Walking on the Radio revisited

Blogging challenges, Nidderdale, North Yorkshire

If you’re from the UK, you’ll recognise the person in my featured photo. It’s Clare Balding, presenter of sports programmes, stories featuring animals, and as far as I’m concerned, BBC Radio 4’s Ramblings, and today, my One Person from Around the World. I’ve been lucky enough to be in two of Clare’s programmes, walking with her first on the route of the Jarrow March, and then, exactly four years ago, on the Nidderdale Way. Let’s revisit my post from that day, especially for Fandango’s Flashback Friday. There are even four Bright Squares. I’m multi-tasking today.

Walking on the radio

26th April 2017

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 my friends 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 wall and talked to a farmer.  She patted dogs and enjoyed a few moments with their owners.

Clare even interviewed this bright-eyed pig. Well, she grunted for her …

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.

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.

Fandango’s Flashback Friday

Just One Person from Around the World

Bright Square

48 thoughts on “Walking on the Radio revisited

  1. wow you have met Clare. I think she is one of those extraordinary presenters, always so well prepared but also fabulous natural and wonderful. And you have walked with her twice. I am so jealous!

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      1. That doesn’t surprise me, she comes across as so lovely on screen and you get the impression that is real Clare rather than screen Clare

        I enjoyed reading the earlier posts 🙂 and know exactly what you mean about the muff. It is amazing how quickly you forget it is is there

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  2. Fascinating, I have a friend who opens our eyes on walks to the local and ancient history around the Derbyshire Dales. But no we don’t get the fudge. I must listen I didn’t know Clare Balding in that light. Sounds great fun and the Jarrow one has such an interest for me. Spreading our wings a bit now and going into Derbyshire but no travel plans yet! Or much blogging. Not sure what’s happened. Perhaps need a Marple focus.

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  3. Woaw Margaret, you ARE a multi-tasker! But then, you’re a woman – and ‘we’ can do that, can’t we just….
    That was a lovely walk in thoughts for me and although I’m not a walker per se (more of a wanderer and ‘wonderer’, standing still every 2nd moment for taking in a view, taking a pic, going on HH’s nerves, etc), I greatly enjoyed this tour and I can see the interest of following those tours/walks.
    We have a couple of friends who were – before C19 – always on the road to do good things to ppl but who never had any time for themselves, and now they take long, long walks every weekend. They live in North Devon and send dozens (too many really) of photos to me from every trip. They are doing 10-16miles per day and it has truly changed their lives. So, lockdown is not bad in every case, we mustn’t ignore that side.

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  4. Well, I didn’t know that you were famous! What a wonderful experience. I watched the recent celebrity walks on TV around the countryside and enjoyed them. I never listen to the radio, other than when in the car and always Radio 2, except on Sundays. I should have realised that you were a rambler, with all the walking you do.

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    1. I’m strictly a Radio-3-for-breakfast-then-Radio-4 type. Nurture not nature I suppose. I think ‘I didn’t realise you were famous’ says it all – that proves I’m not!

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  5. Wow, this sounds such a cool experience! Meeting Clare, who I’ve always thought comes across as very friendly and natural – glad to have you confirm that! And I also love how you describe seeing the landscape anew because of your conversations with her. I’ve found in the past that taking a friend to a place I know well can rekindle my enthusiasm for it as I see it through their eyes 😀 I have to confess that although we’ve made many visits to other dales, especially Swaledale and Wensleydale, I don’t know Nidderdale at all. Clearly I need to rectify that!

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    1. I think so. All the Dales have their charms, and every time I think I have a favourite (Colsterdale? Coverdale?) another view or experience comes along to change my mind. As our own immediate landscapes become all too familiar, it’s good to try to re-invent the way you look at them – but not always easy.

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  6. It’s one of those ideas that you wouldn’t think would work on the radio, but, surprisingly it does. Did you find she was as pleasant in reality as she sounds? And, surely it’s a series that they can start adding new episodes now, almost, isn’t it???

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    1. Honestly, she was a delight. Easy, natural, genuinely interested in everyone and everything. We all had a wonderful experience. And yes, surely it’s time for programmes like this to resume normal service?

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  7. Margaret, Isn’t this just the best! I know nothing of Clare or the program, but I will try to find the podcast! This is ALL my cup of tea! Thanks for sharing it with us you lucky girl! Cady

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  8. What a cool experience. I only know of Clare Balding from the “Who do you think you are” episode on her, and she seemed very natural and “normal”. Definitely a celeb whose company might actually be enjoyable, as it seems to have been for you.

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  9. Great post and love the sound of this program- wonder if CBC radio (which I couldn’t imagine living without!) would do an equivalent here. Interesting that you mention needing to look around with new eyes…since increasing my outdoor walks in this pandemic time I find myself consciously trying to be aware of my now familiar paths.

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    1. Yes – it’s no bad thing getting to know old friends (paths that is) in a new way. And this radio programme is cheap-as-chips to make so CBC ought to if it doesn’t already.

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