Countrystride
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.
 
 

 

Countrystride #25: Smugglers, bombs and Plague Dogs - A walk on Wetherlam

Countrystride #25: Smugglers, bombs and Plague Dogs - A walk on Wetherlam

January 17, 2020
…in which we climb the perennial Coniston favourite from the Tilberthwaite quarries up the breezy ridge of Steel Edge, one of Wainwright’s missing routes. As we stroll, with George Kitching, we discuss Andy Goldsworthy’s sheepfolds, the tricks of Langdale smuggler Lanty Slee, how a WWI Howitzer ended up below the Coniston waves, and an unlikely IRA terror plot to assassinate John Major using Levers Water.

  

 

Countrystride #24: Review of 2019 & AW’s lost broadcast

Countrystride #24: Review of 2019 & AW’s lost broadcast

December 30, 2019
…in which we are joined by Lakeland Walker editor John Manning to serve up a selection of our favourite moments from the Countrystride year on the fells. We hear from film maker Terry Abraham about his connection with the high places; we re-wander the great Pennine Way crossing to High Cup; we discuss ongoing battles to retain access; and we pick our best walks of 2019, before closing with an as-yet-unbroadcast interview with fell walking legend Alfred Wainwright as he talks about the road passes of Lakeland.
 
  •  You can find John on Twitter @outdoorsmanning

  •  With thanks to Ron Scholes for his recording of Alfred Wainwright, and to Chris Butterfield for the digitised version we played.

Countrystride #23: West Coast Christmas - Voices from the past

Countrystride #23: West Coast Christmas - Voices from the past

December 13, 2019
…in which we walk the sandstone cliffs from St Bees to Whitehaven with author and historian Alan Cleaver. As we stroll, above a millpond-still Irish Sea, we learn about the coast's Mummers' tradition and the ghost ship Mary Jane; we hear bygone memories of snowy winters and diary entries from a Regency-era farm; we discuss the smuggling origins of rum butter; and we sign off with a yuletide letter from the Western Front. 
  • Alan’s award-winning book, The Corpse Roads of Cumbria, is available from all good bookshops.
  • You can find Alan on Twitter at @thelonningsguy

 

Countrystride #22: Lost Words - Past and future in the woods of Wreay

Countrystride #22: Lost Words - Past and future in the woods of Wreay

November 21, 2019

…in which we follow the gently-meandering River Petteril from an M6 underpass on Carlisle’s urban fringe through Wreay’s ancient woodland to one of Cumbria's most beautiful churches in search of lost words. As we stroll, with Jamie Normington from Cumbria Wildlife Trust, we discuss our changing woodlands, Cumbrian birdlife vernacular, how we can reforge a connection with the landscape, and the remarkable architectural legacy of Sara Losh, first lady of Wreay (pronounced ‘rear’). 

Countrystride #21: Great Gable - Remembrance Sunday

Countrystride #21: Great Gable - Remembrance Sunday

November 11, 2019

…in which we walk from Honister Pass to the summit of Great Gable in the company of Dr Jonathan Westaway to join the annual Remembrance Sunday service led by the Fell and Rock Climbing Club. As we walk, past the Drum House and over Green Gable, we talk about the pioneering years of British rock climbing, boisterous nights in the Wasdale Head Inn, finding solace on the heights and the dedication of Gable to the nation, before joining the felltop congregation for the act of remembrance.

Countrystride #20: Upper Eden - The fight to roam, with Kate Ashbrook

Countrystride #20: Upper Eden - The fight to roam, with Kate Ashbrook

October 17, 2019
…in which we follow the River Eden downstream to Kirkby Stephen with leading campaigner in the walking world, Kate Ashbrook, General Secretary of the Open Spaces Society and Chair of the Ramblers. As we head north from Pendragon Castle we discuss the joy of sunrise walks, the never-ending battle to open the countryside and taking Nicholas van Hoogstraten to court.
 

Countrystride #19: Pike O’Stickle - 50 years on the fells

Countrystride #19: Pike O’Stickle - 50 years on the fells

October 1, 2019

...in which to celebrate Countrystride's first birthday producer Dave Felton asks the questions of host Mark Richards, who guides us onto Pike o'Stickle and talks about his journey from Cotswolds farmer to Lakeland guidebook author, his pen-and-ink apprenticeship with Alfred Wainwright, and his lifelong love of walking. Climbing out of Great Langdale, we discuss secret ways onto the iconic Pikes, favourite fells and why home for Mark was always going to be Cumbria.