Walking on the radio

Looking across Nidderdale from the Nidderdale Way.

I’ve been out for the day with Clare Balding again, for BBC Radio 4’s ‘Ramblings’ programme.  Last time, her producer Lucy was looking for a local rambler to lead the Ripon to Ripley section of the Jarrow March, and she ended up with me.  Last time, as the walk finished we fell to talking about local long distance walks, such as The Nidderdale Way.

And lo!  Now they have a six-programme series in the bag, waiting to be transmitted in May and June, on …… the Nidderdale Way, all 53 miles of it.  She invited me to be part of the last leg, together with Chris and John.

Let me tell you how it works.  We walk.  We chat.  Lucy walks beside us with her muff-on-a-stick, recording little and often.  Clare stops from time to time and paints evocative word pictures of the scenery, the sights, smells and sounds, the passers by.  She chats to us about everything from geology, to history, to walking, to long-lost industries, to living near Nidderdale.

Lucy records Clare describing the countryside.

We see our local landscape through fresh eyes.  Instead of its being the backdrop to our daily lives, it becomes vivid again, and we remember the wonder and the intense pleasure we experienced when it was new to us too.

Lucy pursues John for a soundbite at Brimham Rocks.

Clare loves people.  At Brimham Rocks, where we insisted she take a detour, she chatted to children with their families and took part in their photos.  Later, she hung over a drystone walls and talked to a farmer.  She patted dogs and enjoyed a few moments with their owners.

Clare even interviewed this pig. Well, she grunted for her, anyway.

Just as well she’s good at this sort of thing.  When we arrived at Pateley Bridge, she became a sort of stand-in for the Queen.  She was whisked from shop to shop, always leaving with a little local speciality -a pork pie, some home-made fudge.  With Lucy, she was given a newly-minted badge for completing the entire Nidderdale Way.  They got flowers, a book by a local historian, hugs and handshakes galore, and repaid all this attention with genuine interest and friendship.  Pateley Bridge by the way is in the thick of preparing for the Tour de Yorkshire 2017, which goes through the town – and past our front door – on Saturday 29th April.

Flowers, badges, and a round of applause for Lucy and Clare.

Please listen to this series when it comes out: it’s available as a podcast even if you don’t live in the UK.  The first programme will be on BBC Radio 4 on  18th May, and the programme featuring our team will be transmitted on Thursday 22nd June.  You’ll make immediate plans for a holiday in Nidderdale after you’ve listened.

The shadow of a drystone wall on a stretch of road near Blazefield.

43 thoughts on “Walking on the radio”

  1. Oh how exciting! I have such a soft spot for Clare Balding; she always seems so warm and genuine. I shall certainly enjoy listening, and I’ll be looking later to see if those earlier rambles are still available. Meanwhile, I love that photo of the dry wall shadow. So clever…. It took me quite some time to figure it out though – the everyday from a new perspective!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Amazing to be able to translate something so visual and physical to radio! How rewarding to be involved and to be part of promoting the lovely trail and countryside and its history. I particularly like the first and last of the photos by the way.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Dear Margaret; would you PLEASE kindly remind me (us) on the days of this taking place; I would very much like to listen to the podcast but if I don’t have it in front of me on the day I know it gets ‘snowed under’….. 🙂
    Sounds fantastic and BRAVO to all the walkers, organisators and participants in one way or other!
    Thank You

    Liked by 2 people

  4. How intersting. I enjoyed reading the post and I went back in time to the Ripon to Ridely post, as well. I even found the podcast and have the Rioon to Ridely program downloaded for a listen. I don’t know anything about the geography of England nor the long history other than when intersects on the world stage with the US. There is so much which I know nothing. Thanks for helping me start my day a little more curious.

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  5. Second the comment from ‘thejuicenut’ above. You can’t always tell if the ‘nice’ people on TV are genuine. She does ask people some quite probing questions though, doesn’t she? I have been surprised how she manages, whilst walking, to get people to open up and chat as if they weren’t being recorded. Looking forward to a good listen.

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  6. I rather like having a nearly famous friend! Took me ages to work out the last photo too! We are very blessed to live up here. x

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  7. Maggie and I do a lot of walking/hiking here in Canada. This winter we did just that in Mexico. The British Isles have been on my list of countries to visit for some time. My ancestors are from the Bethnal Green area of London. Reading your blog should act as a great primer for getting there. Great pics. Cheers.

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    1. Oh, it must be brilliant having the whole of Canada to be explored. But yes, Britain would be great to get to know on foot too. Bethnal Green, eh? My own family – or part of it – came from not too far from there. We’ll find we’re related next.

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  8. How exciting. I’m sure that really spiced up your walk. It takes a special talent to describe sights and experiences on radio and make it more appealing than pictures. We have a chap on the ABC called Macca who does a weekly show visiting events and festivals in the country . I’m sure he’s the one who sowed the first seed for caravanning in our minds a very long time ago.

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  9. I enjoy Clare’s rambles and loved listening to the Jarrow March one last autumn. I will definitely make a date to listen to these new ones. How satisfying to be asked to contribute again!

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