Countrystride
Countrystride #47: Lakeland pilgrims

Countrystride #47: Lakeland pilgrims

January 22, 2021
...in which we embark on a virtual pilgrimage with John Fleetwood and Stephen Wright, the founders of two Cumbrian pilgrim trails. As we wander, from the great rock cathedrals of Scafell Crag and Napes Needle to the softly-spoken churches around the Northern Fells, we ask what it means to be a pilgrim; we unearth the history of Saint Kentigern – Cumbria's great saint; we consider why long distance walking generates such a deep bond with the landscape; and we ask what spiritual journeys have given to Stephen and John.
Countrystride #46: Cumbria in a campervan

Countrystride #46: Cumbria in a campervan

January 17, 2021
...in which we temporarily swap our walking boots for the passenger seat of an ancient Bongo campervan to take an A–Z trip around the Lake District with Carlisle-based author Richard Harris. As we roam the National Park in search of solitude and mini adventures, we discover a Martindale stained-glass window that holds clues to wartime tragedy; we learn how Nibthwaite – with its Arthur Ransome claim to fame – has rejected the tourist limelight; we discuss how, post-lockdown, camper vans became public enemy No.1; and we hear why Cleator Moor – one-time candidate for Lourdes of the north – is the friendliest place in the county.
Countrystride #45: Review of 2020

Countrystride #45: Review of 2020

December 28, 2020
...in which we are joined by Lakeland Walker editor John Manning for our annual delve into Countrystrides past, picking our best bits from 2020 as we chat about everything from herdwicks to heroines; from bonfires to booze, from rewilding to rediscovering the joys of local before making New Years resolutions with guests including Sue Allan, James Rebanks, Julia Aglionby, Bill Birkett, Steve Matthews, Bill Lloyd and Penny Bradshaw.
  • We would like to thanks Bill Lloyd not only for his banjo playout of the tune 'Through the Glen', but also for hosting us in his Wild Wood Studio.
Countrystride #44: Christmas past - A Wetheral wander

Countrystride #44: Christmas past - A Wetheral wander

December 21, 2020
...in which we take a seasonal stroll from Wetheral along the banks of a swollen River Eden with historian and writer Dr Sue Allen. As we walk, through winter woods to St Constantine's Cells in the December gloaming, we talk about Cumbrian Christmases past, about mischief and misrule; about why Cumbria's 'hackin' pre-empted Scotland's haggis; about why Christmas wasn't what it used to be – even in the 18th century; and about John Lawson – the man who captured so many Wetheral memories in the late 1800s – before Sue regales us with dialect song and a seasonal 'merryneet' tune. Happy Christmas to all.
Countrystride #43: Shap & The Postman’s Path

Countrystride #43: Shap & The Postman’s Path

December 10, 2020
...in which we journey to Shap, the historic transport hub, to take a wintry walk among the Far Eastern Fells in the footsteps of 1950s postman Jimmy Eland. In the company of born-and-bred Shapite Jean Scott-Smith and author Alan Cleaver, we visit the secluded remains of Shap Abbey, discover the far-from-the-madding crowd loveliness of Swindale, learn about the hard-graft lives of rural postmen, and enjoy Jean's memories of pastoral Wet Sleddale before the dam rose .

Countrystride #42: Cumbria on film

Countrystride #42: Cumbria on film

November 27, 2020
...in which we go on holiday by mistake with author David Banning to talk about Cumbria and the Lake District on film. In a locked-down virtual wander that takes in Wet Sleddale, Coniston Water, Little Langdale and the rebel planet of Takodana, we consider the tropes of Cumbrian cinema – from 'rural escape' to zombie apocalypse; we learn about the value of Swallows & Amazons and Miss Potter to the tourist economy; we relive the moment enfant terrible Ken Russell fell in love with Lakeland; and we spend too long quoting Withnail and I.
 
Countrystride #41: Harriet Martineau - The roving Laker

Countrystride #41: Harriet Martineau - The roving Laker

November 13, 2020
...in which we enjoy a Loughrigg circular with Dr Kerri Andrews to celebrate the life of Harriet Martineau, the ‘wild rover’ sociologist who recovered from debilitating illness to become one of Lakeland’s great walkers and one of the most successful guidebook writers of the Victorian age. As we encounter tourist honeypots including The Grot, Rydal Cave and dusk-lit Lily Tarn, we explore the neglected tradition of women writer-walkers, learn about Martineau’s mission to become ‘a Laker’, discover how walking has helped ease physical and mental trauma; and hear about Kerri’s admiration for the ‘homely’ and ‘familiar’ narratives of local hero Dorothy Wordsworth.
Countrystride #40: Bill Lloyd - Into the woods

Countrystride #40: Bill Lloyd - Into the woods

October 30, 2020

...in which we take a magical autumn wander through the oak woods of Penny Rock with musician, author and outdoorsman Bill Lloyd, to hear about his life extracting timber from Cumbrian woodlands with heavy horse Ginger. As we reach the mirrorred waters of Grasmere we talk about the sunset days of an ancient craft and the bond between man and horse; we discuss Char-fishing with the Windermere Fleet and lonely nights in the Loweswater bothy; and we discover how Beatrix Potter's gelding irons came to reside alongside Bill's fire.

 

Countrystride #39: Thirlmere - and the flooding of a valley

Countrystride #39: Thirlmere - and the flooding of a valley

October 16, 2020
…in which we take an autumnal wander along the wooded west shore of Thirlmere, the reservoir that displaced a close-knit pastoral community to fulfil 19th century Manchester’s ever-growing thirst for water.
 
As we walk, we learn from author and one-time vicar of the parish Geoff Darrell about the valley as it once was: the patchwork fields, twin lakes, Wath bridge and diminutive settlement of City.
 
Then, as we reach the lakeshore – walls from a past age slipping under the waves – we hear from former Friends of the Lake District Director Ian Brodie about the grand ambitions, political manoeuvres and clandestine gambles that would flood a valley, divide the nation and lead, in time, to the establishment of national parks and the emergence of conservation movements worldwide.
 

Countrystride #38: James Rebanks - English Pastoral

Countrystride #38: James Rebanks - English Pastoral

October 7, 2020
...in which we head to Matterdale for a guided tour of James Rebanks' hill farm. As we explore thriving meadows, newly-dug ponds and scrub-fringed becks, we discuss James' latest book, English Pastoral, and the "beautiful compromise" of sustainably stewarding the land. Taking a three generation view of farming in Matterdale and the Eden Valley, we hear why there's fire in the belly of young shepherds, why talk of the 'sheepwrecked uplands' is wide of the mark, why Beatrix Potter is James' writing heroine – and why Cumbria's best food is to be had at The Little Chippy, Penrith.

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