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Episode five sees Robson explore Northumberland’s unique traditions including coble fishermen, Northumbrian folk music, and the history behind the county’s distinctive dialect.
For a small band of Northumbrian fisherman, the traditional wooden coble is much more than just a boat; it’s a way of life with origins dating back to the 10th century.
Said to be inspired by Viking longboats, the coble is unique to the north east. In the mid-twentieth century, hundreds of fishermen set out each morning to seek out salmon, sea trout and lobster. Whole towns were supported by the fishing industry. Part of this success was down to the boats the fishermen trusted with their lives.
Robson learns how, over the past twenty years, changing fishing regulations and technology have seen more and more fishermen opt for modern boats. There are now less than twenty coble fishermen left in Northumberland.
Robson visits the fishing port of Amble to meet one of them. Kevin Henderson’s family have been fishing out of Amble since the 1860s.
Robson heads out on the coble to see what they can catch and, after a hard day at sea, Robson takes control of the boat saying: “There are many things in Northumberland that are good for the mind body and soul, and this type of fishing is one of them.”
Next, Robson investigates the history behind the Northumbrian pipes, which are said to have been designed to resemble a lark singing over a buzzing bee.
Passed down over the centuries by farmers and hill shepherds, it’s one of the most ancient forms of music in Britain. Keeping it alive today is its biggest star, Kathryn Tickell, who has taken it to concert halls all over the world.
Robson says, “The sounds of the pipe, fiddle, and accordion remind Northumbrians like me where they come from.”
Robson heads to Rothbury, the location of one of the most eagerly anticipated events in the Northumbrian calendar. Founded in 1977, the Rothbury Traditional Music Festival brings together performers from across the region.
It’s here that Robson explores the unique dialect of Northumbria, and enters a dialect poetry competition. Performing the poem he’s written in front of an audience full of Northumbrians, Robson says: “I’ve never been so terrified in my life”, before getting a huge round of applause.
Actor Robson Green returns to his home turf for a new factual series, which sees him lead viewers through a unique and often overlooked part of Britain that remains close to his heart.
In Tales from Northumberland with Robson Green, Robson reveals why the county of his birth, to which he has recently returned to live, still remains for him a magical and mysterious ancient kingdom.
Over eight episodes, Robson travels the length and breadth of this magical landscape by land, sea and air to see things he’s never seen before and discover a side of Northumberland that he never knew.
He immerses himself in many of the unique experiences the area has to offer, spending the night in one of the most remote spots in Britain, stargazing into the darkest skies in England and exploring the rich and deep history of a county which has its own flag, tartan and dialect. Not forgetting its iconic locations such as Holy Island and Hadrian’s Wall, which are key to the nation’s ancestral roots.
Stretching from just north of Newcastle up to the Scottish border, Northumberland boasts more castles than any other county as well as vast expanses of unspoilt, rugged countryside, allowing Robson to encounter all walks of county life from a lord and lady to a shepherdess.
As he reconnects with his homeland, Robson also sees it like never before and whether faced with sleeping in a lighthouse, or being attacked by birds in the wilderness, it’s not an experience he will be forgetting any time soon.