is little Meg, do you want to send her off? We'll send her off.
Good dog, good dog. Away, Meg, away. Meg.
Lie down there. She's good, isn't she?
I hear you praising her there - is that something you use a lot?
When you're training a young dog, I use the praise a lot, like,
"Good dog, good dog." They love that, like.
So if you see them doing something nice that you like,
And they're always looking for that praise,
'Michael's success with his dogs is remarkable.
'He has to fit training around his full-time job.'
No, no. Actually, I work at a telephone company,
How long have you been trialling? Six years now.
but there will be plenty of people with more experience.
That's right, I've only six years. Does that put you at a disadvantage?
It does a bit, like, but I've been working with sheep
You've got every chance. Good luck. Thanks very much, thank you.
Joining Michael in the Irish team is Jake Hamilton from County Antrim.
At 18, Jake's the oldest of our young handlers.
His passion for sheepdog trialling started
when he was given a collie pup for his birthday.
But it's four-year-old Jim that he's relying on to steer him
He's fast, isn't he? Quite a big dog. Aye.
Look at him, he's very responsive, straight down.
Aye, he listens well, he knows. And what's the right-hand command?
So that's away. JAKE WHISTLES
Brilliant, look at him, he's like a robot. And to the left?
Really powerful mouth whistle. Do you ever use a plastic one?
If you use your fingers and your mouth, then you can't forget them
if you go to a trial. So it's handier. Good point.
And how old were you when you first started working dogs?
About 15, 14 or 15. And now you're 18? Aye.
So you've had a few years at it, but not that long.
Good to be in the Irish team. Aye, it's nice to get onto it. Amazing.
You've got more than just him, haven't you?
Aye, there's about seven or eight,
Oldest would be about eight months old.
Can I see some of the others? Aye, come on, I'll show you.
Let's bring that dog, where is he? C'mon. Good boy!
Finding a young dog who's showing all the
right signs for working sheep can pay dividends,
and this is young Jess, who's only 12 weeks old
and could be a future trialler one day, like her dad Jim over there.
Now, Jake is training a young dog who's only eight months old
called Bob, and you can see his inexperience.
He's keen to work, working his way round the sheep,
sitting when he's told - but he hasn't got the skill
and ability of Jim, who's his trialler.
He's trying to get the dog to go round the sheep,
he's running in too close, he's overexcited.
And Jim has just laid there patiently,
watching the young understudy making mistakes.
How long does it take you to get from that standard up to Jim?
Well, it all depends, some of them are quick learners
He's a fast learner, but it'll still take a good year,
year and a half before he's up around that standard.
Little Jess is certainly very keen, wants to join in.
Would you ever sell Jim? No, definitely not.
I got offered good money for him there,
I got offered 10,000 for him. Did you? 10,000!
But no, I definitely wouldn't sell him.
What if someone offered you more than that?
That's good, isn't it, really? It's good that you adore him so much.
do you fancy your chances on One Man And His Dog on the day?
If he's on form, he's capable of winning,
but time will tell, it's a lot to do with luck on the day,
holding your nerve and things like that.
Well, best of luck, I think you've got every chance.
You'd better have this one back, I'd quite like to take it
back to the Cotswolds, but I think he'd better stay with the experts.
Good to see you, all the best, bye-bye. All right, cheers.
Join us for the big event next Sunday,
Well, it's all shaping up to be a cracking final
And talking of things to look forward to,
I know a lot of you will want to buy this -
the Countryfile calendar for 2014, so here's how to get one.
The calendar costs ?9, including free UK delivery.
You can buy yours on our website. That's:
To order by post, send your name, address and cheque to:
And please make cheques payable to "BBC Countryfile Calendar."
A minimum of ?4 from the sale of each calendar will be donated to
In a moment, I'll be helping to bring back a special creature
here in the Yorkshire Dales, as part of a conservation project
which is the first of its kind in the UK.
But before that, here's the detailed
Countryfile weather forecast for the weekend.
Good evening. The weather across Yorkshire has been stormy with
reports of flooding and thunderstorms. Flooding is something
we might need to keep in the back of our minds, as these is rain and
strong winds. On Tuesday, the warmth is spread across the country, higher
than we would expect temperatures at this time of year. This will be
choose the and Wednesday, bringing high temperatures. Perhaps by the
end of the week, things will cool off, bringing temperatures back down
to where we would expect them. The one weather across as today with the
moisture has led to thunderstorms and reported tornado in Hampshire.
There will be a bit of a break, allowing some mist and fog falling
across Scotland, but it is not set to last. The rain will move north
across England and Wales during tomorrow morning, accompanied by
some strong winds, with gales around the coasts. Things are cloudy for
Northern Ireland in the morning, but clearing a little in the afternoon.
In the North of Scotland it will be some showers, but staying mainly dry
and bright for the afternoon. The cloud will thicken across Northern
Ireland through the afternoon. It stays cloudy across England and
Wales, with strong winds and patchy rain, with temperatures like the
weekend, forecast to reach high temperatures of 17 or 18 degrees.
But the rain keeps on coming, with the low pressure staying across the
Atlantic. The temperatures will stay up, and it will be another male
mate, leading us into the start of Tuesday. The low pressure will
dominate the forecast. East Anglia might start off on Tuesday with a
dry day, but you can see a lot of rain still across the country,
across the North and West, and the rain is slowly and erratically
moving its way through the country during the day. It is all
accompanied by strong winds, drawing one temperatures from the South.
High temperatures 15-18 degrees. The low temperature will sit to the
north by Wednesday, so while we have lost the weather front, everything
is pretty unsettled. It looks as if Wednesday will be a day of sunshine
and showers. The thundershowers could be heavy with strong winds,
the risk of Gill forceful stop but when we get rightness in between,
England and Wales will see how temperatures of 15-18 degrees.
Starting to cool off a little. The forecast at the moment from England
and Wales brings with it some cloud and rain, and with the rain
continuing to move northwards, some of it could be on the heavy side.
This is where we might need to keep an eye on things as the week goes
on. On Friday, much of the rain will stay across England and Wales, with
Scotland and Northern Ireland seen the mixture of sunshine and showers.
From the millstone grit peaks to the limestone pavements,
a landscape shaped over millions of years by ice and water.
But for all its beauty, there is an epidemic in the rivers,
This disease is crayfish plague, and it's having a devastating effect.
This is our native white-clawed crayfish,
and its numbers are being decimated by the plague which is
brought here by this - its American cousin, the signal crayfish,
which has now invaded our streams and rivers.
It carries the plague, but it's not affected by it.
I'm not allowed to touch this signal crayfish for fear that
I then contaminate this native crayfish,
and others that I'll be seeing for the rest of the programme.
'Imported in the 1970s as a food delicacy,
'signal crayfish have quickly found their way around the country.'
Today, for the first time, captive-bred native crayfish
are going to be released into the wild, and we'll be there.
When Julia was here in 2010, she met Paul Bradley and Neil Handy,
who were trying to produce the right conditions to
This is what we call an ark site. As in Noah's Ark? Yes.
This was set up simply to try and keep some alive, local crayfish.
They were the first people in the UK to successfully breed
Now, they're seeing the fruits of their labour.
How successful has this project been since Julia was here?
Since Julia was here, we've got to breeding quite a lot of
these guys, female white-claw crayfish.
You were just starting back in 2010. What lessons have you learnt,
Paul, from this breeding process here?
We've got a succession of tanks here,
and through monitoring water quality every month for two years,
we found very slight differences through the tanks,
and they actually breed more successfully in the lower tanks,
where the water quality is just that little bit better.
It's a small difference, but it's significant.
more appropriate sites to release them,
and it also helps us to manage where the species is still
hanging on and has a good prospect for survival as well.
What we're going to try and do today
is put some of these back into a safe haven,
hopefully recreate their own population.
Shall we set them free? We certainly shall.
There are unaffected streams in the Dales,
and we're heading to one right now, but I can't tell you exactly
where it is, because Neil and Paul want it kept secret.
So, Paul, what have you found in this sample?
We've got quite a diversity of life here, John.
We've got storm flies, mayflies - indicative of good water quality.
So we can be reasonably sure that the crayfish are going to be
Well, this threat to our native crayfish is getting very serious,
isn't it? We've got this crayfish plague
spreading through our native population,
and it seems to be eliminating entire populations from catchments.
And are these signal crayfish doing other damage as well?
They are doing enormous damage to fish as well, to salmon
and to trout, they seem to compete with them for shelter,
There's one stream not too far from here where,
if you turn a stone, you find three signal crayfish.
Clearly, if a salmon goes under there,
they'll be attacked by a signal crayfish.
And is there anything you can do to stop these invaders?
once they're in a river system, we can't get them out.
So the best thing we can do is try to prevent them
getting into river systems in the first place.
'The first captive-bred white-clawed crayfish to be
Now you've got a life jacket on, Neil. Do I need one as well?
I've got mine on specifically if I have to get in the water.
All right, I'll let you do the wading then.
Here we are, John, this will be our first release site,
I'll get in the water, and if you can pass me them down... I will do.
So, what would you like, a big male first? Please.
There we go. Thank you. How many are we going to put down here?
What we're doing, we've got two males and four females.
Two females to every male. Dainty little female.
And how can you guarantee that signal crayfish won't find this spot
We've chosen this site specifically because of the habitat, but also
because there's an impassable waterfall about a mile downstream.
So that will be a big impacting factor
Signal crayfish can't get up here unless man physically brings them.
It is actually against the law to release crayfish into a watercourse.
I've got a licence and we, as the Environment Agency,
will record all the data of where these are going, and we can
come back in six months' time and hopefully find some of these
females carrying up to 100, 120 eggs.
Well, this is the very last one we're going to release today,
but before we set her free, can I just remind you that on our website
you'll find all the details about how to buy a Countryfile calendar.
And next week we have the One Man And His Dog championships.
Now, off you go, little lady. Let's hope you stay safe.
John Craven visits the remote and strange landscape of Crummack Dale in the Yorkshire Dales. Here he learns about the Norber Erratics - giant boulders scattered after the last ice age, which have inspired painters, poets and dancers. And in a Countryfile exclusive he witnesses the first ever release of captive bred native crayfish anywhere in the UK.
Ellie Harrison is in Kent, discovering the old industrial sites that are amongst the best nature reserves in the country. Tom Heap investigates whether our love of foraging is threatening the countryside. And Helen Skelton and Adam Henson meet more contestants taking part in this year's One Man and His Dog competition.