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Cairngorms to feature in a new TV series in all their snowy glory


By Gavin Musgrove

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Aviemore-based mountain expert and cameraman Kirk Watson taking a selfie with Andrew O’Donnell and Mark Taylor in the Cairngorms.
Aviemore-based mountain expert and cameraman Kirk Watson taking a selfie with Andrew O’Donnell and Mark Taylor in the Cairngorms.

Friends Mark Taylor and Andrew O’Donnell have become a bit of a cult hit on TV with their new series called Roaming in the Wild.

And this new series, on the BBC Scotland channel, is due to feature an episode dedicated to the Cairngorms.

The pair will be seen going on a winter adventure in the heart of the Cairngorms in the fourth episode of this new series.

The duo have already been acclaimed as the Jack and Victor of travel adventure and the new ‘Mortimer and Whitehouse’ whose series Gone Fishing has recently been so popular with viewers.

A first series of Roaming in the Wild on the BBC Scotland channel was also warmly welcomed by viewers who enjoyed its relaxing pace and the genuine and easy friendship between Mark and Andrew.

It provides an offbeat take on going off-grid and simply enjoying the experience, walking, camping and canoeing.

The series grew out of short online pieces O'Donnell made for BBC Scotland’s The Social, first aired in 2016.

Then there was a pilot which took the duo down the Forth river and for the first series of three episodes they travelled across Rannoch Moor, Lochaber, and from John O’Groats to Cape Wrath.

Now with this new series, the number of episodes has been doubled to six.

But the episode on the Cairngorms promises to be the most spectacular yet in the show.

As O'Donnell notes: “It’s a place we want to explore in a different way from before.”

So instead of tents, the duo go for a very different accommodation solution and attempt to spend three nights in a snow hole.

This requires expert guidance so friend, mountain rescue man and outdoors expert Kirk Watson comes along for the ride. It's a ski touring trip to remember for years to come with some breath-taking views.

Their trip begins with a walk through the pine trees in the glen but when they are up at the snowline, it is a truly wonderful winter wonderland that awaits them with views that are “absolutely banging, to put it bluntly” as O'Donnell observes.

Amid all that there is amazing music, amusing banter and skiing.

Head of BBC Scotland Multiplatform Productions Anthony Browne said: “Roaming in the Wild has been a great story for BBC Scotland.

"Since 2016, Andrew has been a regular on BBC The Social creating some off-beat natural history stories which have really connected with our audiences.

"It’s brilliant to see how we’ve been able to develop and work with Andrew and Mark to produce this beautiful series for the BBC Scotland channel.

"Andrew does a huge amount of work on the series, from filming to soundtrack and his love of nature comes through in every episode, I never fail to have a smile on my face when I watch them in action”

Roaming in the Wild is largely filmed, produced and edited by the duo, with O'Connell also providing the music as Beluga Lagoon.

He said: “We both grew up in Lennoxtown, by the Campsie hills. Mark and I met at our babysitters when we were kids and then later, just by coincidence, went on to work in the same country house hotel.

“Mark now helps me run a wildlife production company. Our adventures started when we were filming wildlife and were forced to live in remote locations whilst trying to film our subjects.”

Taylor commented: “Roaming in the Wild has been the perfect excuse to get out and about in amongst some of the wonderous and distinctive landscapes this country has to offer.

“By attempting to navigate across these environments through ever changing ways and means leaves you with a unique experience and perspective each time.

“And it’s good for your head. You can’t be weighed down by the regular trivialities of life when all the superficial distractions are taken away and all you’re concerned about is the blisters on your hands and what’s for dinner.

“To be able to take on these adventures with your pal, an experienced outdoorsman like Andrew, who’s always got your back and keeps this enthusiastic amateur right is the bonus any would be wanderer craves.”

The first episode of the new series went out on September 23 and is available to watch on BBC iPlayer, as are all episodes which have previously aired. Locations featured in previous episodes include the River Kelvin, the Borders and Assynt.

Roaming in the Wild, featuring the Cairngorms, is on the BBC Scotland at 8pm on Thursday October 14.


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