Julia Bradbury

Julia Bradbury

The latest Wainwright adventure by presenter Julia Bradbury is in the can and expected to air in spring next year.

After her summit triumphs on the Grumpy Old Fellwalker’s Lakeland fells, the television action woman has tackled his crowning glory, the 192-mile (309km) Coast-to-Coast walk. Editing on the six-part series is now taking place.

grough spoke to the series’ producer Owen Rodd of Skyworks, the company that produced both Wainwright’s Walks and the new Coast-to-Coast series.

He revealed that shooting didn’t always go smoothly and that Julia succumbed to the notorious bogs of Nine Standards Rigg, getting stuck in the glutinous morass on the upland plateau that guards the western entry into Swaledale.

The production team was also plagued by this summer’s bad weather, enduring the worst Britain’s meteorology could throw at them during shooting, which took place in September.

Mr Rodd told grough: “While we were at Ennerdale Bridge, it was just chucking it down, so we had to shoot some bits and go back. Luckily it was better when we were in Ennerdale Valley.”

The filming took three weeks and Julia covered the whole distance though, as the producer admits, “I can’t put my hand on my heart and say she walked every single step of the way, but there isn’t a bit of the route that she isn’t now familiar with. We have to go back and forth when we are filming and there are delays when you’re working with a crew.”

The recording produced about eight or nine hours of footage on the ground, with a similar amount of aerial film.

This will be edited down to produce six half-hour programmes for BBC4, to be broadcast in March or April 2009. Each episode covers between 30 and 40 miles of the route and was done, in the fashion recommended by Wainwright, from West to East.

Mr Rodd admits he thought fleetingly about doing the series in the opposite direction but is glad he plumped for the conventional method. “Nine days out of ten, we had a strong westerly wind on our backs.”

His favourite section was Swaledale, and the crew opted to take the high level route through the dale’s mine workings and gills, as detailed by Wainwright, but not favoured by some modern guidebook writers.

“I know the Lakes very well but Swaledale was just beautiful. For me it is a stunning area and the people in places like Keld were so friendly. Within a day, everyone in the village was coming up to us – they knew all that was going on.

“The section along the Cleveland escarpment was great too.”

Meanwhile, Bradbury fans can follow her progress along more sedate lines – the routes of some of Britain’s old railways.

Her series, also produced by Owen Rodd at Skyworks, follows the tracks of the Speyside railway this Thursday, from Craigellachie, north of Dufftown, to Ballindalloch along the Spey Valley which was used to bring whisky from the distilleries of the area.

Next week sees the presenter move south to Weymouth, along Chesil Beach to follow the route carved out to transport stone and quarry products to Portland. The final episode sees Ms Bradbury north of the border again to walk along the old railway route from Callander to Loch Tay, passing through Glen Ogle.

Railway Walks is on BBC4 on Thursday at 8.30pm and is repeated throughout the week.

Owen Rodd is a former BBC reporter and keen climber. Julia Bradbury is currently presenting BBC One’s Watchdog programme and is president of the Campaign to Protect Rural England’s Peak District and South Yorkshire area.

See also

Sea to Sea: we follow Wainwright from Coast to Coast