The Adventurer's Guide to Britain

Tuesday, 6 December 2011, 7:30PM – 8:00PM

Wild Lake District: 

In the third episode of the series, Gethin Jones and Charlotte Uhlenbroek head to the Lake District. Though it’s the busiest week of the tourist year, their mission is to get away from the crowds and find those hidden gems that most visitors overlook. 

On day one, Gethin is joined by world champion fly fisherman and wilderness fishing pioneer, Jeremy Lucas, and the pair set off to the River Eden, one of Europe’s cleanest rivers, to fish for wild brown trout. 

Wild fishing demands plenty of skill and total commitment, particularly in the Eden where it presents a real challenge. 

“The Eden has never been stocked with farm-reared fish – so the brown trout are totally wild and very wary.” explains Gethin.

Wilderness fishing is tough – no short cuts, no technology and no cheating, just fishing the old fashioned way. It requires a great deal of stamina and it’s certainly not a sport for the fainthearted. 

“My legs are going numb and the concentration is killing me but a brown trout weighing 8lbs was once caught on the Eden and I don’t want to miss a thing.” admits Gethin. 

After hours of fishing in several locations they strike it lucky, managing to catch one of the river’s elusive brown trout. 

“Four hours of fishing, [and] a soaking, for 10 seconds in the presence of an ancient fish – until it broke free,” laughs Gethin. 

Meanwhile Charlotte is at Pooley Bridge with former Royal Marine, Craig Palmer, to experience a river adventure of her own – heading to Ullswater, the Lake District’s second biggest lake, in a canoe! 

“Most canoeists go downstream but Craig has other ideas for us, he’s taking me on a more adventurous route – upstream to Ullswater, against the current,” says Charlotte. 

Although the half-mile journey starts off as a gentle paddle it soon becomes hard work going against the current. 

“It’s important to head straight into the strong wind coming off the lake. Rather like an umbrella in a storm, if a gust catches the side of our canoe, we could capsize,” explains Charlotte. 

The hard work pays off and when they get to the lake Charlotte is in awe of its beauty and surroundings. 

“Of tens of thousands of visitors, I’m one of the privileged few who get to experience Ullswater this way – this is just the very best view you’re going to get of the lake,” enthuses Charlotte. 

Back on dry land, the adventurers meet and head off in search of one of Britain’s most magnificent wild animals – the red deer. 

For the best chance of seeing these beautiful creatures up close, Gethin puts his faith in naturalist Charlotte’s expertise. They leave the crew behind to avoid spooking the herd and set off with just a handheld camera. 

They stay low and scramble through bracken and over boggy ground before making it to a hillside where they sit and wait for the herd to pass by. Although the trek was hard going they are not left disappointed as before long the stunning wild animals are within a few hundred feet of them. 

When the crew catches up with them, Gethin is still on a high. “You’re a genius,” he tells Charlotte. “I thought we’d be chasing them the whole time but then you said, ‘Let’s just stay here and let them come to us,’ and it’s happening in front of my very eyes. This is genius, I love it!” 

On day two of their Lake District adventure, Gethin and Charlotte journey nine miles from Pooley Bridge to the southern end of Ullswater and head up the mountain for a wild swim in Angle Tarn, one of Cumbria’s 2,000 mountain lakes. 

Following a long and tiring climb they reach the top. After changing into wetsuits they’re soon enjoying a swim on top of the world. “This is the perfect reward for that hard sweaty climb – a refreshing swim at 1,500 feet,” says Gethin.

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