Stories from the length and breadth of Scotland return in a new series tonight.
The first of 12 episdoes of Landward begins tonight on BBC One Scotland, with presenters Dougie Vipond, Arlene Stuart, Euan McIlwraith and Anne Lundon.
Also re-joining the programme is chef Nick Nairn, gathering the finest Scottish ingredients from land and sea to cook up something special in the Landward food van – or food boat, as later in the series Nick and Dougie will be making a special trip along the Caledonian Canal.
The first episode of the autumn run begins with an investigation into the critically endangered freshwater pearl mussel. Mussel stocks have been devastated in the past by pearl hunters, and in 1998 the taking of freshwater mussels was banned. Despite this stocks have not recovered, in part due to illegal poaching for pearls. To uncover the effects of this lesser known wildlife crime, Euan visits a crime scene with Police Scotland.
Also in the series, Dougie takes on a three day mountain bike traverse of the Cairngorm Mountains, a challenge made easier by riding the latest technology in electric bikes. Keen to see how successfully electric bikes could open up some of Scotland’s wildest places, Dougie tests the battery’s stamina as well as his own. On the way he meets the people who live, work and play in this magnificent landscape.
Arlene takes on a more sedentary pursuit, but an activity essential to the bio-diversity of the countryside. Newbattle Abbey College near Dalkeith offers Scotland’s only one-year course in bee-keeping, so Arlene busies herself to see if she’s got what it takes to join Scotland’s rank of bee-keepers.
Further south, Anne takes a ride on the Borders railway three years after its launch, to see what benefits it has delivered to Scotland’s border towns and villages. With campaigners keen to extend the line further south, Anne investigates the argument for bringing the line down to Hawick and beyond.
Strands running through the autumn run include a look at some of the more unusual jobs to be found in the countryside, and a tour round Scotland’s literary landscape, including items on Robert Louis Stevenson and his connection to the island of Erraid off Mull, James Hogg in Ettrick and John Buchan in Peebles.
From Scotland’s latest hi-tech indoor farm, to beer made from beans and the threat of disease wiping out some of Scotland’s most iconic trees, Landward celebrates Scotland’s wildlife, its food and drink sectors and investigates the country’s most important rural affairs stories.
Landward is on BBC One Scotland, from 7.30-8.00pm.