Episode 23 Landward

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Episode 23

Dougie Vipond helps researchers on Rum tag Manx shearwaters in an effort to find out more about their feeding habits. The team hits the road with Scotland's top horse transporter.

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Hello and a very warm welcome to Landward it as week officially move


into the cold months. I will be finding out how one of Scotland's


ski centres are gearing up for what they hope will be a successful


season. But first, here is what else is coming up on the programme.


We celebrate 40 years of civilian search and rescue helicopters.


not feel scared doing the job because we are continually training


in all weather conditions. Tackling Scotland's Bracken menace. If we


lose this chemical to control bracken, we will lose a heather as


well. And the countdown to Christmas with some top Turkey tips.


I like to open the legs so that the heat get in from both sides. It


means that the whole bird cooks at the same rate. The last two winters


have been pretty tough for farmers, livestock and wildlife, but pretty


good for the ski industry. This season lasted from December into


the spring. I have been to the Lecht Ski Centre to help with


preparations for what they hope will be another bumper season.


High up in the eastern Cairngorms, tucked away in the heart of


Scotland's largest national park is the Lecht ski centre. It sits on


this road, which is one of the highest in the UK. It has been an


unusually mild November but things in Scotland can change pretty fast


and with another Arctic winter predicted, there is a lot of


excitement amongst Snow's sport enthusiasts. Final preparations are


under way here at the Lecht for the forthcoming season and this fresh


dump of Snower is hopefully the sign of good things to come. How


does it feel to see some white stuff up here? It is fantastic.


Right on the same day as last year, so we are happy. What things do you


need to do to prepare for the season? The lifts are all prepared.


We did that only in the year. We are doing some workshops as well.


We have been at it a long time. I had been up here for 35 years, so I


think I know what I am doing. Last year it we got caught out because


the snow arrived early and we were running about getting lifts ready.


The phones were ringing and we were not ready to open and that did not


go down well. You have had a couple of good seasons. How would it be to


have another good one? It would be great. The machinery is getting old


and we have to spend a lot of money on maintenance, so a good season


would help us invest in new equipment. Any one that listens to


traffic reports will know that the local road here often gets blocked.


Is that a bad thing for you? He it isn't. It is good advertising. --


it isn't. The upkeep of the ski centre isn't just confined to the


mechanical equipment. Every year is a big investment in ski and


snowboard hire and this year is no exception. How much to buy is a


finally balanced decision. It is always a gamble for the conditions


here. In terms of employing people, the equipment we have to buy, it is


a bit of a nerve-racking time. is a similar story across all of


Scotland's ski centres. A lot of hopes are pinned on another Arctic


winter and many improvements had been made. Glencoe of building new


accommodation. Cairngorms have installed a de-icing system. There


have been improvements to chairlifts as well. Snow sports


generate around �30 million a year for the Scottish economy and


supports hundreds of jobs, so fingers are crossed all round for


another bumper crop of snow. You do not leave me to tell you there is


less than a month to go until Christmas and thought turned to


that big turkey feast. Over the next four programmes, Nick is going


to deconstruct the Turkey to make sure nothing is wasted in these


difficult economic times. This year the Christmas budget is going to be


stretched to the limit, so I am going to show you how to get the


most out of your Christmas Turkey to make sure that not one scrap of


it goes to waste. This week, it is my perfect Christmas Day turkey


with all the trimmings. And here is how to cook it. When I am cooking


my Turkey, I like to open the Lex out so the heat get in from both


sides and it means that the Lex, drumsticks and thighs look at the


same speed as the breast. I like to add some Christmas festive flavour


by squeezing over fresh orange juice and tucking some herbs into


the cavity. Next, I'm going to cover the bird in olive oil and


then finally I am going to season with sea salt and ground black


pepper. I'm going to cut this in a fan oven set at 180 degrees


centigrade. I'm going to allow 25 minutes for each kilo. Now, for the


perfect roast potatoes. Normally, when you are cooking potatoes you


want to call them on a low temperature of, but for roast


potatoes, you want to bore them as hard as you can. By doing so, what


we get this crust on the outside and just by shaking them around, it


you get more of that starchy potato on the outside. Be careful you do


not spit the oil over yourself. Make sure they are completely


coated in the oil. These are going to go into a hot oven, 220 degrees


centigrade for about 35 minutes. Now, for the parsnips. They are at


their very best at this time of year. I am going to cut these into


quarters. You will need a heavy knife. First of all down in two


halves and then each half through the centre and into quarters. I


like to remove the would be part of the parsnips. I take the knife and


cut down like so. And that is them ready for the oven. Traditional


wisdom would have it that you stuff the cavity of the turkey with


stuffing, but I find you end up with undercooked Grace Stopping. I


like Mike stuffing crispy and this is just a good-quality sausage meat


with some herbs. I'm going to roll it up into little balls and cook


them in a hot frying pan with a little bit of olive-oil until they


start to colour. I will finish the cooking in the oven. Call them for


about 15 minutes and you can take them out and let them call down and


reheat them when you are ready to serve. So, the moment of truth. A


beautifully roasted nice and moist Turkey. There we habit - My Perfect


roast Christmas dinner. If you want the recipes, they are on the


Landward webpage. Next week, I will show you how to make a perfect


stock and what to do with the leftovers. Still to come, we are in


Doncaster where Eric Gilly's team of top horse transporters. They are


fantastic. They will do whatever you want. And the elite helicopter


crew saving lives around our coast. The adrenalin kicks in and away you


go. At the end of this year, at the European Union's ban on asulam,


used to control bracken, comes into force.


Bracken is a common sight across the countryside. Its roots are


toxic, it is a haven for ticks and despite the best efforts of land


managers, it has proved almost impossible to eradicate. It has


been around for 50 million years, it is native to Scotland and it is


aggressive. Whenever it encroaches, it almost always damages it. It


spreads at something like 2% a year in Scotland, so you can imagine how


quickly it can get out of hand. main method of controlling bracken


is by spring in with the chemical asulam, but a recent European Union


ban that comes into force that they ended the year means this will no


longer be an option. The ban has been put in place because they is


not enough current research data on the environmental impact of the


chemical. For farmers with a lot of bracken on their land, the loss of


the main method of control is a major problem. There are


implications do this. Yacht dense bracken is ineligible. Any areas


where you have heavy Bracken infestation, you cannot clear it.


That is a big issue. In Argyll where there are substantial Bracken


fields, it can reduce income so for farmers. Bracken is also a serious


problem on sporting estates where it can take over valuable habitat.


If we lose this chemical to control bracken, we will lose a heather as


well. It is also a hotbed for kicks. It is on the increase and if we


lose it, it will be a serious loss to industry. The alternative is to


cut it, which is dangerous. You could spray around it, but you


could claw other plants. As early as the 1940s, the Scottish


Agricultural college was studying ways of have to control bracken.


You can cut it by hand, which is laborious. You could roll it, which


reduces the vigour of the plant and does not kill it immediately.


of the more of fashion ways of controlling bracken is using a


horse drawn Brasher, and method still practised by this company.


Basically, there is a horse pulling a roller. As it rolls over it, it


breaks into the outer shell of the bracken, like this. The roots


continue to try and feed out and they kill themselves off. But it


needs to be a to certain height before it is successful, so it


depends on the land and the height of the bracken. They say if you


roll it twice a year and you run it to you successfully, you may get a-


10 years of broken up coming back. With this new band coming into the


force at the end of the year, how We have tried mechanical means


editors not Wordwell. At the moment, we don't think we have got a decent


tool to keep on top of it. -- and it has not worked well. Farmers,


land managers and the Scottish government are united in their


support of the use of Asulam, but unless the EU ban can be overturned,


there seem to be few options left to prevent the bracken menace from


If you have a comment about anything you see on the programme,


or have a wonderful story to share with us, please drop us an e-mail.


Now, the weather here in Turnberry - wet, windy, not the best. What


about the prospects for this weekend and beyond? To find out,


here's the Landward weather This weekend's weather looks


decidedly wintry. Let's start by looking under pressure charge. This


area of low pressure shows as the source region for the air. Strong


to gale-force winds across the whole of the country tomorrow. A


cold day. The further east you are, drier and brighter with some


sunshine on the coast. By mid- afternoon, temperatures around


seven degrees for many, but add on the wind and it feels closer to


freezing. Showers in the West turning wintry. The further east


you are, dry and brighter. Be showers continued to go up the West


coast. If you are out and about hill-walking or climbing, the wind


will be the main feature, coming from or westerly direction. It


August at times up to 95 in the Munrow region. Slightly drier the


further east you are, but called and freezing across all the hills


and summits. If you're on the inshore waters across the South


West, you can expect 4624-80 westerly winds. -- force six, to


force eight. For the second half of Saturday, into Saturday evening,


showers continued up the West coast. The further east you are, dry and


clear skies. It will be called, down to freezing or lower,


particularly the further north you are. The isobars are still coming


down from the north-west with more cold air for the second half of the


weekend. The wins less strong but there will still be feeling cold. -


- winds. The further east you are, drier and brighter conditions. It


is on Sunday that we have an early- warning in force from the Met


Office. It is for snow because we will see accumulations down towards


the lower levels. The areas affected as we go into Monday will


include Argyll, the Highlands, Stirling and into Strathclyde.


Accumulations up to three centimetres even to lower levels.


In the high ground, up to 10 centimetres. Into Tuesday, we have


this little bridge-building which will help to try things out. --


readership. Dry and brighter with some sunshine starting to pick up


the further east you are. On Wednesday, a wet day. You can see


the rain making its way in. Across the north-east, drier and brighter


Over the past couple of weeks, we've been following the working


lives of the Gillie family, Scotland's premier horse


transporters. This week, we're following them touting for business


Eric Gillie Ltd is Scotland's premier horse transport firm.


Serving the equestrian public for nearly 40 years, the Gillie family


pick up and deliver horses anywhere across the UK. This week, the team


are at the Doncaster bloodstock sales, where over 500 racehorses


will go under the hammer. Finding out who is at the sale is all part


of the job, and Linda takes to the floor to search for potential


clients. I'm going to make myself known to the clients that are here,


and just let them know that we are here and we've got boxes coming in,


ready to travel the horses north of the border. Lucinda Russell is one


of the regular buyers at the Doncaster sales. Good to see you.


Excellent. Are you interested in anything? Yes, we've got two or


three that we're looking at. So, if it's OK, can I meet you? Yes, we'll


be at the office, or you've got our number. Just give us a call. Thanks,


Linda. Thanks. Bye. Well, we're always on the lookout for new


talent and new horses, and Doncaster sales are quite good -


they have quite a broad spectrum of horses for sale. We don't know


exactly how many we're going to buy every time we come to the sales.


You might have three or four orders to fill, but you might not be able


to buy all of them. As soon as we buy a horse, we just go and see one


of the girls here. They're fantastic. They're always here. You


can ask them to take back one horse, you can ask them to take back eight


horses. They're always able to send more lorries down if they need to.


And Lucinda isn't the only Scottish buyer in Doncaster today. Linda has


heard on the grapevine that Hawick- based trainer Alistair Whillans has


just made a purchase. I bought this young fella. He's going back to


Scotland to run next summer. He'll get a break for maybe two months.


We'll get him back after Christmas and get him ready to run. There's


about six lads up there wanting a syndicate horse, and he looks ideal.


Hi, Alistair. Congratulations. Are you wanting us to transport it up


for you? Aye, well, I need something. You've not got your own


transport? No, I need somebody to take him up the road. Right, yeah,


that's not a problem. Back in the auction ring, Lucinda is bidding on


Navy List, a promising four-year- After some tense moments, Lucinda


is the winning bidder, and another horse can be loaded onto the lorry.


Well, that's us safely loaded up now. Next drop, Scotland.


Everything seemed to go OK and hopefully, we might even have a


potential Grand National winner It's 40 years since the first


civilian search and rescue helicopter service started in the


north-east of Scotland. In 1983, the base moved from Aberdeen to the


Shetland Isles and this book has just been published, documenting


its history there. Euan joined one of the crews on a training exercise.


Moving on one and two. Under control. Rising nicely. APU is off.


Control is on. Set to 630. On the deck at about 66. Three, two, one,


now go. As a yachtsman, I know that things can go wrong at sea, but


it's reassuring that when it does go from bad to worse, you can


always rely on one of these. I'm on final approach now. Whenever you


like. Ready to go. This is rescue 102, more commonly known as Oscar


Charlie. He has the hook. He's hooked on and winch him in. There


are 12 search and rescue helicopters based in the UK. Six


belong to the RAF, two to the Royal Navy and four are contracted to the


Coastguard, like this one in the south of Shetland. Approaching the


door. Mind the doorway. And It's difficult to say typical jobs.


They are wide and varied, from medivacs, where we will go to the


most remote islands. We go to oil rigs to help the guys out there


that are ill and bring them back to hospital. We've had boats on fire,


boats that are sinking. We've got a paramedic in the back and we've got


a huge amount of medical support equipment, such as defibrillators,


life-support systems. What's it like as a job? Yeah, it's a great


job. It's got to be any schoolboy's dream to fly a helicopter and to be


part of a team that is involved with search and rescue. So it


certainly keeps you young in mind, anyway. For the last four years,


the base has been using these Sikorsky S-92 helicopters. Before


that, they used the S-61N, which started service here in the early


1980s. At the time, callsign Oscar Charlie was the most advanced


civilian search and rescue helicopter anywhere in the world.


And its arrival in Shetland brought solace to the men and women who use


these treacherous waters. One man who's worked here since its


beginning is winch operator Kieran Murray. His career started back in


1969, when he joined the Royal Navy as a search and rescue diver.


days of being a search and rescue diver are long gone. In fact, it's


finished in the Royal Navy, as well. We have the situation where the


winch man, generally, will stay on the cable. Obviously, he detaches


on the ground or on the mountains. It looks scary. How scary is it?


I've always said - and from my heart, I mean it - that I do not


feel scared at all doing the job. One reason for that, perhaps, is


the amount of training we do. We are continually training, in all


weather conditions. One date that Kieran remembers well is 9 November


1993. Storm-force winds battered the coast of Shetland and the


Latvian registered factory ship Lunokhods came crashing onto the


rocks at Bressay. The exceptionally strong winds that night gave the


helicopter more lifting power, and the reduced fuel load increased its


carrying capacity further. These factors allowed the group to winch


up a record number of survivors - far greater than the normal limit


of 19. The big lift was 32, plus a winch man, so 33 winched into the


aircraft. It was standing room only in the back of the aircraft. That


is a mammoth task. Physically, doing that so many times must be


really draining. You don't notice it at the time. Adrenaline kicks in


and away you go. Your training as a crew works perfectly. There was a


time we thought we were going to lose a winch man because the vessel


did sink as we were watching this. We pulled away with our first lot


thinking, "Sorry, boys, we can't help you again". But the vessel did


remain on the rocks with its boughs under the water and the rest of the


survivors came to the back end. We came back with an empty aircraft


and winched 32. We'll get back to a heading of 200, please.


Searchlight's now switched on. key to success is constant training,


and the attention to detail is impressive. He's happy? Dispatch


him. He is out the door. Continue to winch him. Today, the team are


practising part of a complex manoeuvre to lower the winch


manonto a cluttered fishing boat deck. --man onto. My target? Your


target. Happy with that? Happy? It's a procedure known as tie-line


winching, and this part is completed with ease. The job is a


great job. It's a very rewarding job. We work with some fabulous


people and it's a proper and body of teamwork. -- embodiment. It must


be quite scary, though, putting your life in another three people's


hands. You trust them completely. You know. And we work out who's


buying the beer at the end of the day. Well, it's now dark and


Stephen the crew have now finished their shift. The helicopter's going


to be put away for the night but as we speak, another helicopter is


getting ready to be put into service and another crew are being


briefed to give cover 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days a


year. And you know what? That's very reassuring.


Now, I've just got time to tell you what's coming up on next week's


Landward. We look at what reform of the


common agricultural policy could mean for Scotland's farmers.


pumps about half a billion pounds a year into Scottish farms and we


need that resource to underpin farming. I begin a journey


exploring some of Scotland's dramatic caves.


If I want to explore the inner chambers, I'm going to have to go


on a subterranean boat ride. And Nick tears a turkey to bits.


Not one little bit is going to go to waste. So please join us for


Dougie Vipond is on Rum to help researchers tag Manx shearwaters in an effort to find out more about their feeding habits. The team are on the road with Scotland's top horse transporter, and Nick Nairn is back in the kitchen for a new four-part mini-series.