One hundred broadcasts from Lakes team

A popular podcast celebrating the life of the Lake District is about to reach its 100th edition.

Countrystride has been winning audiences since  2020 with tales from the fells, from the people of Cumbria, and stories from the past and present.

Three years ago Dave Felton and Mark Richards set off from Wasdale Head to climb Scafell Pike. They planned to record a handful of podcasts to celebrate their love of Lakeland, but enthusiasm from listeners carried them on. Now Countrystride will reach its 100th episode, broadcasting to more than 10,000 a month all over the world.

Felton and Richards

The  Podcast celebrates the landscapes, culture, heritage and people of Cumbria and the Lake District through a blend of immersive field recordings, inspiring commentary and interviews, all shaped into a single walk presented by author, illustrator and ex-farmer Richards and produced by  Felton, who is also a book publisher.

Felton is also a photographer, writer and broadcaster who runs the Cumbrian business Inspired by Lakeland, publishers of, among others, Forty Farms, The Lake District in 101 Maps & Infographics and the Lake District Sticker Book. He has wandered the Lakeland fells since he could stand on two feet and in 2017 walked from Land’s End to John o’Groats.

Richards was strongly influenced by his mother’s roots in the Yorkshire Dales, and from his youth he’s adored the hills and dales of northern England. He was encouraged to direct his passions for pen and ink drawing and walking into writing and illustrating walking guides from Alfred Wainwright, with whom he spent many weekends in the 1970s. The author of many guidebooks, including his seminal eight-volume Lakeland Fellranger series, he lives at the northern tip of the Pennines.

Together their podcasts have covered a diverse and eclectic range of subjects, from Dentdale and the Dales High Way to the Vikings, Cumbrian dialect, dry-stone walling, fell ponies, Cumbrian ghosts, and of course Beatrix Potter. There have been walks and talks in the footsteps of Wainwright, of course, and interviews with people who are helping to shape the future of the landscape.

Mark with Joss Naylor and photographer Vivienne Crow

They have talked to Cumbrian celebrities including the fell-running legend Joss Naylor, writer and farmer James Rebanks, broadcaster Eric Robson who lives in Wasdale and was for many years chair of BBC Radio 4’s Gardeners’ Question Time; and John Dunning, founder of Westmorland Motorway Services.

But they also chat with walkers they meet on their hikes and rambles, and the 100th episode of Countrystride invites listeners to say what makes the Lake District special for them. And they are planning to hold their first ever Countrystride Live event in October, featuring a range of walks, talks and music, at a venue in the South Lakes.

The 100th episode will be recorded on the ascent of Helm Crag near Grasmere, with writer and climber Bill Birkett, and retired mountain rescuer Gordon Bambrough who recently celebrated his 90th birthday by climbing Scafell Pike.

Countrystride also publish a range of guidebooks featuring the podcast’s  mix of Lakeland walks alongside heritage, culture and landscape commentary.

You can listen to the podcasts here:

Header image of Wastwater by Mark Richards


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