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Open Country
Sat  6.10 - 6.35am
Thurs 1.30 - 2.00pm (rpt)
Local people making their corner of rural Britain unique
This week
Saturday 3rd May
Repeated Thursday 8th May
Listen to this programme in full
In this week’s ‘Open Country’, in the first of a 2-part special Helen Mark visits the Isle of Mull.
Mull is the second largest island of the Inner Hebrides and is positioned off the west coast of Scotland. Helen begins her journey in Tobermory, the unofficial capital of the island made famous for being the setting of the Cbeebies programme, ‘Balamory’. 

Tobermory was built by the British Fisheries Society, as a planned settlement to encourage large-scale fishing off the western coast. From its founding in 1788, Tobermory has become a major service centre for Mull and places nearby, even though its role as a fishing base has diminished.

Helen talks to Olive Brown, the Chairman of the Mull Museum, who tells her how Queen Victoria’s visit to the isle kick-started Mull’s biggest industry, tourism.

Creon Carmichael from the Tobermory Fish Company takes Helen to his mussel farm in Aros Park and explains why his fish often reaches North America before it arrives in London.

Helen also goes bird spotting with RSPB Officer David Sexton at the Sea Eagle Hide and finds out why Mull is so important to the survival of this bird. Sea eagles are Britain’s largest bird of prey and are the world’s fourth largest eagle, with a wingspan stretching 8 feet across. It became extinct in Britain in 1918 however laws were changed during the 1950’s, which helped pave the way for two early attempts at reintroduction in Scotland. The reintroduction in Mull has been one of the most successful projects. 

Helen finishes off her tour by traveling to the Ross of Mull in the south to meet Ronnie Campbell who’s lived on the island for nearly 70 years. Ronnie reminisces about his time as a shoe-less schoolboy in Bunessan and his 44 year career planting trees on Mull for the Forestry Commission.

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