Don't know about you but we've slightly fallen for Hugh's Three Hungry Boys
whose foraging/scrounging/bartering trip round Devon and Cornwall is currently airing on Channel 4. Country Calling caught up with the boys to talk seaweed and snails, life with Hugh and their favourite West Country moments...
You spent eight weeks driving round Devon and Cornwall at a maximum speed of 17mph in your milk float, Daisy. Where was your favourite place and what did you learn from life in the slow lane?
I think our top 3 places would have been Dartmoor because it is wild, huge and full of hills, woodland, streams and beautiful views, Tregothnan Estate
in Cornwall where they have the most amazing botanical gardens and Asparagus Island just off Kynance Cove. We stayed the night and camped on he island and the sunrise was just magical. We were very hungry but we always say a good view can substitute food! Life in the slow lane makes you appreciate everything. We're still very sorry to all the people we held up (some of them very angry!) but once you get used to and accept the slow pace, it makes you look at the beautiful countryside this kingdom has to offer and you learn to appreciate it more.
Were your surprised by how much you can forage in this part of the world if you put your mind to it? What were the weirdest things you ate? And has it changed the way you eat now?
Devon and Cornwall are great foraging places, especially by the coast. There is so much free food o n offer in the shape of crabs, shrimp, wild hedgerow plants and even seaweeds - all you need is a bit of knowledge and a free meal is yours! The strangest things we ate were definitely the snails on day two. It was early in the challenge, we hadn't settled in to the lifestyle change fully and an unsuccessful fishing trip meant panic set in! They were grim! I don't think it changed the way we eat too much outside of the show because it is what we do anyway. Regardless of whether the cameras are rolling or not, we spen most of the summer out and about at weekends, fishing, foraging or putting lobster pots out. We don't do it exclusively, often we will just get something that will add to a meal and I think that's a key point. Our show (and our lives) are not a survival exercise, it is not just about eating wild food and strange things for a month. It is also about interactions and bartering with interesting people and just generally having an adventure and fun for the summer.
What was it like working with Hugh - he's a bit of a legend in the West Country?
Hugh is fantastic, he has been a massive support to us and I genuinely think we remind him a little bit of his youth! He loves the fact that he can set the challenge and have a bit of control over us, but at times I know he is very jealous of the adventure we have. He's a very busy man, always working on great and inspiring projects, but occasionally we get to just enjoy time with him and his family (his sons are our biggest fans!) having dinner, coming up with new ideas and maybe a swim in his lake - and that's the best bit of working with him.
What was your worst moment?
The worst moment is always running out of something, power in Daisy, food or sometimes just our patience! Generally we know before we leave that there will be both good and bad times ahead of us and this is what Tim always says: "an adventure does not always have to turn out good" and that is something we accept. We have to work as a team and get through it because there is no Plan B of getting the cash out!
On the trip you managed to conjure up devilled crab, baked trout, baked lamb and roasted goose. So not really roughing it then?
No, you're right! Not roughing it in the slightest! It is a strange perception that many people have in their head, that a trip like ours should be 'roughing it, miserable and eating disgusting food the whole time'! More importantly it highlights just how great free, wild or local food can be. A lobster lives in the ocean, not the fish mongers - you just have to go and get one! As a great example, lobster, the king of posh and expensive food, is believed by many people to be out of their reach. Fact - it is possible to catch a lobster in 2ft deep water when the tide goes out, you just need to know where to look!
Your travels in Daisy have raised the profile of the energyshare campaign. Did it make you feel more confident that Britain can switch to renewable energy in the future?
Yes, simply put, renewable, sustainable energy HAS to be the future. Solely relying on the burning of fossil fuels is inherently unsustainable because we can't make any more; once we've used it it's gone. Therefore harvesting other forms of energy (solar, wind, waves etc) is going to become critical and one of the most important points in this is the general public's awareness. This is where Energyshare comes in and I'd like to think the show will help in raising awareness too. Energyshare
is the website to go to for info on renewable energy in the UK.
Can we talk about highlights and what you discovered on your travels?
The Dartmoor Famers Association
does some of the best meat you will ever taste. Rowing three races in a day in a traditional Cornish gig boat will make your arms feel like they're going to drop off. Catching a mackerel from the shore in 2011 was virtually impossible for Thom (when he normally catches about 50 every trip). Travelling in a milkfloat at 15 mph on the A30 is possibly the most dangerous thing on the plant. The St Agnes Festival is amazing, it has so much community spirit. Tregothnan Estate
are the only people in the UK to grow tea and it is fantastic. Exploring the coastline in kayaks is an absolute must to find totally unseen bays and last but not least if you are going to keep leftover fish heads for lobster and crab pot bait, make sure it is not in the van and you can remember where you put it before it stinks the place out!
You can catch the next episode of their travels on Sunday night at 8pm on Channel 4
Buy the 3 Hungry Boys' new book - How to catch, trap, forage and generally blag your way to survival in the wild here