Countrystride
Countrystride#66: Eskdale - Rain & recollections

Countrystride#66: Eskdale - Rain & recollections

October 15, 2021
...in which we embark on a wild, wet-weather wander from Boot in Eskdale to explore the valley's folk history through the memories of residents. Striding out from Boot Inn, we talk with Patricia Nolan, whose mother once owned the Post Office, about an Eskdale childhood. And after rising by Eel Tarn to seek Aga-side shelter at Howes Farm, we talk with Janet and Noel Baines about a lifetime farming on Scafell. As we cross boggy Great Barrow, we discuss the names of locations from Doctor Bridge to Peel Place Noddle; we learn about long journeys on the Whitehaven bus – and the intoxicated trips home; we wonder why Wainwright overlooked striking Great Howe; we talk soggy bottoms in the Eskdale Show; and we consider why this long-isolated valley evokes such strong feelings of home.
Countrystride #65: The passionate sisterhood - Sisters and wives of the Lake Poets

Countrystride #65: The passionate sisterhood - Sisters and wives of the Lake Poets

October 1, 2021
...in which we stroll out from rainy Keswick with author and Back o' Skiddaw native, Kathleen Jones, to discuss the women in the lives of Wordsworth, Coleridge and Southey – sisters and wives whose stories have been lost in the margins of history. As we wander past Greta Hall – one-time home of the Southey and Coleridge families – we learn about the remarkable 'constellation' of young idealists (and orphans) who made Lakeland home; we consider the intense, often strained relationships between the group; we talk about opium addiction, domestic drudgery and chronic illness; we discuss long walks and constricted creative talents; and – arriving at Derwent Water as a storm brews down Borrowdale – we consider the key role played by the oft-lonely women in holding the group together, long after the men had fallen out.
Countrystride #64: Joss Naylor

Countrystride #64: Joss Naylor

September 17, 2021
…in which we head to Wasdale in the company of farmer, fell runner and Lakeland royalty Joss Naylor to discuss his legendary 1983 ‘Lakes, Meres and Waters’ run. In a wander onto the slopes of Buckbarrow – a patch of ground Joss has nurtured over decades – we discuss his 105-mile ‘day of magic’ run from Loweswater to Over Water whose time has never been bettered; we talk about the Iron Man's lifelong love of Wasdale; we recall a childhood of perilous school commutes and terrifying operations; we consider the healing properties of Guinness; we take a crash-course in Herdwick contraception... and we learn why a love of Lakeland solitude is key to his achievements as a long-distance runner.
  • 'Joss Naylor's Lakes, Meres and Waters of the Lake District' is published by Cicerone. You can find it here. It comes highly recommended.
  • Thanks to co-author Viv Crow for walking and talking with us on the podcast. Viv can be found on Twitter at https://twitter.com/viviennecrow
Countrystride #63: Danny Teasdale - Ullswater after the storm

Countrystride #63: Danny Teasdale - Ullswater after the storm

September 3, 2021
...in which we explore the wildlife-rich meadows of Matterdale in the company of local lad Danny Teasdale, founder of the Ullswater Catchment Management company interest company (CIC). Moved to action by the devastation wrought to Glenridding by 2015's Storm Desmond, Danny set up the CIC to improve flood resilience in the valley and prove it is possible to restore nature in a way that complements sustainable farming. As we wander – passing re-wiggled becks, newly planted woodlands, bunged feeder streams and insect-heaven ponds – we hear about Danny's childhood passion for damning becks; we learn how word-of-mouth recommendation has energised more than 70% of Ullswater landowners; we consider why rural funding must be decentralised; and we relish the joys of unearthing salmon redds.
Countrystride #62: GRANGE-OVER-SANDS & Hampsfell

Countrystride #62: GRANGE-OVER-SANDS & Hampsfell

August 20, 2021
...in which we take in the salt air at the Victorian seaside resort of Grange-over-Sands with local historian and National Park Rights of Way Officer Nick Thorne. In a wide-ranging conversation covering history, ecology, tourism... and lots of old postcards, we walk the town's mile-long promenade and imagine the refined resort in its heyday; we visit the town's salt-water lido, in which generations of children shivered as they learnt to swim; we consider the history of paths in coppiced Eggerslack Wood, with its water ways and sunken lanes; and we discuss the practicalities and perils of crossing the ever-shifting Sands of Morecambe Bay, before alighting on Hampsfell's summit Hospice, with its breathtaking panorama.
Countrystride #61: Norman Nicholson - Son of Millom

Countrystride #61: Norman Nicholson - Son of Millom

August 6, 2021
...in which we journey to Millom to discuss the life and writings of Norman Nicholson, one of Cumbria's foremost – and most neglected – wordsmiths. On a coastal walk with Nicholson fan and academic Dr David Cooper, we visit 14 St. Georges Terrace – the home in which the son of Millom spent all but 20 months of his life – before exploring the site of the town's former iron works – ghost of an industry woven into the DNA of both town and man. As we wander, under brooding Black Combe, we learn about the poet's early-life traumas, we discuss the sanitarium convalescence that was to inform his painterly vision; we wrestle with concepts of place, home and provincialism; and – gazing west from Nicholson's grave – we let our eyes at last be blinded by dazzle.
Countrystride #60: Wad - The wealth of Borrowdale

Countrystride #60: Wad - The wealth of Borrowdale

July 23, 2021
…in which we stride out from Seathwaite with mining authority Mark Hatton to unearth the turbulent history of Borrowdale graphite. As we battle bracken on the fellside of Low Bank, we seek out the nature-reclaimed remains of a mining industry that played a key role in the emergence of industrial Britain. In a story that starts with a lone farmer discovering a means to mark his sheep and ends in financial collapse on a huge scale, we learn how critical Borrowdale and Keswick were in the development of early capitalism; we debunk the myth that Derwent Isle was used to safeguard German immmigrants; we meet counterfeiters and bandits; we wonder whether ‘breathing’ mines might explain legends of dragons; we consider how lawless this wild-west hamlet once was… and, last but not least, we talk pencils…
Countrystride #59: Rural visionary - John Dunning in the Westmorland Dales

Countrystride #59: Rural visionary - John Dunning in the Westmorland Dales

July 9, 2021
...in which we swap walking boots for the wheel as we journey down the M6 to meet John Dunning, founder of the nationally-acclaimed Tebay Services, sited above his beloved Westmorland Dales. Taking the long view of a man wed to land and community, we discuss farming roots; we hear about spiritual moments on the fells; we plot the insights and drive that turned an unremarkable stretch of motorway into a family-owned Cumbrian institution; we ponder the age-old history of travel through the Lune Gorge; and we consider the steps needed to build a resilient upland economy.
Countrystride #58: Swaledale - Meadows & mines

Countrystride #58: Swaledale - Meadows & mines

June 25, 2021
…in which we cross county lines to visit the internationally-important hay meadows of Swaledale. As we amble out from the Dales village of Muker with local lass and Keld Resource Centre manager Helen Guy, we discuss the traditional farming methods that support a wealth of wild flowers; we delve into the arduous, short lives of Swinner Gill lead miners; we discover David Attenborough's unlikely link with this isolated dalehead; we consider why sometimes you need to leave home to fall in love with it; and we revel in the dialect meanings behind Hartlakes, Crackpot, Buttertubs and 'tow'd man'.
Countrystride #57: Helvellyn

Countrystride #57: Helvellyn

June 18, 2021
...in which we tackle one of Lakeland's most iconic fells via the rocky arête of Swirral Edge. In the company of Tom Hayek from the John Muir Trust – the charity which manages Glenridding Common – we discuss people pressure in a post-lockdown world; we discover how locals are nursing sub-alpine plants for the high fells; we hear about Tom's journey bagging the Nuttalls; we take in Mark's panorama from this finest of felltops; and we consider why, when undertaking landscape-scale work, we must be prepared to make change we’ll not live to see.
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