Robson Green’s endurance was put to the test in the second episode of Further Tales from Northumberland tonight.
The Hexham-born star joined fell-running legend Joss Naylor – who was 79 at the time of filming, but is now 80 – for a run in the Cheviot Hills, before spending a night in a mountain refuge hut.
Robson’s marathon efforts in the Cheviots came as he hiked along the Northumberland stretch of one of Britain’s most famous walking routes – The Pennine Way.
He said: "Straddling the border between England and Scotland, the Cheviots are incredibly isolated and the weather is notoriously unpredictable. I’ve hiked in the Cheviots before, but this isn’t going to be a walk in the park, particularly as I am putting on my running shoes, to try my hand at the past time that has been popular in these hills since medieval times – fell running. It’s one of our most ancient sports, but only the toughest and the fittest need apply."
Enter Joss Naylor, aka Iron Joss, who, in 1974, wrote himself into the history books by running all 268 miles of The Pennine Way faster than anyone had done before.
Reflecting on the incredible feat, Joss said: "When I started off on The Pennine Way that morning I was really full of running. I don’t think anything would have stopped us. The record then was just over five days and I did it in three days, four hours and 16 minutes – something like that. You look back later in life and you think, 'I did that'."
Speaking to Robson about his love of fell running, especially in the Cheviot Hills, Joss said: "The Cheviots are beautiful. You have the rolling hills and the views are magic. It is a beautiful part of the world. When you’re out fell running and you’re going well and the distance isn’t in your mind, you can go anywhere, any time, you’re floating along and you can switch off and take in what nature provides for you."
The Pennine Way trail runs from Edale, in the northern Derbyshire Peak District, north through the Yorkshire Dales and the Northumberland National Park and ends at Kirk Yetholm, just inside the Scottish border. The path was the idea of the journalist and rambler Tom Stephenson and it celebrated its 50th anniversary in April 2015.
As part of Robson’s exploration of The Pennine Way in tonight's half-hour second episode – which was aired on ITV at 8pm – Robson visited Castle Nook Farm, Alston, which is home to the remains of a vast Roman fort called Epiacum. Robson also learned how the farm’s moles have been unearthing buried Roman treasure.
He then stopped off at Blenkinsopp Castle to meet owner Mike Simpson, whose family bought the castle for just £2,000 in 1955.
Reflecting on his hike along The Pennine Way, Robson said: “It is an absolutely spectacular way to see the beautiful landscape of Northumberland.”