It is hard to put into words how excited I am to be back in Scotland. As some of you may know, I spent 4 years of my life here studying at the University of St. Andrews and I must say, it was one of the best experiences and happiest times I can remember. It has been several years since I was back and the chance to be here during the beautiful summer and to work here, is a dream come true. The highlands are, in my opinion, one of the most fantastic places on earth. The lush forested hills and rolling mountains that contain every different hue of green that you can imagine, stretch out endlessly.
Farmland is everywhere and when the wind blows, it wafts across the fields causing the grass and wheat to dance in swirling waves. Shaggy brown highland cows dot the landscape and the small thin roads that wind through the countryside and alongside the lochs are a particular joy to drive on. Pubs with names like the Highlander and the Clansman are to be found in every town and there is always a small jug of fresh water on the bar for that mandatory glass of whiskey that must be ordered (in my opinion) at least once.
We are stationed in Inverness, on the northern end of Scotland, to film a documentary for Discovery Channel. Itâ€™s called Living Loch Ness and when they first called me about it I was a little skeptical. As an environmentalist and explorer, I wasnâ€™t sure what I could contribute to a program about Loch Ness. But, as we explored the story I realized that this show isnâ€™t trying to find Nessie or anything like that; instead, it is exploring the myth of the creature and applying scientific reasoning to explore why and how such a myth would continue to perpetuate itself in modern society. I realized that the show would be a great way to communicate the need for exploration in our modern day and age. We know so little about our planet and thus myths like the Loch Ness Monster continue to thrive in our popular psyche, precisely because we just donâ€™t know if they are real or not.
We have only explored a fraction of the oceans and water systems of this planet and while a creature like the Loch Ness Monster is unlikely (to say the least), its persistence underscores just how little we know about this planet; in fact, we know more about the surface of the moon than we do about the surface of Earth. That is the message I suggested be a central part of the story, in their usual fashion, Discovery was totally onboard with the wider message of exploration and so here I am.
Today was the first day of filming and the production crew is Waddell Media out of Ireland. So far the whole team has been brilliant to work with and I have a feeling that this is going to be an amazing shootâ€¦ of course, no matter what, two weeks in Scotland, one of my favorite places in the world can never be a bad thing.