Me on the telly

About 18 months ago I got in touch with the BBC Countryfile programme with the aim of doing a video diary on the mountain hares on Bleaklow. As I hadn't heard back from them I assumed that nothing would come of it, but late last year they got in touch again to ask if I was still interested. We agreed that early Feburary this year would be the best time to do the filming as the hares are still mostly in their white winter coats and are more active during the day as it is the start of the breeding season. Rachel from the beeb at Birmingham came up a week yesterday to give me a camera and a run-down of how to use it and what they were looking for in terms of footage, e.g. "Plenty of GVs" (General Views) and "Always explain what you are doing to camera"

John, Bob and myself went out last Saturday up Yellowslacks to get some footage of the hares. There were plenty around, but the camera only has a 12x zoom, which means you have to get really close to get a decent shot, and the hares aren't known for being cooperative! After a lot of skulking around rocks and cursing of both the microphone lead and the tripod we did get a fair amount of footage.

That evening when I got home I thought I better check through the tapes to make sure they looked OK. I checked the first tape, them moved on to the second when disaster struck - the damn tape got jammed in the camera which then started beeping and flashing various cryptic error messages at me. A glance at the manual revealed that I should eject the tape and try again, but the bloody camera refused to eject the tape - and it was the one with the hares on it! I eventually managed to get the tape out after about an hour of trying, however I was intending to do more filming which was going to be difficult without a camera. Fortunately I was going down to Hampshire for work on Monday, so after a frantic series of text messages between myself and Rachel I arranged to swap the camera on my way past Birmingham on Monday.

Last Thursday I was supposed to be doing some more airlifting, but do to the fact that we were fogged in it didn't happen, and as a result I couldn't film anything save the helicopter on the ground (a Lama) sharing a field with a real live Llama. John and I went off to Snake Summit for a wander around Bleaklow in the murk - visibility was down around 50m, and the only person we saw was one of the full-time National Park staff cutting channels in the peat to try to get some of the water to drain off the first section of the Pennine Way - the path is slowly sinking into the bog, as it's one of the earliest bits to be done, now they use stone flags to lay causey paths. In the early days they tried out all sorts of stuff including geotextiles, split paling fencing and even polystyrene blocks! The causey paving works best because it floats on the surface of the bog, and doesn't need anything laid underneath it, so all the paths are done that way now.

I'm off out tomorrow as they are supposed to be airlifting again, but the weather forecast isn't good so it remains to be seen if I'll actually manage to get any film of the helicopter before the BBC want their camera back! As soon as I know what the transmission date of my 4 minutes of fame is, I'll be sure to post it here, so keep checking back :-)