After I had returned from the excellent Islay welcome evening, organised by the Islay naturural history trust, I got settled in front of the television with a dram to watch the first episode of the long anticipated BBC series "Hebrides - Islands of the Edge". The tension had been building up quite a bit recently, both on Twitter and through stories from people on Islay who were more or less involved. Also an article in the Ileach raising awareness for the series, added to the tension. The editorial team of the Ileach had received a DVD with a preview and I heard that they were quite impressed with what they had seen.
When the first episode finally started tonight showing dramatic scenes of the Isle of Skye and Gannets diving into the Ocean, I already had a feeling that this was going to be great, and it did, it was better than great, it was amazing! The four episodes cover a year in the Hebrides to show off Scotland's wild west coast. In tonight's episode one you get to see spectacular aerial scenes, basking sharks, a nest of Swallows at Ardbeg distillery and a young otter being sent off by his mother to become independent during the start of the autumn season and a whole lot more.
When the rain and wind arrive on the island you see the Jura Ferry, the MV Finlaggan and some amazing scenes of the Islay Lifeboat in spectacular weather and light conditions. From the storm battered shores they switch to the beautiful and much more serene underwater world where you see dead mans fingers and sea slugs and from there it's back to the seals on Colonsay and the Red Deer Rut on the Isle of Rum. Continue reading....
Then again back to Islay where first the Whooper Swans arrive after a 40 hour journey from Iceland, and then you see the Barnacle Geese arrive at Loch Gruinart. When the geese spread out to feed you get to see the most stunning scenes of the entire episode. One white tailed sea eagle is on the hunt for Barnacle Geese and when one eagle has a goose down the second one comes in and they both fight over the remains of the goose. This all happens at the head of Loch Indaal near Bridgend. Brilliant and amazing camera work!
From the Eagles they return to the Red Deer rut on the Isle of Rum to end up on Islay again when the Whooper Swans, who had been feeding on remains of barley in the fields, finally take off to head further south before the winter comes. The narrator, Ewan McGregor, tells about Islay that the island is the best place to raise cattle and sheep.
Overall this first episode is one big promotion for the islands in the Hebrides and also, or should I say especially, for Islay. It totally lived up to my expectations and now I can hardly wait to see the other three episodes. Episode 2 is next Monday at 9pm on BBC One Scotland, you can see episode 1 again on Sunday 12 May at 16:35. Make sure you watch it!
The image of the Eagle is copyright of the BBC - Sorry I couldn't resist!