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.