Category Archives: Videos

Frogs, frogs and more frogs..

The frogs arrived back in our pond a week or two before the Arctic cold spell at end of February. The pond promptly iced over. Whether they were under the ice or under the snow, most of them reappeared once normal weather had resumed.

And then they got on with what they had come for….

Siberia Comes to Glasgow

It’s not often that Glasgow gets snow, snow and more snow. But it has just happened. Siberia came to us. Here’s the proof.

Things are slowly getting back to normal. Slowly being the operative word. I got my walking boots and crampons on yesterday to venture out for some milk. Nae milk to be had! McColls had none. Coop had none. And somebody told me that Sainsbury was still closed. Fortunately this morning, McColls had had a delivery and my coffee is white again.

And my car is appearing from under the 25cm of compacted snow it’s been hiding under. And she’s all charged up again, bless her!

And one from the BBC The Social YouTube channel : The Snow Day

Ciostal the Collie

In 2016, I spent a few weeks at Big on Isle of Lewis looking after my friend’s collie. His name is Ciostal. Pronounced something like Kee-shtal but he wasn’t too fussy at my not very good Gaelic pronunciation! I hadn’t been over at Uig on the Lewis west coast before. He and I had an enjoyable time exploring the local beaches and hills. Here he is

As with the rest of Scotland, if you wait for blue sky before you set off for a walk, you’ll spend a lot of time indoors! And often if you set off anyway, you might get a bit wet but the blue sky often appears later on. We had a very stormy couple of days when a Force 10 storm barrelled in from the Atlantic. 

Enjoy the videos!

Pope Francis at TED – The Future You

I’ve had this TED Talk on my list of ones to listen to for months and now just got round to it.   I don’t share the Pope’s Christian beliefs.  I could wish he didn’t quote Mother Theresa of Calcutta. But basically this is a good man’s reflections on what most helps and hinders human beings to live in harmony and look after this planet. It’s worth a listen.

“…. the future is made of yous, it is made of encounters, because life flows through our relations with others.”

Bercow, the Speaker, Speaking Some Welcome Home Truths

The Speaker of the Commons gets asked a point of information about the possibility of  Trump speaking at Westminster Hall. Speaker Bercow left no doubts about his view on that. As Dennis Skinner says at the end “Just two words, Mr Speaker. Well done.”

However since this happened Bercow is facing calls for him to resign. These calls come from Tory MPs. So no surprise there. The grounds for a resignation are said to be the Speakers make an agreement to be politically neutral while they hold the position of Speaker. 

You might say that Bercow’s words were not political neutral in that they go against the stated views of the PM in inviting him for a Royal State Visit as opposed to a Head Of Government visit. I prefer to think of Bercow giving the Commons the ethical argument for why Trump should get nowhere near Westminster Hall or the Royal Gallery.

Croig to Canna

At the end of August, I was on another sailing holiday with Skipper David Leaver on his ketch the Saltwater Gypsy. The first day we sailed from Dunstaffnage up to Croig a little harbour at the north end of Mull. Almost no wind to speak of so we used the engine all the up the Sound of Mull. The water was smooth enough to make spotting the porpoises pretty easy.

Croig harbour, Mull
Croig harbour, Mull

This is Croig on a sunny day with the mountains of rum away in the distance. By the afternoon when we were there it had started to rain….still a very beautiful place though.

Old anchor at Croig slipway
Old anchor at Croig slipway

From Croig the next morning we sailed over to Canna passing Muck and Rum on the way. It was a sort of rocking’ and rollin’ sail with a six foot swell coming across at right angles to where we were aiming for. Made for interesting spells at the helm! Some footage below. We anchored at Canna for two nights and had two walks ashore around the bay at A’Chill and up on to Compass Hill and round the cliffs on the north side of the island.

Bluetit Video Gallery

On Barra

Bishops Isles seen on approach to Barra

After our sailing trip to the Small Isles, August 2016, we took the ferry – and the car – from Oban over to the Isle of Barra for a few days. I have been on Barra once before, very briefly.

My plan for that earlier trip was to fly from Glasgow to Barra, stay in Castlebay over night, then use my Scottish Senior Bus Pass which gets me free bus travel anywhere – yes, anywhere – in Scotland for a day’s bus and ferry journey up to Stornoway at the north end of the Outer Hebridean archipelago. The bus and ferry schedules all link up so it’s a great way to travel. I’d arranged to stay a few days with a friend who lives near Stornoway before getting the ferry over to Ullapool and the bus back to Glasgow. I’d never been to Lewis before.

I did it all that except that the early morning plane couldn’t land at Barra Airport because of seafog. And then my midday flight was delayed till the first flight got back to Glasgow and by then it couldn’t land at Barra because the tide was up. You did read that correctly. The landing strip at Barra is a beach. 🙂 Which was the main reason I wanted to take the flight on the 18 seater twin engine Otter that LoganAir use for the route. They did fly us out but landed at Benbecula instead of Barra. Benbecula is four islands further along the archipelago northwards from Barra. Then they arranged transport for us back down to Barra that afternoon! See more here.

Castlebay & Kismet's Castle
Castlebay & Kismul’s Castle

This trip we were based in Castlebay  for three days. The weather was the usual  mix – sunshine, a few showers and a lot of wind. First morning was wet so we drove up to Eoligarry at the north of Barra where the airport is. And there’s a very highly recommended cafe in the terminal building. In fact the cafe takes up more space than the arrivals / departures space. We were in time to watch the midday flight from Glasgow arriving and then departing. A twenty minute turnaround!   You’ll find video of the Twin Otter below.

Barra Terminal Building


The west coast of Barra is a series of beaches and headlands and machair, the belt of fertile land just beyond the high tide mark. It’s found all over the islands, mostly on the west facing coasts. In summer it’s covered in wild flowers.  We spent two days wandering along the beaches, watching the Atlantic surf, watching seals watching us, bird-spotting. And inevitably, ended up in the airport cafe on several occasions. 

It’s the Ciostal Movies!!!

Costa is a collie who lives in Timmsgarry, Uig on the Isle of Lewis in the Outer Hebrides. I looked after him for a couple of weeks in the summer. He’s great!! The place is also great. Wild and beautiful. Uig is about an hour’s drive from Stornoway. Less if you’re a local and used to driving on single track roads. Ciostal (pronounced Kissh-tal) likes walks. So do I. So we explored some of the nearby beaches, hills and headlands. The result is a set of four movies starring Ciostal –

  • Ciostal Goes to Bolsta
  • Ciostal at the Radar STation
  • Ciostal Goes Hill-walking
  • Ciostal and the Storm

Here they are. Enjoy.

a visit to Monkey World, Dorset

Monkey World is an absolutely ace Primate Rescue Centre in Dorset, UK. It’s set amongst woodland in Dorset and it has 65 acres of sanctuary for over 250 primates. It was set up in 1987 by Jim Cronin to provide abused Spanish beach chimps with a permanent, stable home and now works in conjunction with foreign governments from all over the world to stop the illegal smuggling of apes out of Africa and Asia. At the park you can see over 250 primates of more than 20 different species – chimps; woolly monkeys, almost extinct in the wild; orangutans, ditto 🙁 ring-tailed lemurs; capuchins; gibbons….

Don’t think of this as mainly a day out with the kids. It is a great place to take kids but when we were there there were loads of adults without kids enjoying themselves too. A lot of them seemed very familiar with the animals’ names… they obviously watch Animal DSC_0206Planet too! Viewers of the TV series also get familiar with the staff. I guess long-standing animal keepers like Jeremy Keeling just get used to be waved and smiled at by loads of folk. Like me.

There’s a thriving trade in primates around the world, often babies whose mothers have been shot as bushmeat or just shot. Monkey World assists governments to stop this smuggling. At the Centre refugees of this illegal trade as well as those that have suffered abuse or neglect are rehabilitated into natural living groups. As far as is possible, the natural tree cover is retained so for example you’ll see the golden-cheeked gibbons swing through a stand of mature Scots Pines and the ring-tailed lemurs high-tail it up into big old oak trees.

Jim Cronin’s untimely death a few years ago hasn’t stopped the Centre from expanding and thriving…. as well as the animals, there are numerous cafes, a shop, and a fantastic Big Ape play space for Homo Sapiens and their kids!

See their website for more info: Monkey World (opens in new tab)