Details of Robson Green's adventures in the first episode of Further Tales from Northumberland have been revealed, ahead of the series curtain raiser next week.
The Hexham-born star is returning for a third instalment of the popular programme, which showcases the beauty and diversity of the county. And the series opener, to be screened on ITV at 8pm on Monday, is an action-packed affair, as the 51-year-old takes to the skies to catch a bird's-eye view of Northumberland.
At the former RAF training base at Milfield, Robson is given a lesson in flying a glider, soaring like a bird over the Cheviot Hills. He describes the experience as 'absolutely magical' and, after taking control of the aircraft, he adds: "My father would have been so proud. He always wanted me to be a pilot." However, the flight from the former RAF training base also proves to be a poignant one for Robson, who says: "It is strange to think that over 70 years ago, World War Two pilots were training here over the landscape of Northumberland - many of them sadly never to return."
Next up for Robson is a helicopter flight over the gardens created by renowned 18th century landscape gardener, Lancelot 'Capability' Brown. Robson pays a visit to Brown’s birthplace at Kirkharle, where the current owners, Kitty and John Anderson, are continuing his legacy by bringing to life one of Capability’s long-lost garden designs. After his trip, Robson says: "Kirkharle does something that no other Capability Brown landscape can do - it lets us see how his gardens would have looked in his lifetime. Kirkharle is a great way to learn about the humble Northumberland gardener who transformed the English landscape."
Finally, Robson visits Battle Bridge Farm, just outside of Alnwick, where one of the more unusual sights can be seen from the skies above Northumberland - a collection of 350 combine harvesters. Robson admits: "It has a unique claim to fame - the largest number of combine harvesters in the country. From here (the sky above the farm), it is quite a sight. It is known locally as the combine-harvester graveyard. It is a unique monument to agriculture."
Reflecting on his bird's-eye view of Northumberland, Robson says: "It is amazing the things you can see up here that you don't get sight of from ground level. From the bends and curves of our great rivers to the rich colours of the farmland and countryside. There are some parts of this county that are really best seen from above. Every hill, every monument, every mark on the landscape tells us a different story about our past."
In each episode of the weekly, eight-part third series, Robson will tackle a different journey through Northumberland, including hiking the Pennine Way and following the route of the River Tyne. Along the way he’ll tell the stories of the people and landmarks he encounters on his travels.
The third series also sees Robson take on exciting new experiences, including sailing a 100-year-old tall ship in the North Sea, fell running in the Cheviots, leading The Rothbury Highland Pipe Band in a commemorative parade through the village, taking a tour round The Alnwick Garden's Poison Garden with The Duchess of Northumberland and ringing osprey chicks in Kielder Forest.
He’ll also uncover the stories behind Northumberland’s fascinating history, traditions and wildlife - including tales of Britain’s oldest working lifeboat station, seafaring explorers and Anglo-Saxon kings.
The previous two series have been watched by millions of viewers and have helped to raise the profile of the county and increase tourism numbers to the area. Robson says he is delighted that a third series has been made. During filming he said: “It’s always great to do a third series of anything and with this, we are just discovering more hidden gems in Northumberland. The series is just more of a great celebration of an area that is beautiful, idyllic and still one of the last, great, isolated, remote wildernesses that is on the planet and a place that I am still very proud to call home.”