Marine biologist and professional diver Monty Halls is back in the Highlands and Islands of Scotland, living the good life and working as a volunteer wildlife ranger in the Outer Hebrides.
With all the research for walking trails and interpretation boards done, Monty has recruited graphic designer Richard Chyzy to help get the material published. He gives Richard until Christmas - three weeks away - to get everything ready, and sets out to raise enough money to pay for a big print run of the trail guides.
First, wildlife artist Steve Burgess visits to paint a stag in rut, agreeing to donate half the proceeds to Monty's ranger fund. Then, he boxes up his turkeys to be processed for the table - all proceeds again to the fund. Monty occupies the long winter nights by signing up for ceilidh lessons, and devotes the days to wildlife watching - migrating swans, and the elusive otter.
The highlight of Monty's island Christmas is the traditional dip in the sea, followed by Christmas dinner for friends. When the time comes for Monty to say goodbye to his pigs, there's a surprise: rather than send them for slaughter, he has decided to 'buy' their freedom, arranging for them to go to a city farm.
Monty wraps up his job on the islands by hammering in the ceremonial 'last post' on his walking trails. Then, after New Year's Eve celebrated with local friends, he's heartened to be told by the ranger committee that his work has highlighted the need for a permanent ranger. As a fitting climax, Monty's walks booklets and interpretation boards arrive just as he's boarding the ferry.
His final act is to fix one of the boards onboard so that visitors will see them as they sail to the islands. Then, he and Reuben wave farewell as they sail to the mainland and home.
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