Dogs, horses, bees and a high-octane mountain-bike ride – there is plenty in store for Robson Green in the fourth episode of Further Tales from Northumberland.
The Hexham-born actor takes a tour along the border with Scotland during next Monday night’s show, which starts at 8pm on ITV, and has some memorable experiences along the way.
His first stop is at the 449ft-long Union Chain Bridge, which spans the River Tweed between England and Scotland. When it opened in 1820 it was the longest wrought iron suspension bridge in the world.
Robson says: "It is an amazing feat of engineering, but perhaps more importantly, it is a symbol between two nations – at one end, you have England and at the other, you have Scotland. If you look closely at the parapets, you will see roses intertwined with thistles with the inscription 'united strength is stronger'."
His next port of call is the nearby Chain Bridge Honey Farm, which is a flourishing family business. It was started by beekeeping advisor William Selby Robson in 1948, and in 1962, his son, also William but known as Willie, took up beekeeping. As a nervous Robson puts on his beekeeping gear, he says: "Bees sense fear, and at the moment, I'm reeking of it."
After the buzz of visiting the hives and helping to make some honey at the farm, Robson heads to the Rede Valley to meet champion border terrier breeder Lesley Gosling and pooch Buster.
Robson explains: "The Rede Valley is a wild and unforgiving landscape, which in the 18th century spawned a breed of dog that was tough, loyal and hard-working and became renowned the world over as the border terrier. The border terrier was bred as a working animal, but like many dogs, they have moved and adapted with the times. They still have that hunting instinct, but they are also very loyal, full of character and incredibly loving."
Lesley introduces Robson to some 10-week-old pups, to which Robson says: "I can just hear the entire nation of Great Britain going 'ahhh'."He also watches some terrier racing, which he admits he loves and says is very popular in Northumberland.
From terrier racing to horse racing, Robson visits trainer Susan Corbett at Otterburn’s Girsonfield Stud Farm, which boasts three champion stallions. The pair then head to Hexham Races to see her 21-year-old son Jamie in action.
Robson admits: "I love the races. It’s not just a day out, it puts us in contact with something majestic, powerful and incredibly dramatic."
Jockey Jamie, who says the sport can be dangerous, previously broke his collar bone after a fall at Musselburgh. Susan says: "The day he plummeted into the ground and completely bust his collarbone, I had to look after the runner in the next race and you go – am I a mother or am I a trainer? But it is not the most pleasant feeling seeing your son ricocheted off a horse."
Robson's last adventure in the fourth episode is a thrilling mountain-bike ride down Deadwater Fell at Kielder, which has some of the best singletrack trails in the UK with breathtaking views.
He cycles with enthusiast Tommy Wilkinson, who paralysed his right arm and surrounding shoulder after a biking accident. He now competes in the sport with his arm in an exoskeleton.
Robson manages to come away from the high-octane experience pretty much unscathed, but after completing the trail, he says: "Well, I didn't fall off once...I fell off six times!"
But he adds: "Kielder Forest is a man-made natural wonder and if you want to mountain bike anywhere in Britain, Kielder Forest is the place to do it."
Further Tales from Northumberland is proving incredibly popular, just like the previous two series. The third instalment of Robson’s county adventures has been pulling in millions of viewers. The first episode of the third series, screened on Monday, February 29, attracted three million people. Viewers clearly liked what they saw, because the second episode, aired a week later, pulled in even larger numbers, with 3.3million tuning in. Last night, during the third episode, Robson explored the Northumberland coast. The theme of the eight-part third series is journeys. People can get involved and comment on the show, by using #TalesFromNorth on Twitter.