24th May 2018
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Countryfile goes otter tracking in Fetlar

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Countryfile has been to Shetland – the makers behind the BBC series covering rural issues were filming in the isles last week for an episode due to air this month.

The show’s presenters were on hand to learn more about the farming of Shetland’s native livestock breeds, and hear about wildlife in Fetlar.

While there the cameras filmed Shetland Nature tour leader, Brydon Thomason, as he busily set about tracking otters.

Mr Thomason told Ellie Harrison about his experiences growing up in Fetlar, and his enthusiasm for Shetland’s wildlife.

Brydon Thomason of Shetland Nature (left) and Malcie Smith (right) of the RSPB with BBC Countryfile’s Ellie Harrison in Fetlar.

Brydon Thomason of Shetland Nature (left) and Malcie Smith (right) of the RSPB with BBC Countryfile’s Ellie Harrison in Fetlar.

Also of interest for producers was a project which followed the red-necked phalarope.

Last year RSPB officers fitted geo locating chips to six of  the birds that breed on the island.

This year they have managed to capture one of the birds to retrieve the data. It is hoped the information will reveal where Fetlar’s birds – which account for over 90 per cent of the UK population of the charismatic wading bird – spend their winter.

Ms Harrison also learned how to play the traditional board game hnefatafl, and lent a hand harvesting seaweed.

Mr Thomason said: “I was thrilled and proud to be asked to be part of this, even if more than a little nervous on screen. Our day filming on Fetlar could not have gone much better, with blue skies and some great sightings”.

Blue skies were not something farmer Ronnie Eunson enjoyed, however. The rain was falling down in “a day of distress” as he was followed by the cameras.

The chairman of Shetland Livestock Marketing Group, who farms at Uradale in East Voe, was showing the native sheep to the cameras and explaining the various qualities of Shetland oo.

Mr Eunson also explained about the role of the abattoir, and described the after-effects of last year’s devastating landslides.

The farmer and his family came close to being washed away when part of the hill behind their house was carried off following heavy rain last August – flooding their house and sweeping vehicles and an old croft house with it. More in this week’s newspaper.

About Ryan Taylor

Ryan Taylor has worked as a reporter since 1995, and has been at The Shetland Times since 2007, covering a wide variety of news topics. Before then he reported for other newspapers in the Highlands, where he was raised, and in Fife, where he began his career with DC Thomson. He also has experience in broadcast journalism with Grampian Television. He has lived in Shetland since 2002, where he harbours an unhealthy interest in old cars and motorbikes.

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