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Ben Fogle: Make a New Life in the Country: Holiday Lodges (S2EP6 Channel 5 Tues 16 August 2022)

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Holiday Lodges: Ben Fogle spends a year with Alan and Yvonne as they take a chance on opening a vacation lodge in a remote area of Scotland without any prior construction or business management experience, and live in a house they ordered online during lockdown without ever setting foot in it. Because they both had demanding jobs, Alan and Yvonne, who lived in the commuter town of Crawley, had grown accustomed to barely seeing one another.

When the lockdown hit and they were at home together 24/7, they remembered how much they enjoyed spending time together and started to dream of a different life. They scoured the internet for places to create a holiday lets business. When they found their dream property, they gambled everything and, unable to view it in person because of lockdown, they bought it straight off the internet without ever setting foot in it. They used all their savings and borrowed from friends and family to make their dream of living a life away from the city a reality. Their new home is in Kyle of Sutherland, a remote part of the Scottish Highlands.

Alan had worked as head of supply merchandising for a global retailer, but when Covid-19 hit he was made redundant. Yvonne was working as a food nutrition teacher in a state boarding school. They had dreamed of combining their love of the outdoors with Yvonne’s passion for cooking and hosting, and decided to risk everything to buy a property where they could build lodges and a tourism business from scratch.

Ben meets them after they get the keys to their new house and see it in the flesh for the first time. Before the pair can even start building the lodges for their business, they need sell their old house in Crawley, and Yvonne has to spend the school year teaching down south and living apart from Alan, who moves to Scotland first.

With every penny they have going into the business, and only one salary, they endure financial hardships waiting for the sale. When they get the money, they encounter unexpected problems with building permissions and another wave of Covid at the end of 2021 — and face the risk that their dreams might come crashing down. Ben returns in spring 2022 to visit, a year after he first met them. Will he find them finally living together? Have they managed to get their lodges built and open for business so they can start their dream life in the country?

Airdate: Tues 16 August 2022 at 21:00 on Channel 5

Season 2 Episode 6

Ben Fogle meets some adventurous Brits who have given up their city jobs.