No wonder ITV has decided to get as deep into the wilderness as the British Isles will allow. The final episode of the six-part Wilderness Walks with Ray Mears took us to the spectacular Isle of Skye, off the west coast of Scotland. It was the inspiration we all needed to escape the sprouts fart-smell of post-Christmas torpor and get out for a bracing New Year's hike and some much needed fresh air.
The magic began before Mears even set foot on Skye, on the turntable ferry from Glenelg, which is apparently skippered by a sheep dog. The clever canine was responsible for mooring the ferry with rope clenched between its teeth. Then, during the crossing, Mears caught a glimpse of a seal (the first of many) and, more excitingly, of Britain's largest bird of prey, the white-tailed eagle, attempting to bully a seagull into handing over its dinner. "Wow, look at that!" enthused Mears "This is as good as anything you'd see on the Serengeti."
In truth, Mears' presenting talents don't extent to lyrical descriptions of the landscape, but if you want poetry, read Wordsworth. Mears' gift is to share his knowledge with infectious enthusiasm and admirable tenacity. Who else would spend four hours crouched on a windswept cliff face, hoping to catch a glimpse of the elusive otter?