He started at Border Television (based in Carlisle) in 1966. He is probably most famous for his role as Chairman of Gardeners' Question Time on BBC Radio 4 and for his contributions to various TV series about Alfred Wainwright's walking guides. His voice is also known to millions of the British as the TV commentator on major state occasions. He has been a farmer since 1987, and also was a reporter on BBC Scotland Landward show.
He is chairman of The Wainwright Society and made a series of TV programmes with Alfred Wainwright in the mid 1980s that looked back over the reclusive writer's life. He lives in Wasdale, where he farms at Crag House Farm and (with his wife) runs a mail order company named after Striding Edge, specialising in DVDs, maps and books about the countryside, particularly that of Cumbria.
He married Mary Armstrong in 1976, but they divorced in 1984. They have a son and daughter. He married Annette Steinhilber in 1988. They have a son and two daughters.