Posted 9th May 2014
Barefoot Wines have launched their 2014 Barefoot Wine Beach Rescue Project encouraging the nation to help clean up their local beach and make it 'barefoot friendly'. We caught up with wildlife and science presenter Kate Humble, ambassador for the campaign, at the launch of the first event in sunny Scotland to find out more
What made you decide to get involved with the Barefoot Wine Beach Rescue Project?
As you may know I am an avid follower of wildlife and the fantastic natural habitats we have here in Britain. It amazes me that for an island nation we don't know a huge amount about our beaches, often we think of them as just a place to go in the summer holidays but we have so many wild species to enjoy. Take the sea, we think of the sea as just this big bucket of water but it is full of diverse wildlife habitats. We have basking sharks, seals, seahorses, turtles – all in our waters!
Whether it's the litter that careless beach-goers leave or the sewage and erosion caused by strong currents and storms, it all has a huge impact on the health of our wildlife. I've seen the effect rubbish has on our seals and these beach cleans are really the most effective way any age and ability can help keep our spectacular beaches clear.
Is spending a day at the beach something you'd normally enjoy doing?
I love to go to the beach, especially in autumn and winter as there's such a diversity of wildlife around then and not many people about. I also scuba dive, so spend a lot of time under the water too.
Has there been a big support from locals so far?
I'm sure there will be as it's the first beach clean of the year with Barefoot Wines. It's actually their 60th beach clean and their seventh year doing it, but today is the first beach clean of 2014 so it's very exciting. The weather is lovely and sunny and it is really looking beautiful at Dunbar.
Will you be getting involved with any more beach cleans this year?
Yes, I'm doing six different beach cleans throughout the summer and people can go to theBarefoot website (www.barefootwine.co.uk) to see which beach cleans are happening near to them, but there are several happening all over the country. I heard an incredible statistic today that we've collected 10 tons of rubbish over the years from these beach cleans. I really hope that soon we'll see a positive impact on the amount of rubbish that is found and that people will really think about the rubbish they leave behind on the beach.
Are you working on any other exciting projects this year?
Yes I am. I have a new series coming out next month which is called Inside the Wildfire, which I filmed with the lovely Simon Reeve for BBC Two. It's looking at how wildfires spread. We went to Australia earlier this year when they had a real bout of wildfires, so we were really at the frontline looking at how they can better predict the fires and keep firefighters safe.
I have two other series I'm doing, one called Kew on a Plate filmed at Kew Gardens with Raymond Blanc. It will be looking at our heritage vegetables and their history, as well as vegetables we don't tend to use anymore. Raymond and I will also be recreating a heritage vegetable garden at Kew. Then, in a week I go to Mongolia to live with nomads. I'll be going into the Mongolian mountains and herding cashmere goats and yaks, which will be physically challenging but I'm very excited.
What's life like when you're not on the road? What do you enjoy doing?
There's not a great deal of time when I'm off but I have a farm in Monmouthshire where we run courses that connect people back to the countryside, so I work there and get involved with that when I can.
We asked our social media followers what they'd most like to ask you, and we've picked our favourite question, which is: To anyone thinking of taking the plunge into farming as you have, what advice would you give?
I think probably not to follow what I did! I love it but it's hard work and a big commitment. I'm lucky as I do it with my husband and we can cover for each other. It is a big tie as you have animals that need feeding and checking on all of the time, but the rewards are fantastic. Eating the vegetables I've grown or an animal I've raised really makes me appreciate what I'm eating, which may sound strange but it's because I know how much work has gone into it.
You should think hard about your lifestyle and what animals you'll have as there's no point in having loads of animals and produce you don't like to eat. If you don't like eggs, don't have chickens, and some people like the idea of having pigs but don't eat pork, there's just no point. A course with us (at Humble by Nature) is good to get a taste of it, but use the resources you have around you. Does your local vet know how to deal with farm animals? Where will you take the animals to be slaughtered, is there a good local abattoir? There's no point having lots of animals as pets, it needs to be practical. Look to see who you can share resources with, do you have a friend or neighbour with a farm who can help you? We've had loads of help over the years. A smallholding course is great and ours are really hands-on and we have courses with goats, chickens, bees...it will help you to make a proper, informed decision. It is a really rewarding thing to do and I would encourage anyone to do it, but just go in with your eyes open.
How it went...
The first Barefoot Wines beach clean launched with a bang, with 50 people turning out to show their support on East Beach at Dunbar, including the local Belhaven Hill School and Asda community team. The Barefoot Wine Beach Rescue Project is continuing its coast-to-coast tour around the rest of the UK this spring and summer, in partnership with Surfers Against Sewage, at the following locations (* Kate Humble attending):
Friday 9th May*
Bristol - Avon Gorge Riverbank
Friday 16th May
Tynemouth - Longsands
Saturday 17th May
Scarborough - South Bay
Friday 6th June*
Bournemouth - Hengistbury Head
Saturday 7th June
Portsmouth - Southsea
Friday 18th July*
Brighton - West Pier
Saturday 19th July
West Sussex - East Wittering/Shore Road
Friday 29th August
Grimsby - Cleethorpes Beach
Saturday 30th August
Friday 5th September*
Liverpool - Ainsdale Beach
Saturday 6th September
Cumbria - Whitehaven Beach
Friday 12th September*
Cardiff - Penarth Pier