Life

TV Quickfire: Simon Reeve on new series The Lakes With Simon Reeve

Travel-addict Simon Reeve is back on our screens for an eye-opening adventure to the Lake District. We found out more...

Simon Reeve at Haweswater, Lake District National Park
Gemma Dunn

THIS SERIES YOU'RE OFF TO THE LAKE DISTRICT – WHY THAT PART OF THE WORLD?

IT'S part of the country that everybody thinks they know, but experience suggests to me that we can still find stories they haven't heard before. There's so many things going on that none of us know about. I've been to the Lake District many times over the years, but I still thought it was an area that I'd love to rediscover and learn about.

Of course, part of the reason was that I tend to do foreign exotic adventures, but global travel wasn't very possible during the old lockdown, so it was a case of finding somewhere fascinating and beautiful closer to home. And my goodness, the Lake District delivers on that.

WHAT WAS YOUR MOST SURPRISING DISCOVERY?

I thought of that wider area, Lake District, Cumbria, as being quite cut off from the rest of the country – and actually it's key to life going forward. It's the energy coast, so they're producing huge amounts of energy – that we will rely on – just off the coastline in some of the world's biggest offshore wind farms.

And the farming in the Lake District, the mining that's under way, these are all really important stories for the rest of the country. But more than anything, as I would hope with all of my journeys, it's the people of Cumbria that were the real joy and surprise.

Brits, we're really lovely, wonderful, inspiring people, and I hope we celebrate that.

WHO STOOD OUT ON YOUR TRAVELS?

One of the most inspiring encounters I had was with an 18-year-old young farmer, whose parents had passed away rather tragically close together, and he's been left running a 1,500-acre sheep farm on his own, helped by a couple of teenage school friends.

I was so struck when I was with them, in their lambing shed. There was life and death happening there and this lad, Angus, was dealing with it so calmly, stoically, and maturely. And his friends were cracking on with their roles as well. I was so impressed.

It made me think back to when I was his age and how impossible handling that situation would have been for me and what a credit he was to his family – he gave me real hope for the future.

We denigrate the young; we fail to give them opportunities and responsibilities so often, but my goodness, they are capable of such amazing feats.

HAS COVID MADE YOU WANT TO LIVE IN A DIFFERENT WAY?

It's made me want to live a richer, more fulfilling life while I can. I think surely the pandemic should show most of, if not all of us, that We need to grasp the moment while we can. I want to spend more time with my son, I want to be doing less emails, I want to be travelling more, I want to be living life more, I want to be with my dogs more and I want less of the boring stuff.

It's the sort of wake-up call people have after a heart attack or something.

IS THERE ANYTHING ELSE YOU'D LIKE TO EXPLORE ON TV?

I'd like to go to more parts of the world, which are, to my mind, on the frontline of our changing planet, and see what's happening and see what people are doing about it. I think we're in great battle now, for the future of life.

:: The Lakes With Simon Reeve screens on Sunday nights on BBC 2

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