Portfolio

My work includes feature writing, news stories, radio programmes and packages, radio interviews and contributing to TV productions.

LAND AND OUTDOORS

Everyone’s doing the North Coast 500 – including me. In sumemr 2017 took a look at the economic and social impact of the route that’s caught on massively among tourists both from the UK and abroad for the Herald magazine in a two-part study, part I here and part II here.

Scotland’s beavers will officially become a native species – the first large herbivore reintroduction to do so – in 2017, despite the main population of up to 300 in the Tay catchment being the result of illegal reintroduction or escapes.  In May 2017 The Herald magazine published my study of the problems and opportunities around them – Gnaw Deal 

Community land buyouts are going to be news for some time in Scotland, with £40m Government cash heading their way, and it’s a topic I am learning a great deal about and making some good connections with. I got a good show in the Sunday Herald in October 2016 with the latest figures and developments in the land reform world  …The New Land Rush, and have since written about the Wanlockhead buyout for The National.

In August 2016 my article on the 20th anniversary of the launch of the Eigg community buyout was published: Future Island.

These Herald magazine pieces are the latest in a string of articles on outdoors and environmental issues for the Glasgow-based newspaper supplement.

I started in 2009 with a study of deer management on the vast Glenfeshie estate: Zero Tolerance.

Other features included a look at how invasive rhododendrons had been cleared from the Knoydart peninsula: Highland Chainsaw massacre I have since investigated the rhododendron invasion further for the Sunday Herald and Scottish Wildlife Trust magazine – it is a huge and worrying problem.

I detailed plans for Scotland first gold mine of the modern era, at Tyndrum: Highland Gold Rush.

I linked up with the SAS – Surfers Against Sewage – to look at their campaigning, centring on a drive to clean up Pease Bay in East Lothian. Surfers against sewage.

I  also wrote about salmon farming, Salmon Farming: Your money or your sealife? the problems of the Assynt Foundation community land buyout, Empty Promises, and the 10th anniversary of the Loch Lomond and the Trossachs National Park The Park versus The People?

In  2009 I stumbled across a piece of the living social history, and wrote about it for the Herald Magazine Kings Of The Road. The men I wrote about then have become good friends.

After that I was fascinated by the outdoors movement of the 1930s that gave birth to the world of outdoor pursuits we now know, and went on to document the life of the Craigallian Fire and its great legacy. The Men Who Made The Outdoors Great

I wrote about the nearby historic Carbeth Huts and the successful bid of the tenants to buy the land on which they stand.

I regularly write for the Scottish Wildlife Trust magazine. The isle of Eigg, where the Trust helps manage the landscape, has become a favourite since this visit: Eigg, wildlife island  Other topics covered for SWT include basking sharks and deer management.

I keep up the outdoors flavour with travel writing. This piece about the wonderful Comrie Croft mountain biking centre was for the Herald magazine. Mountain bike heaven: Comrie Croft

I have written for Scotland Outdoors magazine on topics including the problems of visitor numbers on Ben Nevis. Ben Nevis, the Highlands’ biggest visitor attraction

BROADCAST

I’m an experienced radio producer and continue to work in broadcast media.

I’ve done a bit more radio recently ((Aug/Sept 2017), this for BBC Radio Scotland on basking sharks:

… this for Radio Scotland on the plans for a community buyout of the island of Ulva:

… and this on the coming new laws on beaver protection for BBC Radio 4’s Farming Today, and Radio Scotland:

 

Fiv e years ago I made a radio documentary for BBC Radio Scotland about the Ardroy outdoor education centre’s revival as a social enterprise, Saving Ardroy, and wrote about making the programme here, Ardroy BBC feature

In 2016 I revisited my friends there and reported on it for Radio Scotland’s Good Morning Scotland programme below

I had earlier made a short documentary about Lyme Disease for BBC Radio Scotland.

In 2015 I joined a unique archaeological dig to investigate the mystery of Scotland’s vitrified hill-forts, and reported on it for BBC Radio Scotland’s Newsdrive programme.

In August 2016, I made another tape on the dig, this time for BBC Radio Scotland’s Out for the weekend programme, on which I have previously guested.

In 2016 BBC 1 in Scotland showed the two-part television documentary Lady Lairds, about women breaking the mould and running large estates in the Scottish Highlands. I helped develop this idea with production company Friel Kean and carried out the research to set it up. You can see clips from the programmes here: Lady Lairds clips

I also developed the idea for Friel Keane’s one-off documentary The Foodbank, shown on BBC1 in 2015.

COMMUNITIES INVOLVEMENT

A recent feature was a bit of a departure and stemmed from my involvement in my local community: Hammer Time: Scotland’s men’s shed movement

For six months I wrote a blog about the food bank where I have volunteered for the Herald website: Tales From The Food Bank

In pevious years I have spent Christmas Days helping serve lunches at the food bank, and wrote about it for the Sunday Herald: Christmas Day in the Foodbank