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…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 …
 
...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 pos…
 
...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 vis…
 
...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 o…
 
…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 di…
 
...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…
 
…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 min…
 
...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…
 
…in which we explore a rainy Rusland valley – the wooded lowlands between Windermere and Coniston. As we wander, with Rusland Horizons’ Marion Brown, we learn about the industrial heritage of bobbin mills, charcoal pits and tanneries, and the extraordinary rarity of Cumbria’s Atlantic woodlands - Britain’s temperature rainforests - before being joi…
 
...in which we stride out from the gateway village of Threlkeld, once a thriving industrial hub, with local lad, ex-forester and third ever Lake Distirct National Park warden, Donald Angus. As we walk - up the bluebell-flushed outgang of Blease Gill then down to picture-perfect Derwent Folds - we learn about the mining heritage of Threlkeld and the…
 
…in which we journey south to the snow-blossomed Lyth Valley to unearth the heritage of damson plums with long-time friends and local lads Desmond Holmes and Hartley Trotter. As shadows lengthen over the peat-cut mosses, we take a trip down memory lane, considering the history of the nutty-flavoured ‘Shropshire prune’ - from its use in the Kendal t…
 
...in which we head to Borrowdale in Westmorland with author and dry-stone waller Terry McCormick to uncover the lost history of hill farming. As we explore one of Lakeland's quietest valleys, we take the long view of a turbulent history, starting with the David vs Goliath battle of the Kendal Tenant Rights Dispute 1619–1626 that established the pa…
 
...in which we track the undulating west shore of Coniston Water from Sunny Bank to Coniston Hall with backpacker, long-distance walker and prolific outdoors author Paddy Dillon. As we wander, through woods and over meadows, we discuss the origins and delights of the Cumbria Way – the Lakes' only dedicated long-distance footpath; we challenge Paddy…
 
...in which we enter wild country at the Back o'Skiddaw to visit Skiddaw House - the loneliest house in England. As we wander, with former wardens Martin Webster and Marie-Pierre Gaudez, we talk through the history of the one-time hunting lodge, learn about the icy perils of Whitewater Dash, discuss the off-grid practicalities of living and working…
 
...in which we celebrate our 50th birthday by handing the microphone to the next generation, as we hear from three young people with a passion for Cumbria and the Lake District. In a wide-ranging chat with poet Matt Sowerby from Kirkby Lonsdale, film-maker Rachel Jessett from Kendal and TV producer Rachel Owen from the University of Cumbria, we dis…
 
...in which we commemorate the 30th anniversary of Alfred Wainwright's passing by taking a virtual stroll to Innominate Tarn with archivist Chris Butterfield and long-time AW film-maker Richard Else. As we wander – through the history of the Pictorial Guides and AW's television career – we discuss what makes the Guides so unique; we talk about the …
 
...in which we head to the Cumbrian borderlands with long-time Roman authority David Breeze for a virtual stroll along Hadrian's Wall. As we wander west from the village of Gilsland towards airy Craggle Hill, we deep-dive into Emperor Hadrian's era of pragmatic consolidation; we learn how his vision changed as the Wall's construction progressed; we…
 
...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 – Cu…
 
...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 l…
 
...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 R…
 
...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…
 
...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, le…
 
...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 …
 
...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 …
 
...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;…
 
…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 lak…
 
...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 …
 
...in which we celebrate the remarkable life of Canon Hardwicke Drummond Rawnsley, campaigner, author and co-founder of the National Trust. As we wander from Rawnsley's old parish church of St Kentigern's, Crosthwaite, into Keswick, we chat with publisher and bookseller Stephen Matthews about the poet-priest's many passions – from rural crafts to S…
 
...in which we journey to the Isle of Walney in Cumbria's deep south for a salt-laced amble through its unique landscape, wildlife and heritage. In the company of Cumbria Wildlife Trust's Jamie Normington and local lass Helen Wall, we admire Walney's beloved wildflowers, learn about the UK's only female lighthouse keeper, consider the unsung protec…
 
...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 c…
 
...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 sh…
 
…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 C…
 
...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 …
 
…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 histo…
 
...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 bloo…
 
...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, insp…
 
…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…
 
…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 …
 
...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 …
 
…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…
 
…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 o…
 
…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 …
 
…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 re…
 
…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, f…
 
…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 Hoogs…
 
...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 Langda…
 
...In which we walk from Langdon Beck to Dufton along the UK's most iconic National Trail with author and Pennine Way authority Andrew McCloy. As we embrace the big skies of the North Pennines, we discuss Tom Stephenson's tireless access campaigning, consider the highs and lows of the 268-mile walk, theorise over Wainwright's dislike of the Trail a…
 
...in which we head to Martindale with Amy Bray, the Matterdale teenager who is campaigning around Cumbria to raise awareness of single-use plastic pollution and asking us to consider 'Another Way' of consuming. As we summit Beda Fell we talk about Amy's love for the fells and wild swimming, we discuss steps that communities can take to restore a p…
 
...in which we journey out East to the Cumbrian Dales and the softly-spoken valley of Dentdale to meet Dales Way creator Colin Speakman to celebrate the Way's 50th birthday. As we walk, past wildflower meadows, Tudor cottages and the Dent Brewery, Colin discusses Cowgill's link to royalty, the valley's infamous ('terrible') knitters, the satisfacti…
 
…in which we set out from Coniston to celebrate the bicentenary of the birth of John Ruskin, the Victorian polymath who wrote that mountains are "the beginning and the end of all natural scenery". As we walk, with Ruskin Museum archivist Vicky Slowe – past wildflower meadows, lime kilns and iconic Yewtree Farm to arrive at Coniston Water with its v…
 
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