HIGHLANDS - 
SCOTLAND'S WILD HEART

ORIGINALLY BROADCAST:
BBC ONE SCOTLAND (BBC TWO NETWORK)
21:00 - 11TH MAY 2016 (5TH AUG 2016)

Scoured by ice and weathered by storms, the Scottish Highlands cover twenty thousand square miles of rugged coastline, lochs and mountains. On the face of it, it looks bleak and lifeless but wildlife is thriving in this unforgiving place. Ewan McGregor narrates this landmark series, giving a beautiful portrait of his homeland, following the wildlife and people of Scotland's Wild Heart.

#HIGHLANDS

 


 
 

“It’s incredibly beautiful and made me incredibly homesick”
— EWAN McGREGOR


episode 1: spring - season of extremes

Spring is the most unpredictable of all seasons in the Highlands. It’s all about timing. Red squirrels, osprey, roe deer and dippers make the most of this fleeting opportunity to raise a family. In the Caledonian pine forest, capercaillie perform a striking display to compete for breeding rights while, on the forest floor, a timberman beetle searches for a mate. In the Moray Firth, a pod of bottlenose dolphins gathers to feed on the spring run of salmon; it’s a bounty but only if they can swallow it.

EPISODE 2: summer - the greatest race

By midsummer, the sun rules here for nearly 18 hours a day. For the animals of the Highlands, it’s a race to raise their families before the nights close in and the autumn storms arrive. Golden eagles and Slavonian grebes work together in pairs while otters and pine martens are single mothers, hunting ceaselessly to feed their young. As summer draws to an end, the guillemot chicks of Handa Island face a death-defying leap as they tumble to the sea, fledging from 400-foot cliffs.

EPISODE 3: autumn and winter - against all odds

With the brief summer now passed, the animals of the Highlands are in for the long haul. Only the toughest will survive the Highlands’ darkest and most overwhelming season. Atlantic salmon return to spawn in the rivers in which they were born while on the Orkney island of Copinsay, grey seals haul onto the beaches to breed and give birth amid the winter storms. Reindeer, ptmarigan and mountain hare are well adapted to these extreme conditions but this turns out to be one of the snowiest winters in living memory, driving the animals of the Highlands to the absolute limit.

EPISODE 4: HIGHLANDERS

The Highlands may appear a wild and unforgiving place, but for millennia people have lived alongside wild animals here, sharing the same weather, seasons and landscapes. For many years, the impact of humans on the landscape has been damaging, with forests cut down, seas warming and many iconic species like the wolf and bear vanishing. But now things are changing and people are working to put back what we've lost. Humans are finding ways of protecting the Highlands' precious ospreys, eagles, red kites, seabirds and dolphins. Never before has so much work been done to restore the wild Highlands to its full glory.