CHRISTOPHER STEVEENS reviews the TV last night: What’s it like to count sheep when you go on a hike? This is the ideal day for a shepherdess

Winter Walking


David O’Doherty, Along for the Ride 


It’s not all about the beautiful weather and stunning views. Amanda Owen, a hill farmer and mother-of-nine takes a day off to the Dales. All she can focus on is her sheep.

The shepherdess — familiar to viewers from her documentary series Our Yorkshire Farm on C5 — was enjoying a solitary stroll across the fells around Wensleydale, in Winter Walking (BBC4).

The day was intended to be one of relaxation. But her mind was constantly on her flock — the woolly ones, not the two-legged type charging about in their wellies. Evidently, she is aware that her children are capable of taking care of themselves.

Amanda set out on five miles from Bainbridge and Semerwater, declaring, “I’m determined not to feel guilty about not being at work today.”

Amanda Owen enjoyed a solitary stroll across the fells in Winter Walks

Amanda Owen took a solo stroll through the winter walks on the fells.

However, she could not help but look at everything with the shepherd’s eye. The grass was greener on these hills than at her home in Swaledale, a couple of valleys away, and that meant better grazing — which in turn promised earlier lambing.

She was able to spot a female ewe and two babies, a “tup” and a “gimmer”, in her backyard. . . One male and one woman. After watching with worry, she realized that the lambs were sucking well and shaking their tails.

She met two farmers on the Roman road and stopped to chat with them. They speak my language. . . sheep!’ “She!” she replied approvingly.

She was inspired by a chance encounter with three ponies trekkers to think about farming on horses instead of quad bikes. After thieves broke into her farm and took her four-wheelers motorized, it became clear that horses were safer and more cost effective. The sheep like it better, too — and doubtless, that’s what really matters to her.

The wild parties of the week 

Hattie and Lauren, friends, were refurbishing their Yorkshire house with 3D graphics from Virtually Home. The couple wanted to create a 1920s speakeasy in the cellar. Hattie told them to stop swinging from the chandeliers. Steady, girls. 

The glacial lake that Turner had painted more than 200 years ago was the final place she stopped. She mused, “I need more days such as this in my lifetime.” “I believe everyone does.

This is part of a new series featuring celebrities walking in the north, which is becoming increasingly popular on BBC2’s Walking With. . . shows.

BBC4’s BBC4 version has many delights, including the occasional caption to help identify animals and birds as well as fossils that may be spotted along the route.

For those who are determined to recreate this route, Ordnance Survey grid reference maps can be accessed. We are joined by the Rev Kate Bottley and Alastair Campbell, as well Radio 5 Live’s NihalArthanayake who take us on foot to explore more of the area throughout each week.

People who want to move at a more rapid pace might consider this option. David O’Doherty, Along for the Ride (C4). Grayson Perry, comedian and bicyclist was out enjoying the Brecon Beacons this week. It is not the right word to use for enjoying. Grayson is a charming and friendly solo presenter. He’s too competitive for a double-act.

When he’s reminiscing about his childhood, or the therapy that he had to undergo to heal the trauma from the divorce of his parents, he needs to be the center of the discussion.

Grayson was too busy to respond when David was speaking. As though the Welsh landscape was too beautiful for his aesthetic sensibilities, Grayson tried to demonstrate how disillusioned he was with it.

They were just able to have a little fun and banter with each other. Producers sent the pair to camp overnight in wooden caravans. They also had them play with catapults in hopes of reviving Bob Mortimer’s whimsy in Gone Fishing.

They were miles away.