Pigeons, pigeons, pigeons. I’ve spent my life purring over swallows, nuthatches, peregrine falcons but ignored the humble pigeon. I asked BBC Countryfile magazine to send me off to learn more. The result is an oddly moving tale of acrobatics, phenomenal stamina and some dark deeds: pigeon power
What else? Well it’s March, but if spring’s coming then winter’s certainly not yet going. One thing’s for sure though, it’s warming up in the Arctic. My recent in-depth feature for Geographical on the melting of the polar ice cap highlights some pretty unsettling scenarios. Coming soon, the first ice-free summer in around 8,000 years: Going…going…
Back south in Britain, my winter walks for the Daily Telegraph, highlighting the wonderful landscapes of the National Trust are still going strong. Here’s a stress-free stroll around the wetlands of Wicken Fen, perfect for frosty mornings or drinking in the late afternoon sun.
The Welsh valleys have had a tough time of it with the end of coal, but they may be on to something with their drive to use the sheer prettiness of the countryside to attract tourists. They’ve got a few A-list names to roll out too, as you can see on this Richard Burton walk I wrote for the Independent on Sunday.
Coming up…Look out for my features on County Durham in the Independent this Saturday, with a glorious hike along a coastline recovering from unimaginable environmental vandalism, and other walks looking at lovely Weardale, my favourite Pennine valley, and the waterfalls of High Force in Teesdale.
Elsewhere, I’m writing about why Europe is cosying up to Uzbekistan (in pursuit of its oodles of oil and gas) for the Petroleum Review, the world’s biggest protected wetlands in Bolivia for BBC Wildlife, and the horsemeat scandal for BBC Countryfile. My next dossier for Geographical is on child labour and the stuff I’ve already uncovered is making me very annoyed. You’ll have to wait a month or so to see it though.
I’ve an interesting project with Civil Service World, a magazine that takes an analytical look at the work of Whitehall. It’s independent and pretty surgical, makes me feel like I’m writing for the Economist. Anyhow, I’m writing a series of features on the civil service awards, which shine a light on the things Whitehall can do well. It’s introduced me to some seriously impressive people: read how the Department for International Development is helping pastoral farmers in east Africa tackle animal disease
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