Calm Before The Storm

After 1145 hours of travelling, researching, writing and proofreading (yes I counted), I’m thrilled to announce that I’ve submitted my book!

I could have tinkered and tweaked until the end of time so I’m relieved it’s finally out of my hands. It’ll now be edited by the fab team at Bradt and after I’ve answered all the queries and questions it’ll be published in April. There’s still a way to go but I’m so proud of myself for reaching this milestone. I started working on this book almost three years ago and I’m so excited for everyone to see it.

Last month I managed to squeeze in a trip to the west coast to see the red deer rut. Stags wait for no deadline! For four days I fell asleep to the sound of bellowing and it was the perfect calm before the book submission storm.

The deer were mostly up in the hills this year, but I did find a small herd beside the road. It was perfect, as I could stay in my car and take photos through the open window. The stag and his hinds foraged and rested just a few metres away, and it was a privilege to watch their natural behaviour.

However, the highlight of this particular trip was an otter that dropped by several times each day. Otters have been my nemesis animal for years, so it was fantastic to finally get some decent views. One morning I spent hours looking through my scope, hoping to spot it taking one of the loch’s huge crabs onto a kelp island to munch, but everything was still. The moment I sat down to a bowl of soup, a dark flick caught my eye and I saw the otter swimming straight towards the cabin..

Soup forgotten, I lunged into coat and shoes and crept outside. The otter was eating on the rocks right beneath the decking. It glanced up at me but continued its meal, chewing noisily. It was one of those encounters that’s so special I start shaking, but luckily I managed to keep my camera still.

And for the feathery cherry on the heathery cake, a white tailed eagle soared overhead on the last day. I can never be sure what I’m going to see on the west coast and this trip was a triumph.

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