Countrystride
Countrystride #35: The children’s literature of Lakeland

Countrystride #35: The children’s literature of Lakeland

August 14, 2020
...in which we take a nostalgia-laced wander through the children’s literature of Lakeland with University of Cumbria’s Dr Penny Bradshaw. On a balmy Black Crag circular with majestic views of iconic locations in fiction – from Arthur Ransome’s Coniston Water to Marjorie Lloyd’s 'Fell Farm' – we consider the legacy of Wordsworth and his vision of childhood, unnpick the strands that made Beatrix Potter’s work unique, discuss why literature from the county casts such an enduring spell and hear how a wartime evacuation from the Manchester slums lies behind Penny’s own love of the Lakes.

 

Countrystride #34: Caring for the commons- A view from Newlands

Countrystride #34: Caring for the commons- A view from Newlands

July 31, 2020
...in which we make the short, sweet ascent of Knott Rigg with Foundation for Common Land Executive Director Dr Julia Aglionby. Enjoying views over Newlands and Buttermere, we discuss the importance of England's historic common land, learn how Cumbria's commoners shape the landscape, tackle the thorny issue of rewilding and consider how we might shape a nature-rich, culture-rich Lake District as we enter the most challenging period facing our uplands since the Second World War.
 
Countrystride #33: A brief history of Cumbria

Countrystride #33: A brief history of Cumbria

July 17, 2020
…in which we challenge archaeologist Bruce Bennison to compress 7,000 years of Cumbrian history into 45 minutes. Setting out from the little-visited Neolithic gem of Mayburgh Henge, we discover why the joining of the Rivers Eamont and Lowther was so important on the historic ‘Western route’ up Britain. At the imposing sandstone facade of Brougham Castle we enter Roman times to consider the garrisons guarding the strategic river crossing. Finally, wandering via back lanes to Clifton Hall’s Pele Tower, we move on to the Border Raids and two pivotal events in the modern history of Britain: the birth of England and the last battle on English soil.
Countrystride #32: Lady Anne Clifford - First lady of Westmorland

Countrystride #32: Lady Anne Clifford - First lady of Westmorland

June 28, 2020
...in which we explore Lady Anne's Way, the long distance trail celebrating its 25th birthday this year, with its founder, Sheila Gordon. As we stride along the airy High Way – an ancient route linking Wensleydale and Mallerstang – Sheila recounts the remarkable tale of the indomitable first lady of Westmorland, Lady Anne Clifford, and her 38-year battle to recover her lands and castles – before encountering crumbling packhorse inns, dashing highwaymen and a church that time forgot, all in the melodic company of lapwing, curlew and oyster catchers.
 
Countrystride #31: Cumbrian folk music and the Back o’Skiddaw

Countrystride #31: Cumbrian folk music and the Back o’Skiddaw

May 29, 2020
…in which we celebrate the folk music tradition of Cumbria on a virtual wander around the Back o’Skiddaw with local musician and academic Dr Sue Allan. As we amble from Ireby to Caldbeck, over airy Aughtertree Fell and alongside the tumbling Howk, we discuss hunting songs, learn about notorious horseman (and drinker) John Peel, delve into the history of fairs, dances and merrymeets, and sample the dialect verse of Robert Anderson, the Bard of Cumberland.
 
  • The podcast features recordings of the 'Keswick Bonnie Lasses' from Striding Edge and 'My Love she’s but a Lassie’ from the Boat Band’s ‘Trip to the Lakes’ - more details below.

 

The Boat Band and Greg Stephens

Greg Stephens has been researching old Cumbrian tunes since the 60's. He plays with the Boat Band, who in 2001 recorded 'A Trip to the Lakes', an album of old tunes. They recorded it to celebrate the first Duddon Valley Folk Folk festival, held when the foot and mouth lockdown was eased at the end of that disastrous summer for the valley. The record was subsequently issued by Harbourtown Records in 2009 to enormous acclaim.  

The Boat Band has been playing since 1989, seventeen times at Glastonbury Festival, once at the St Kilda International Cajun Festival, and most points in between. Currently (May 2020) in lockdown like everyone else, but hoping to be playing again soon. In the Newfield Inn in the Duddon valley, or wherever.

contact: boatband@yahoo.co.uk

Countrystride #30: Buttermere - Tales from the secret valley

Countrystride #30: Buttermere - Tales from the secret valley

April 30, 2020
...in which we take a stroll down memory lane along that finest of lakes – Buttermere – journeying from the bluebells of Rannerdale to Gatesgarth, a farm with a remarkable history. As we wander, with Angus Winchester, Professor Emeritus in the Department of History, Lancaster University, who was bought up in Lorton Vale, we talk about fact and bloody fiction in 'the secret valley'; the tragic charms of Buttermere's famous Maid; the crucial role Gatesgarth played in establishing the Herdwick breed; and the unlikely reason behind the name Innominate Tarn.
 
Countrystride #29: Dorothy Wordsworth & women walking pioneers

Countrystride #29: Dorothy Wordsworth & women walking pioneers

April 9, 2020
...in which we take a lockdown-necessitated virtual walk up Scafell Pike with historian and author Kathryn Aalto, whose new book, Writing Wild, gives voice to women walking pioneers whose writing has deepened our connection to the natural world. Taking a 200-year overview of nature writing, we discuss the life and legacy of Dorothy Wordsworth, inspiration behind the most famous poem in the English language, and the key role she played in the lives of the Lakeland poets. Relocating briefly to the shores of Ullswater we discuss the Romantics' backlash against industrial 'progress', learn why James Rebanks is Kathryn's Cumbrian hero, talk about how landscapes can heal both individuals and societies, and attempt to answer the question, when walking in England, how does it make you feel?
 
Countrystride #28: Future farming – Six generations working the land

Countrystride #28: Future farming – Six generations working the land

March 18, 2020
…in which we explore the Crake Valley, south of Coniston Water, with sixth-generation hill farmer John Atkinson and his partner Maria Benjamin. From the yard of Nibthwaite Grange – where we learn about John’s rare breeds and Maria’s wool enterprise – we discover how the couple are building a diversified farm business that both respects heritage and works with nature. As we walk onto airy Bethecar Moor we discuss the return of lapwings to the common; lonely lives on the fell; holidaymakers who've packed nothing but Bollinger for their stay at Parkamoor – an off-grid house in the clouds; and why all farmers should take up golf…
Countrystride #27: Bill Birkett - Lakeland legend in Langdale

Countrystride #27: Bill Birkett - Lakeland legend in Langdale

March 2, 2020
…in which we make a Little Langdale circuit with climber, author, photographer and campaigner Bill Birkett. From iconic Slater’s Bridge we explore the cavernous Cathedral Quarry, where Bill made his first climb, then head through tunnels into the heart of the mountain to reach the airy drovers’ track above High Tilberthwaite. As we walk we discuss a family with rock in its blood, plotting the 541 ‘Birketts’, haymaking time in bygone days, Bill’s plans for a Viking send-off and the increasingly thorny issue of off-road 4x4s.
 
 
 
Countrystride #26: Piers Gill - A winter’s ascent with Mountain Rescue

Countrystride #26: Piers Gill - A winter’s ascent with Mountain Rescue

February 16, 2020
...in which we attempt a winter ascent of Lingmell alongside the dramatic chasm and accident blackspot of Piers Gill with Lake District Search and Mountain Rescue Association chairman and Wasdale team member Richard Warren. As we walk, through increasingly Alpine conditions, we talk about the non-judgemental camaraderie of the teams, rescuing lost dogs and cannabis casualties and why it's so easy to go wrong descending Scafell Pike. Abandoning our summit attempt we discuss the pros and cons of social media and learn about how teams say farewell to those who lose their lives on the fells.
 
 

 

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