Hebrides on the edge

by Lee Allen


Having already been shown on the BBC in Scotland in May 2013, this 4-part series has now been shown on BBC2 in the rest of UK.


Hebrides – Islands on the edge was three years in the making and is narrated by Ewan McGregor. The first three programmes chart the course of a wild year in the Hebrides, whist the fourth introduces some of the people from the Hebrides and finds out why animals and people need each other so much.


The series focuses on wildlife through the seasons and was filmed by a stable of experienced wildlife filmmakers led by Nigel Pope, who created Springwatch and Big Cat Diary. The series features locations such as Mull, Islay, Barra, Lewis and Skye, and animals including red deer, seals, basking sharks, puffins, dolphins and white-tailed eagles.


According to ‘The Scotsman’, Visit Scotland is already using footage from the series for its most recent tourism campaigns and is expecting the programme to entice more holidaymakers. Mike Cantlay, chairman of Visit Scotland, said: “Our research shows that one in five visitors are influenced by seeing depictions of Scotland on film or television, so magnificent exposure such as this can only be a great thing.”


Below is an Episode Guide for Hebrides – Islands on the edge:


Season 1 Episode 1


Ewan McGregor narrates this documentary following the lives of animals struggling to survive on the archipelago off the west coast of mainland Scotland. Young swallows, otters and grey seals face the biggest storms and highest tides of the year as autumn arrives, while thousands of geese and swans migrate to the islands for winter, only to find white-tailed eagles ready to hunt them


Season 1 Episode 2


The islands are hit by the biggest storm in living memory, leaving animals including white-tailed eagles, harbour seals, hares, pine martens and short-eared owls struggling to raise their families. As the wild weather finally passes and the seas warm, cameras move beneath the waves to reveal the arrival of Scotland’s ocean juggernauts – basking sharks.


Season 1 Episode 3


The wildlife documentary focuses on the Outer Hebrides, where on the outlying islands, sea birds rush to feed their chicks while trying to escape the clutches of ‘bonxies’ – predatory skuas with a taste for young puffins – while on the low-lying Uists, acres of meadows burst into flower as summer finally arrives. But this is a year of drought and Atlantic salmon find themselves trapped in the sea pools and unable to move into the river systems. Yet again the creatures of the Hebrides must find ways to survive the islands’ extremes.


Season 1 Episode 4


The people of the islands reveal how they live side by side with animals. Skye ferryman Donnie MacDonald has discovered some on-board entertainment for his passengers in the form of white-tailed eagles hunting alongside his boat, while Andrew Abrahams is attempting to turn Colonsay into a nature reserve for bees. Last in the series.


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