Aaaal sorts aa stuff fae Sheltie land....
includes stuff fae Muckle Ossa, Little Ossa and Fladda.....
and any guest stacks, holms, geo's, kame's, baaaas, headlands, voes, firths, lochs, lighthouses, etc.

Monday, 26 April 2010

Simon King’s Shetland Diaries

A review of the above has been brought to the attention of Muckle O - here it is........

Though the concept isn’t new sending a well known TV personality off somewhere to live like the natives do there’s a certain something that makes this new show very watchable.

We saw the perennially happy Springwatch presenter Simon King taking himself, his wife and young daughter off to live in Shetland for a year, primarily so that Simon could be near the otters that live in large numbers there.

And why not; Shetland is beautiful. It’s got a Wuthering Heights feel to the scenery and there’s the added bonus of having some rather spectacular flora and fauna which includes the otters of course but also whales, gannet, terns and sea urchins.

When it begins to spit rain, you can almost guarantee it’s going to be shortly followed by horizontal driving rain, the sort that gets you wet through, and may well be accompanied by winds so strong, you may not be able to stand up. The sort that may blow you to your death.

However, the King family are the dictionary definition of perfect, so they’re emotionally well equipped to deal with adversity. Simon and Marguerite have a mutual admiration club going on that’s touching to see, and their daughter Savannah is a beautiful little girl in whom a love of nature and all its faces is being nurtured.

But there were times in the show when it seemed that choosing Shetland for something of a sabbatical / busman’s holiday looked like a very bad plan if you have a young child. For instance, there was a tense moment when it looked like the family and their car might well get swept into a swollen and potentially lethal burn which was at least just above welly boot deep.

In addition he very nearly became stranded for the night on the island of Noss after attaching some 'Gannet Cams' after dangling from ropes halfway down some very large cliffs (not a good idea). It was apparently a fate worse than death if they didnt get off the island before dark as the Noss monsters would have emerged and eaten them all.

And their hunt for a suitable home didn’t go so well either, with two being entirely unsuitable for a couple with a young child and the third which they eventually chose being custom built for midgets apparently.

In fact, the downsides to living on Shetland are legion; there are few, if any, inside loos, it’s dark for around eleven and a half months a year and being a neighbour of the North Pole, though Father Christmas may make it his first port of call, few other people do. So it’s lonely, isolated, freezing cold and miserable. But again, it’s beautiful. Enigmatically so.

But wherever there’s beauty in nature, there’s a flip side of brutality too, and that became apparent when an arctic tern was injured and a call to the RSPB drew the conclusion that Simon should put it out of its misery, so he did.

However, there was beauty again in the otters and they are Simon’s real passion. He enthused about them so much, it was quite infectious. And they were very sweet to watch as they enjoyed a feast of crab and frolicked in the shallows.

Shetland is now officially renamed SimonKingsLand.

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