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Chris & Meg’s Wild Summer: North-East Coast (S1EP4 BBC Two Sun 19 Sep 2021)

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North-East Coast: Chris Packham and stepdaughter Megan McCubbin continue their wildlife-watching road trip round Britain, this time exploring the coast of the North East and Scottish borders.

Megan surprises Chris with a trip to the Baltic Centre for Contemporary Art in Gateshead – not to admire some art but to see a colony of kittiwakes, the furthest inland nesting site in the world. Kittiwakes usually nest on cliff edges and rock faces, so it’s rare for them to nest in an urban landscape like this. Chris notes their well-curved claws, perfect for gripping firmly on the ledges.

Next Chris and Meg head off in search of another coastal creature – and this will involve getting wet! The Northumberland coast is one of the most important areas in Europe for the Atlantic grey seal and they spend most of their time out at sea feeding on fish. Reluctantly, Chris dons his wetsuit and snorkel to brave the cold North Sea for a snorkelling adventure with Megs. The grey seals are full of curiosity as they swim around the pair giving them an unforgettable experience.

The next morning, Chris and Megs head north to the unique tidal island of Lindisfarne, renowned for its ancient Priory. No seaside trip would be complete without some rockpooling, and these ones don’t disappoint. Spotting a shore crab, hermit crabs, limpets and a sea star (formerly known as a starfish or is it fish star?!) the pair round off their day, with a sip of mead from the monastery and get on to planning their next stop.

Continuing north and over the Scottish border, Chris and Megs revisit an old haunt and one of their favourite places, the extraordinary Bass Rock. Resembling a floating iceberg from afar, it’s home to the worlds largest colony of Northern gannets. This sanctuary, hosts over 150,000 of them during peak breeding season.

The pair last visited the rock 17 years ago when Chris brought Meg along on a filming trip, and they were as competitive back then as they are now, especially when their cameras come out. The abundance of gannets (way more than last time) feels reassuring especially when so many species are in decline.

Chris and Megs reflect on their visit and compare photographs, which leads to some heartfelt discussion about their very special father-stepdaughter relationship. Chris declares it was a very fortunate surprise to become involved in Meg’s life. While firmly declaring his gannet photograph as the winner, of course!

Airdate: Sun 19 Sep 2021 at 20:30 on BBC Two

Season 1 Episode 4

Wildlife presenters Chris Packham and stepdaughter Megan McCubbin go on a road trip with amazing animal encounters, stunning landscapes and time to reflect on their relationship.