12 Miles

BBC NI (3 x 30 mins)

At the closest point Scotland and the North Antrim Coast are just twelve miles apart, and the migration of people between the two countries has been going on for centuries.

Helen Mark left Scotland 31 years ago to settle in Northern Ireland and has always felt comfortable there. In"12 Miles: The Narrow Sea" Helen asks why that is and why many people in Northern Ireland who have settled in Scotland also feel the same way.

In this three part series she looks at The Land, The City and The Sea.

In The Land Helen journeys to Ayrshire, the west coast of Scotland. As soon as she leaves the boat she realises just how similar that landscape is to that of the Antrim Coast. So many Ulster farmers now live there that the area is known as Little Ireland. She meets some of them, visits a man from Banbridge who now owns his own distillery, and a lady from Magherafelt who runs her own bistro in an area she used to visit as a tourist.

In The City Helen visits both Edinburgh and Glasgow, home to many people from Northern Ireland. She watches two East Belfast girls proudly take part in the famous Edinburgh Tattoo at the Castle, enjoys a night in a Glaswegian comedy club with two Irish comedians, and meets with students and artists who have made the place home.

Helen spends time on a cross channel ferry in the third programme, The Sea, meeting many of those who use the boats regularly. The ship's crew live on board one week at a time, and many of the passengers feel as much a part of the furniture as they do. Parking these massive vessels is a skill in itself, though Helen does find out just how useful a piece of tape and a marker pen can be in that process.

"12 Miles" is a contemporary look at us and them, looking at ourselves through the eyes of others who chose to move away, and seeing just how much in common we have with those who live across the water.