Behind the scenes: Week one on Shetland
Guest blogger: the office here at Autumnwatch Towers is a hive of activity today and we can't help but wonder what it's like at the other end of the UK in Shetland for Charlie Hamilton James and our remote team as they prepare for the first show.
Fortunately production coordinator Ellie Williams has been in touch...
Notes from a small island
It's week one of two months adventuring on the road and the remote crew are settling nicely into island life. As I write, I can see across a hilly bay with an old ruined croft on the other side of a small valley and sheep with tufty Shetland cheeks grazing outside the window. It's a quiet and beautifully bleak place.
The hilly bay view from our hilltop house.
Our arrival on Friday was via a stomach-losing descent in a mini plane through buffeting winds. The runway at Sumburgh begins at the sea and the waves were lashing over the rocks. The gusts reached 49mph that night and were properly blowing a hoolie through the remote old hilltop house we've made our base.
Lerwick (capital) has a very end-of-the-road Scandinavian port feeling: little huts and big bright boats. We were amazed that Dan and Tom our editors made it on the overnight ferry from Aberdeen (the longest and often roughest crossing in the UK) as the ferry the other way had been cancelled. They were soon set-up and editing away happily in the lounge, and their drives have been heating the whole house (which is a good thing as we're halfway to the Arctic).
The sitting room-cum-edit suite.
We've had a lucky week. The weather has been on our side - bright and clear when we've needed to film, and stormy when we've been all tucked up in the edit. Charlie has made friends with the local otters and comes back from each filming stint with a big smile and a new story to tell. It's quite something up here.
It's the first live show tonight. Everything is feeling remarkably calm (before the storm?). World-class satellite technician Chris has been fiddling with all kinds of cosmic gadgets in the sheep field next door so it feels like we're in good hands. We've actuallty moved the sheep so they don't chew through the cables!
Tomorrow we pack up and head off on the road again. Next stop the Cairngorms...
Come back next week for updates from the remote team when they hit the Cairngorms with Liz Bonnin.