Countryfile visits Golden Valley Llamas
Brodgar – My old mate BeBe Cee has been back to see us. A big group of people – they called themselves ‘Countryfile’ – have just been to Golden Valley Llamas. We often have people visit – llama trekking is our thing – but this was different. Julia Bradbury and Matt Baker and a lot of other two legs spent the whole day here.
Let the gang take you through the day. You can see the results at 7pm on Countryfile on BBC 1 on Sunday 24th March 2013.
Brodgar (8 year old): mid-morning, 7 llamas in the yard – Stenness, Stanton Drew, Rollright, Moai, Belas Knap, Tintagel and me – and Julia and her team come into the yard to greet us. Lots of milling around – this is what those of us who have filmed before, call ‘establishing shots’, darlings. Rollright and the two youngsters approach the crew and sniff away at hands and feet.
Stanton Drew (3 and a half): not sure about this filming. Why does one of the two legs carry a furry stick around with him?
Stenness (8 year old): I stand back and watch as our people are filmed mooching about amongst us. Wish they’d get on and feed us. ‘Llamas Llamas’ comes the food call. That’s more like it, and we bundle into the feed pen and queue up for nosh, tasty nosh.
Brodgar: I’m told the film crew is one camera operator short, so I agree to take the extra camera and film throughout the day. I’m harnessed up and film in the pen.
Stenness: Good grief, Brod’s going all tv luvvie on us and insisting on the best camera angles. Not sure what he’s doing – seems to be filming my feet.
I don’t know why, but whenever we have a film crew around there’s always one prima donna – ‘look at me, look at me’, and I don’t just mean the llamas.
Tintagel (8 month old): Nice Julia puts a halter on me and leads me to the rail and ties me up.
Belas Knap (8 month old): Nice Julia grooms me, and grooms me, and grooms me. Julia is lovely. I am wet, and really people only brush llamas when we’re dry, but my neck is sheltered by my long head and Julia brushes me there. She concentrates on a patch of fibre about as big as a cria’s foot and, gosh, it looks good when she’s finished with me. Mind you, there’s a bit of hay still stuck to the rest of me – I’d been a bit close to the manger just before Julia came and I am covered in hay. Uncle Brodgar says I look like a scarecrow.
Brodgar: As I film, Julia talks to our people. Questions are about why they own llamas (not Julia’s fault – she doesn’t know that we own our people), the farm and the herd. Much of the story is the training that takes place. It can take many months for a llama to train a person about how to act around us, but they do get it in the end. We have to be gentle with our people, encourage them that a little and often approach works a treat, and let them see that grooming us isn’t such a scary thing to do. Two legs aren’t so bad – they don’t kick, bite, nor spit at us.
Stenness More filming by Brodgar as he takes in the barn. Good close ups of the hay manger I’d imagine.
Brodgar: ah ha, the llama trek – thought so. Right! We’re off out the gate and I lead with Julia as Belas Knap and Tintagel follow on behind. These 8 month olds are superb little llamas. Stenness and I have trained them really well. We take a quick circuit and return to the barn where we are fed sliced carrot as a reward.
Belas Kanp: Filming is tiring. Think I’ll have a rest.
Stenness: The crew give the 7 of us a bit of a break for a spell and pile off to film Ringsbury, Maes Howe, Long Meg, Hetty Pegler and Marden. I peer over the fence and see a ‘link’ being filmed. Meg looks quizzically at Julia as she approaches.
Long Meg (7 year old): film crew alert, think I’d best run to the top of my hill and give my best profile. I’m ready for my close up.
Ringsbury (9 year old): who are all these people in our field? They don’t look like trekkers, no halters with them. Ah yes, they’re the film crew from Countryfile – our dear people told us they were turning up. Julia is doing a piece about us being used as guard animals to protect sheep. She seems uncertain about this, and thinks we’re too gentle.
Brodgar: I make some suggestions as to good camera angles and interesting character shots, and the crew are pleased when I film the wood pile and the hen house. Establishing shots. Cut–aways.
Clementine the chicken – cluck cluck cluck cluck cluck cluck cluck cluck
( translator’s note – feed me, feed me, feed me, feed me, Julia Bradbury, feed me, feed me)
Brodgar: I film Julia as she enters our people’s film archive. Lots of rabbiting about films, but at least they`re llama films.
Stenness: I’m pleased to have been given an hour off, but then I notice something very interesting in our people’s office. There’s Brodgar with the rest of his film crew – Strewth, he’s wearing a beret by this stage – and he’s progressed from mere filming to directing. Julia is sitting at a film viewing machine. Apparently she’s looking at the very best subject in my opinion. She’s looking at a llama film. Marvellous. This is very exciting and I’d like a close look, but there is uproar when I spoil the shot as I pile in through the door. Great commotion, but really I’m not to blame and I feel I’m set up as I’ve only followed a line of carrots that have mysteriously appeared on the floor. Hmm, I wonder.
Stanton Drew: I was sheared a couple of years ago and my lovely soft first shearing will make a lovely rug. My uncle Brodgar also gave some fibre and Julia wove a spectacular rug out of our combined coats. We weren’t allowed into the weaving room, but I did sneak a look through the window as Julia passed the shuttle back and forth. Our female person is a great teacher and Julia was a great pupil. Our rug looks brill.
Moai (2 and half year old): By and large I’d managed to keep a low profile during the filming, but I thought it would be nice to provide a colourful backdrop for the final sequence. It’s the director’s decision, but Brodgar listened as Rollright and I suggested we be penned next to where he and Stanton Drew would be competing in the Countryfile Golden Valley Llamas Agility Race.
Rollright (two and a half year old): So a pen was made and Stenness, Moai, Belas Knap, Tintagel and I watched the next half hour with great interest.
Stenness: A llama agility race challenges the two leg / four leg combo. Obstacles mimic those that can be found on a walk or around the farm. We might have to cross noisy, crinkly coverings, or take a water hazard. Jumps are common, and a log laid on the ground can be a good obstacle. A steep hill, a trip through a trailer, and weaving in and out of poles are all worthwhile.
It must have been difficult for Brodgar wearing a camera on the course, but this is the life of an increasingly in demand camerallama-cum-director these days.
Stanton Drew: I partnered Matt who had turned up for the race and Brodgar was paired with Julia.
Brodgar: Stanton Drew and I agree. We’re not going to give any details of the race – you will have to watch BBC Countryfile on Sunday 24th March to find out just what happened.
Stenness: At the end of the race it was getting dark, and when a film crew wants to pack up and get under cover it can move pretty quickly. We llamas allowed ourselves to be unhaltered and we strolled back down to our field for a welcome final munch of some grass before going to sleep.
Brodgar: for a moment there I was getting quite carried away with filming and direction. I handed my camera back and decided I’d really rather not be behind the camera. I’m a star. My place is in front of the camera.
I said good bye to Julia Bradbury as she patted me on the neck.
More news from Herefordshire’s Golden Valley Llamas soon.
Countryfile, BBC1 Sunday 24th March 2013