Episodes

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2018061620190105 (RS)

We visit Westray. The sixth largest of the Orkney Islands with a population of around 600, also known as The Queen o' the Isles.

Mark and Euan meet the Church of Scotland minister Iain MacDonald who has made Westray his home along with the nearby island of Papay. He loves the sense of community which makes things like the community garden possible. Mark takes a look at what they're growing.

And Euan takes a tour of Westray Processors who handle crab caught off the island for local consumption as well as export.

Andy and Karen Penn run Westraak tours taking mini-buses of tourists round the landmarks of the island. Mark and Euan accompany them up to Noup Head, one of the best places to spot seabirds on the island.

We meet farmer turned artist Edwin Rendall who keeps beef cattle as well as running an art gallery on his 250 acre farm. Farming is still one of the main occupations on Westray and Jason and Nina Wilson keep dairy cows and produce award winning cheese from their milk. All from their farm and dairy looking across to Noltland Castle.

Like a lot of Orkney, Westray is home to important Neolithic remains. Hazel Moore is an archaeologist who lives on the island. She shows Mark around the Links of Noltland site, a brilliantly preserved farming settlement dating from about 3000 BC.

The Westray Heritage Centre is home to one of the island's most famous residents, the Westray Wife. Nancy Scott tells Mark and Euan more about her.

Isobel Thompson shows Euan around the Westray Bargain Box and taxi driver come airport ground crew Graham Maben tells us more about life on the island as we depart for our next destination, the neighbouring island of Papa-Westray.

Mark Stephen and Euan McIlwraith visit the island of Westray in Orkney.

Exploring the great Scottish outdoors

20181222

Mark visits Scottish Natural Heritage’s Loch Fleet reserve near Golspie in the Highlands for a winter wander.

Laura Cuthill tries her hand at making a Christmas Wreath with Sharon the Florist from Edzell. Mark and Euan also have a go live on air.

Friday 21st December 2018 is the shortest day, the Winter Solstice. Euan delves into folklore to find out about the importance of the solstice.

Polly Pullar is a renowned field naturalist, wildlife rehabilitator, writer, journalist and photographer. Back in the summer Polly took Mark for a tour around Ardnamurchan, the area she grew up in, and told him all about how her love of nature and wildlife developed.

You either love them or hate them: Brussel Sprouts. The small green brassica is a mainstay of the Christmas dinner but Euan discovers that one Aberdeenshire company has come up with a very different way to use them.

Best known as one of Scotland’s top folk musicians, Phil Cunningham has been playing the accordion since he was a teenager. Less well known is his passion for recording nature and taking time away from his busy schedule to sit in the peace and quiet of the outdoors. Euan chats to him about what it means to get away from it all and we hear one of Phil’s soundscapes.

Euan McIlwraith and Laura Cuthill with a festive Out of Doors

Exploring the great Scottish outdoors

20190126

Mark Stephen and Euan McIlwraith with the latest outdoor activities.

Exploring the great Scottish outdoors

20190202

Mark Stephen and Euan McIlwraith with the latest outdoor activities.

Exploring the great Scottish outdoors

A trip to Galloway20190330

Mark Stephen and Euan McIlwraith visit Dumfries and Galloway. They find out the history behind Belted Galloways, the cattle synonomous with the area; take a trip through Kirkcudbright on an electric bike, and meet a couple of Russian Orthodox priests who are restoring a castle in the area and running a printing press. They visit Scotland's first Dark Skies park and a willow sculptor whose work has featured in Outlander. Threave Garden is also on their itinerary, not just the garden itself but the bats and osprey who make a home there

Mark Stephen and Euan McIlwraith visit the Dumfries and Galloway region.

Exploring the great Scottish outdoors

A Westray Special2018061620190105 (RS)

We visit Westray. The sixth largest of the Orkney Islands with a population of around 600, also known as The Queen o' the Isles.

Mark and Euan meet the Church of Scotland minister Iain MacDonald who has made Westray his home along with the nearby island of Papay. He loves the sense of community which makes things like the community garden possible. Mark takes a look at what they're growing.

And Euan takes a tour of Westray Processors who handle crab caught off the island for local consumption as well as export.

Andy and Karen Penn run Westraak tours taking mini-buses of tourists round the landmarks of the island. Mark and Euan accompany them up to Noup Head, one of the best places to spot seabirds on the island.

We meet farmer turned artist Edwin Rendall who keeps beef cattle as well as running an art gallery on his 250 acre farm. Farming is still one of the main occupations on Westray and Jason and Nina Wilson keep dairy cows and produce award winning cheese from their milk. All from their farm and dairy looking across to Noltland Castle.

Like a lot of Orkney, Westray is home to important Neolithic remains. Hazel Moore is an archaeologist who lives on the island. She shows Mark around the Links of Noltland site, a brilliantly preserved farming settlement dating from about 3000 BC.

The Westray Heritage Centre is home to one of the island's most famous residents, the Westray Wife. Nancy Scott tells Mark and Euan more about her.

Isobel Thompson shows Euan around the Westray Bargain Box and taxi driver come airport ground crew Graham Maben tells us more about life on the island as we depart for our next destination, the neighbouring island of Papa-Westray.

Mark Stephen and Euan McIlwraith visit the island of Westray in Orkney.

Exploring the great Scottish outdoors

Birch water, Aspen and Adders20190316

It’s a constantly changing political landscape at the moment. Earlier this week Euan caught up with NFUS director of policy Jonnie Hall and James Withers, chief executive of Scotland Food and Drink to get their take on what impact a Brexit delay or a no deal Brexit would have on food and farming in Scotland.

Euan finds out about the benefits of Joint Venture Farming. The scheme allows young people to start or develop a farming business while also allowing an existing farmer to work with them while reducing their day to day role on the farm.

Mark visits Drumpellier Country Park which is part of the larger Seven Lochs Wetland Park. At almost 17 square kilometres it’s Scotland’s largest urban heritage and nature park.

Joyce Campbell is co-chair of the Women in Agriculture taskforce for Scotland but she still works on her family farm Armadale up in Sutherland. Euan speaks to her about balancing her busy life.

Birch water can only be tapped from the trees during one roughly three-week period in early to mid-March. Mark meets a husband and wife team who are the only producers of Birch water in Scotland and hears about the health benefits of the water.

Aspen trees at Scottish Natural Heritage’s Muir of Dinnet reserve in Aberdeenshire are in flower and it’s an unusual sight. The last time there was a major flowering of aspen in Scotland was in 1996. Euan goes to find out more and tells us about their place in folklore.

Mark meets the Tulloch Man, a naked Pictish warrior carved onto a large stone which was discovered by contractors working on the A9 upgrade on the outskirts of Perth. He’s now been given a home at Perth Museum and Art Gallery.

Coastal rowing is growing in popularity around the seaside towns of Scotland. Mark takes to the water off Nairn with the Ardersier and Nairn Boat Club to find out what the appeal is.

With the mild weather recently adders have been spotted on the Muir of Dinnet nature reserve. Euan sees if he can track any down.

Mark Stephen and Euan McIlwraith with the latest outdoor activities.

Exploring the great Scottish outdoors

Birds, trees and motorbikes20181208

Farming is one of the most dangerous occupations in Scotland but often it’s a very simple step or change that could prevent tragedy. NFU Scotland are behind a campaign to remind farmers to wear helmets when using quad bikes. Euan finds out more.

How damaging is livestock to our environment? Mark visits a SRUC project that is measuring the methane output of cattle to see what changes can be made to reduce emissions.

Scotland’s hills and mountains can be dangerous places, even for experience walkers and climbers. Euan speaks to Stuart Johnstone, leader of the Tayside Mountain Rescue Team about the process and techniques they use to rescue people who find themselves in difficulty.

Mark visits the Scottish Society for the Protection of Animals’ national wildlife rescue centre at Fishcross. He finds out what kind of animals they help as well as why they expect to receive over 100 grey seal pups over the autumn and winter.

Euan hears about a new code issued by the Mountaineering Council for Scotland to prevent conflict between downhill skiers and ski tourers.

Have you spotted a ring-necked parakeet recently? Euan finds out if the invasive species is making Scotland its home.

Woodland Trust Scotland catalogued their fifteenth thousandth tree this week. Euan went along to find out why recording trees is so important.

Scotland is a popular destination for motorcyclists, we know this from our travels over the years. But until recently there was no guidebook available specifically for those taking to the roads on bikes. Mark meets a man putting that right.

Mark Stephen and Euan McIlwraith with the latest outdoor activities.

Exploring the great Scottish outdoors

Cairngorm, skiing and seals20181201

Mark brings us the latest from Scotland’s Biennial Land Use and Environment Conference. More than 180 delegates met in Edinburgh this week for the twelfth staging of the event, which was this year entitled Rewarding the Delivery of Public Goods: How to Achieve this in Practice?

Euan joins farmer Sandy Tulloch as he takes some of his cattle to Thainstone Mart and hopes he gets a good price.

The iron age hillfort of Dun Deardail lies in Glen Nevis and until recently there’s been an air of mystery surrounding it. Mark finds out about excavations earlier this year that revealed more about the site.

We have the latest on the news that Cairngorm Mountain Ltd, operators of the Cairngorm Funicular Railway have gone into administration. Mark and Euan hear from those in the Aviemore area who depend on skiing for their livelihood as well as Highlands and Islands Enterprise who own the mountain. We also speak to the Aviemore and Glenmore Trust about their plans for the future regarding a community buyout of the land.

Mark visits the Scottish Society for the Protection of Animals’ national wildlife rescue centre at Fishcross. He finds out what kind of animals they help as well as why they expect to receive over 100 grey seal pups over the autumn and winter.

The Lecht Ski Centre expects to be open for business this weekend and owner James McIntosh chats to Euan about his hopes for a successful season, his last in charge.

Sir John Lister Kaye was awarded the RSPB Lifetime Achievement Award at the Nature of Scotland awards last week. Mark and Euan recorded with him at his Aigas Estate back in 2015 and we hear a wee excerpt from that programme.

Mark Stephen and Euan McIlwraith with the latest outdoor activities.

Exploring the great Scottish outdoors

Cairngorms, Ayrshire and Camera Traps20190119

Euan looks back on the last five years of conservation work in the Cairngorms National Park as they take stock and prepare to look ahead to the next five years. He hears what their priorities will be in terms of species and habitat.

Mark catches up with farm manager Chris Leslie who went on a trip to New Zealand at the end of last year. They speak about the practical and cultural differences in agriculture between Scotland and New Zealand.

A capercaillie at Glen Tanar Estate in Deeside is displaying "lekking" behaviour out of season this year. Euan finds out more.

Moray Waste Busters is a charity which aims to cut down on reusable items being put into landfill. Since they started in 2002 they’ve grown into a huge success as Mark finds out more when he goes to see what treasures he can find.

For years now there have been discussions about a Borders National Park. Euan hears the latest on the long running campaign.

Mark catches up with the team behind The Ayrshire Coastal Path, a 100 mile route from Glenapp to Skelmorlie after they had a busy 2018.

Euan gets some camera trap tips from Saving Scotland’s Red Squirrels to try and capture some footage in the Beechgrove car park.

More soundscapes sent in by our listeners.

Mark Stephen and Euan McIlwraith with the latest outdoor activities.

Exploring the great Scottish outdoors

Deeside, Mountain Bikes and Swans20181215

Euan catches up with David Frew at the National Trust for Scotland’s Mar Lodge.

Mark finds out about the ongoing Amnesty of Tenants’ Improvements which was launched in 2017 as a result of the Land Reform Act (Scotland) 2016. It allows tenant farmers to rectify any outstanding issues around past improvements they’ve carried out.

A study into the impact of a reindeer herd in the Cairngorms is underway and Euan hears about how it’s being carried out.

Developing Mountain Biking in Scotland recently held their biennial conference in Aviemore. Mark caught up with some of the team down at Glentress to hear what their plans for the future of the sport are.

The Duke of Rothesay Highland Games Pavilion is a brand new building in Braemar although at a glance it looks convincingly Victorian. Euan has a look around and finds out all about the pavilion and the Braemar Gathering.

Just a stone’s throw away from the A96 near Inverurie, there’s a place called Pitscurry. Mark went for a visit to find out all about it and its red squirrels.

Storm Frank caused huge damage along Deeside back at the start of 2016. Many of the Victorian suspension footbridges were severely damaged and one, Polhollick footbridge has only just reopened as Euan finds out.

Mark and Euan learn all about Whooper Swans and why there might be so many of them around at the moment.

Mark Stephen and Euan McIlwraith with the latest outdoor activities.

Exploring the great Scottish outdoors

Trees for Life, Ghost Signs and Glencoe20190323

Trees for Life is about restoring the globally important Caledonian Forest and its wildlife. Mark gets an update on their Skills for Rewilding programme as it begins its second year and currently recruiting new trainees. Paul Greaves, Skills for Rewilding Training Programme Manager based in Glenmoriston tells Mark what these traineeships will offer the new applicants.

Euan attends the Scottish Rural Awards, the event that celebrates all that is great about Scotland's countryside.

We discover the properties of Chaga Fungus from Rob and Gabrielle from Birken Tree.

Mink were brought to Scotland as part of the fur industry in the 1930s. But they aren’t native to here and their escape and deliberate release has put native species at risk. Euan finds out about the work being carried out by The Scottish Invasive Species Initiative to tackle the problem of mink.

Opened almost 200 years ago, the Caledonian Canal runs between Inverness and Fort William. A stretch at Fort Augustus has been emptied of water so that lock gates can be replaced. Mark gets a chance to see this inside this feat of engineering

We’ve all heard spooky sounds late at night, but what makes the sometimes ghostly noises? Euan investigates.

Glencoe is easily Scotland’s most famous glen and a must see for many tourists. The visitor centre there has just had a major refurbishment. Mark finds out about the new centre now known as ‘Gateway to the Glen’ as well as everything the area has to offer.

Ghost signs, are the fading remains of old painted signs on buildings which provide an invaluable insight into Glasgow’s architectural, social and cultural history. Mark finds out from Glasgow City Heritage Trust about their new initiative to uncover these signs and is shown some of the signs already discovered.

Helen Needham is in Maryculter Community Woods finding out how the former commercial forest has changed and taking a look at a new sculpture.

Mark Stephen and Euan McIlwraith with the latest outdoor activities.

Exploring the great Scottish outdoors

Trees for Life, Ghost Signs and Glencoe2019032320190324 (RS)

Trees for Life is about restoring the globally important Caledonian Forest and its wildlife. Mark gets an update on their Skills for Rewilding programme as it begins its second year and currently recruiting new trainees. Paul Greaves, Skills for Rewilding Training Programme Manager based in Glenmoriston tells Mark what these traineeships will offer the new applicants.

Euan attends the Scottish Rural Awards, the event that celebrates all that is great about Scotland's countryside.

We discover the properties of Chaga Fungus from Rob and Gabrielle from Birken Tree.

Mink were brought to Scotland as part of the fur industry in the 1930s. But they aren’t native to here and their escape and deliberate release has put native species at risk. Euan finds out about the work being carried out by The Scottish Invasive Species Initiative to tackle the problem of mink.

Opened almost 200 years ago, the Caledonian Canal runs between Inverness and Fort William. A stretch at Fort Augustus has been emptied of water so that lock gates can be replaced. Mark gets a chance to see this inside this feat of engineering

We’ve all heard spooky sounds late at night, but what makes the sometimes ghostly noises? Euan investigates.

Glencoe is easily Scotland’s most famous glen and a must see for many tourists. The visitor centre there has just had a major refurbishment. Mark finds out about the new centre now known as ‘Gateway to the Glen’ as well as everything the area has to offer.

Ghost signs, are the fading remains of old painted signs on buildings which provide an invaluable insight into Glasgow’s architectural, social and cultural history. Mark finds out from Glasgow City Heritage Trust about their new initiative to uncover these signs and is shown some of the signs already discovered.

Helen Needham is in Maryculter Community Woods finding out how the former commercial forest has changed and taking a look at a new sculpture.

Mark Stephen and Euan McIlwraith with the latest outdoor activities.

Exploring the great Scottish outdoors