No glamping for BBC reporter from Radio Cumbria

Tent in Ennerdale John's tent in a 'very beautiful but inaccessible valley'

Twice in two weeks, Radio Cumbria's John Bowness has camped out in the name of work - including a live broadcast from a communication dead spot.

BBC travel confirmations tend to be useful but mundane. A taxi here, a train there. But a campsite booking on your behalf is a bit more unusual.

That's exactly what Bowness received as he set out for the first of two nights spent under the stars to cover the Tour de France opening leg as it passed through Bishopdale.

Alongside a handful of eager spectators, Bowness pitched his tent with the help of his fiancee, who had come to help as an 'unpaid broadcast assistant'.

'She was very useful and very understanding,' says the reporter, who had one 'pretty wet night' before the sun came out and the bikes came through.

He admits to not being 'as thoroughly showered and shaved' as usual, but doesn't think anyone minded too much.

John Bowness

With his work on the Tour de France behind him, Bowness soon found himself back in a field pitching a tent with some local midges keen on biting him.

This time he was in Ennerdale to report on the reopening of England's most remote youth hostel in a 'beautiful but inaccessible valley in the Lake District, where there's no mobile phone connection or any other way of getting a signal back'.

Perfect conditions for radio transmission, clearly.

But he did manage to find a field centre nearby with both a phone and a satellite broadband connection.

After gaining permission to use it, Bowness camped overnight outside the centre, which had no space to put him up, in order to test the connection.

The next day he narrowly managed to escape the rain and transmit what 'we think [is] the first time anyone's ever broadcast live from Ennerdale'.

But despite these positive tent-reportage experiences, don't expect to see Bowness joining the swarms of reporters descending upon music festivals every year. 'Glastonbury is not me, too much mud.'

Although being involved in wildlife or outdoor-themed shows definitely does appeal.

'You never know,' he says.


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