225 episodes

Clare Balding joins notable and interesting people for a walk through the countryside

Ramblings BBC Radio 4

    • Society & Culture
    • 4.8 • 124 Ratings

Clare Balding joins notable and interesting people for a walk through the countryside

    Tresco with Mike Nelhams

    Tresco with Mike Nelhams

    Mike Nelhams has recently retired as Head Gardener of the beautiful gardens on Tresco but remains very active and involved in island life. He meets Clare off the boat from St Marys and takes her on a tour of the island explaining the appeal of life on one of the most beautiful islands in Britain. They walk through the gardens observing the red squirrels which were introduced ten years ago on the request of Prince Charles who owns the island leasing it to the Dorrien-Smith family. They are responsible for the upkeep of the gardens as well as managing life on the island where there's a thriving tourist industry that sees visitors returning year after year.
    Tresco has its own micro-climate and is on the Gulf Stream that makes ideal growing conditions for exotic plants from South Africa and New Zealand.

    Producer: Maggie Ayre

    • 24 min
    St Mary on the Isles of Scilly with Will Wagstaff and Lucy McRobert

    St Mary on the Isles of Scilly with Will Wagstaff and Lucy McRobert

    Starting her walk overlooking the harbour outside the Star Castle Hotel once a Civil War fortress Clare hikes around the largest of the Isles of Scilly in the company of Will Wagstaff and Lucy McRobert. Will came to the island in 1985 and began giving walking tours which he has done ever since pointing out the variety of flora and fauna encouraged by the mild climate. Lucy McRobert came to St Marys three years ago with her keen birdwatching husband and infant daughter. Lucy is now just as keen a birder and like every islander has different roles including taking care of stranded seal pups each winter. As they take in the diverse landscapes of this small island they discuss the appeal of life there.

    Producer: Maggie Ayre

    • 24 min
    Happy Valley

    Happy Valley

    Today’s walk starts at Happy Valley in the Mourne Mountains about thirty minutes inland from the coast of County Down. Clare is walking with Kelly Hargie who, for very personal reasons, launched Wild Women Events as a way of encouraging female walkers to explore the countryside of Northern Ireland. Kelly has long understood that escaping into the wild helped her greatly with postnatal depression and recovery from injury and she wanted to share this discovery with like-minded women.

    From Happy Valley they head steeply up towards the 7th highest peak in the Mournes, Slieve Meelmore, partly alongside the Shimna River.

    This is the second of two back-to-back hikes in the Mournes, recorded on the same day. The first walk was broadcast last week and began – in great contrast to today’s route – at Bloody Bridge.

    Grid Ref for their starting point: SB 379 857

    Presenter: Clare Balding
    Producer for BBC Audio in Bristol: Karen Gregor

    • 24 min
    Bloody Bridge

    Bloody Bridge

    In the first of two back-to-back hikes in the Mourne Mountains Clare walks from Bloody Bridge near Newcastle, on the coast of County Down, up into the hills. Led by Alex Rose of the Northern Ireland Young Walkers, they begin at a stone sculpture which – from a certain angle – look like a human face in profile. This is the Smuggler’s Head which helps to tell the story of the ‘Brandy Pad’ a local smuggler’s route. It’s a history-rich Ramblings which continues by following the Bloody Bridge River, so called because bodies thrown into the water, following a massacre during the 1641 rebellion, turned it blood red. Soon they’re climbing steeply up to one of the Mourne summits, Chimney Rock, partly following an old quarry-rail track used to bring granite down to sea-level.

    The Northern Ireland Young Walkers were formed in 2005 as a way of getting more youthful hikers out and about. It’s such a successful club that people don’t like to leave, so the age range has widened as the members have aged.

    The second Mournes ramble – recorded on the same day - will be broadcast next in the series. It starts at a place whose name couldn’t be more of a contrast: Happy Valley.

    Grid Ref for Bloody Bridge Car Park: SB472822

    Presenter: Clare Balding
    Producer for BBC Audio in Bristol: Karen Gregor

    • 24 min
    Mousehole to Lamorna with Jane Johnson and Abdel Bakrim

    Mousehole to Lamorna with Jane Johnson and Abdel Bakrim

    Having grown up in Cornwall Jane Johnson has a deep love of the landscape of the south west. She and her husband Abdel take Clare on a coastal walk along steep rocky footpaths that offer breathtaking views of the Cornish coastline around the Lizard to Lands End. It's a favourite walk for the couple who often see dolphins, whales and basking sharks along the way. They tell Clare the story of their extraordinary meeting in the foothills of the Anti-Atlas Mountains of Morocco and how a near death experience for Jane while climbing led to a love affair with a Berber restaurant owner who tried to rescue her. Seventeen years on the couple live mainly in Cornwall but try to divide their time between there and Morocco. Jane is a writer and publisher while Abdel is now developing his artwork.

    Producer: Maggie Ayre

    • 24 min
    Oliver Jeffers in Outer Space

    Oliver Jeffers in Outer Space

    In the first of a new series, Clare is in Derry-Londonderry to meet the celebrated children’s author and artist, Oliver Jeffers. As part of a free nationwide arts project called Unboxed, he’s created a 10 kilometre sculpture trail, designed as a scale model of the solar system. It starts at Bay Road Park and runs alongside the River Foyle. The trail, ‘Our Place in Space’, is there until 22 May 2022 before moving to Belfast, Cambridge, and the North Down Coastal Path.

    Oliver says he’s a ‘pretty serious rambler’: he walked everywhere when he lived in New York City, and once led three-day hikes in the Adirondack Mountains in upstate New York.

    Explaining his inspiration for the project, he says: “If we could look back at Earth from the vastness of the solar system, what would we feel? Wouldn’t squabbles look stupid from Saturn? Wouldn’t violence seem senseless from Venus? Forget about ‘Us’ and ‘Them’, from the perspective of Pluto, it’s just US!”

    Oliver Jeffers collaborated with the Nerve Centre and Professor Stephen Smartt of Queen’s University Belfast to design the trail which has its own free interactive App to download.

    Grid Ref for their starting point: NV 611 818

    Presenter: Clare Balding
    Producer for BBC Audio in Bristol: Karen Gregor

    • 24 min

Customer Reviews

4.8 out of 5
124 Ratings

124 Ratings

rhithron ,

A very interesting podcast!

Every episode is a treat!

Ralanas84 ,

Wonderful

I find this podcast such a delight to listen to. Very inspiring and comforting during these times that we are living in. Thank you.

lindiatou ,

Balm for these troubled times

I absolutely LOVE this podcast series.

The psychological benefits of “going along” on these ramblings are immense.

I so look forward to a time when I can once again cross the Atlantic and go rambling on your beautiful country paths.

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