Ribblesdale Cheese to Appear on BBC Countryfile 7pm Sunday 3rd Feb 2013

Three weeks ago, on Friday, pretty much the whole country was forecast to receive really bad snow.  This was the day that I and several others were filming for BBC Countryfile up in the ruins of twelfth century Cistercian Jervaulx Abbey near East Witton, about 50 minute’s drive away from Hawes.

The camera man and the sound man

The camera man and the sound man

Jervaulx Abbey is the only privately owned abbey in the UK and it is pretty splendid, both with and without snow.  We met up at 7.45am and it was bitterly cold.  Hannah, the director was there, along with Helen the researcher, John Craven in his wet suit lined wellies, Rob the sound man and John the camera man.  There was also Ian, the owner of the abbey and Glyn, a monastic historian.

I had already met Ian, Hannah and Helen on a reccie the previous week when Ian was kind enough to give us all a guided tour in person, pointing out the activities that would have taken place in the different parts of the abbey.  Not only was Ian able to bring colour to the Cistercian way of life, but the passion for his

John Craven on the left and Hannah, the director on the right

John Craven on the left and Hannah, the director on the right

life time’s work of preserving the abbey shone through.  Glyn was also fascinating, regaling me with tales of how naughty the monks were and how the accountant was sacked.  I won’t give too much away!

My task was to make a Wensleydale cheese from ewe’s milk.  The problem was that it was -6 oC out in the open.  I was given an open sided gazebo and some stainless steel tables on which to rest our little crate system and our chutney gas hob I used to create hot water to heat up the crate system.

Well, I had underestimated just how cold the weather was going to be and also how windy.  Even though I was in a little corner, the gas light kept blowing out and there was no way I was going to be able to heat up 15 litres of sheep’s milk to the desired temperature.  After a swift decamp to another, slightly more sheltered corner, where the temperature was -2 oC, I abandoned the crate system and decanted two litres of

Our second location as the first spot was too windy and kept blowing out the gas light which meant no hot water to heat up the milk

Our second location as the first spot was too windy and kept blowing out the gas light which meant no hot water to heat up the milk

sheep’s milk into a mould and worked on that instead.  Not quite the same effect, but I did actually manage to make cheese, though I am not sure if it is going to make great tv.

Oh well, apologies in advance for looking and sounding like a prat, but it was a great experience and an opportunity to meet some fabulous people – and be on Countryfile!

Plus a big thank you to Hannah for lending me a second pair of socks and Carol, Ian’s wife  for a wonderful lunch in their warm kitchen.

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9 Comments

Filed under Ribblesdale Cheese

9 responses to “Ribblesdale Cheese to Appear on BBC Countryfile 7pm Sunday 3rd Feb 2013

  1. nice one your the second person I know who has made on there. nice to see them featuring local producers of countryside products. Really good for your business too, well done.

  2. Gus

    I’m very sorry, but it was hearing John Craven say your name that led me here.
    Iona Hill ?
    You should be making goats cheese !

  3. We watched it, you were great. So now you are a TV star do you autograph your cheese? Hope you are feeling better too.

    • Hi again

      Thanks, it was a little challenging, being outside in -6 oC for 6 hours or so, but never mind! Shame that the Beeb didn’t mention that I worked for Ribblesdale Cheese. Pneumonia is a lot better, thanks, think I caught it earlier than last year.

      Are you all ok?

      Speak soon!

      • Being out in that temperature for hours on end can’t have helped the pneumonia. You should of had the company name on your White coat.

        Wrinkles both have colds, I’m going to be off for a while with the fracture

      • We were not allowed to advertise and were told specifically that we could not wear our whites with our name on them or have any form of advertising at all.

        Sorry to hear about the Wrinklies, get better soon Val and Dave…and Kevin, hope your arm is not too painful and you have a speedy recovery.

  4. That’s a shame, especially with the amount of advertising on the BBC these days. So have your blog hits increased since Sunday with people looking for you after seeing the program? I told everyone at GT’s to watch it!

    Arm is less painful in general, but catches me out often, physio and massage have helped, but a long way to go

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