Monty Hall’s Great Escape

Sunday night’s just won’t be the same now that Monty has returned to city life.

Monty Hall is a marine-biologist and professional diver and for the last five Sundays between 8 and 9 pm me and my hubby have really enjoyed watching his back-to-nature project called Monty Hall’s Great Escape.  This escape involved travelling to the West coast of Scotland and living a Highland Crofters life on a  beach for several months with the hills and mountains in the background.  Throughout the series, he lived in a run-down stone-built shed of some kind without the usual comforts such as mains services and convenience gadgets. He caught his own fish and grew his own vegetables.  He reared two pigs, kept a flock of sheep and tended to a bunch of (collective noun for chickens unknown) clucking chickens who kept him plentifully stocked in healthy, wholesome eggs for the duration.

Amongst other things, he sailed alongside dolphins, dived for scallops and searched for basking sharks.  And he had his beautiful dog, Reuben (affectionately known as Rubes) with him the whole time.

He only stayed there for the Spring/Summer months so he was hardly put to the test in any real and dramatic sense.  And he didn’t live off the land completely.  Nor did he live in total isolation because there were times when he got involved with the locals, taking part in their Highland Games and suchlike.  But still, it must have been a truly enriching experience.  It was certainly an excellent natural history series and a great insight into the challenges and fulfillment that come with living closer to nature.

I told my husband that I would love to opt out for a period of time and live off-grid and I got annoyed when I heard him snigger the words no chance. I got even more annoyed when he referred to my comfort zone and muttered something about wouldn’t survive a day, let alone a full season!   And then I really lost my temper when he patronisingly informed me that mackerel doesn’t jump out of the water, ready filleted, cleaned, smoked and prepared for the grill.

Oh, he didn’t stop there.  He said he’d love to be there to see me heaving at the sight of the freshly caught, slimey, squirting scallops that incidentally, I would never be capable of catching because I can’t even snorkel, let alone dive. Grrrr!!

Then he reminded me that I was a vegetarian and that although I would have no problems growing my own vegetables and even keeping my own hens, I  would certainly starve if I tried to live off eggs, turnips and potatoes for any length of time.  And if I didn’t quite starve, I would quickly become deficient in vital minerals and vitamins blah, blah – so the whole thing was written off before I’d even brushed the cob-webs off my back-pack.

But I refused to let all those minor details get in the way of my romantic plans of adventure and survival . . working and living with nature. You see folks, here’s the thing – although I am a vegetarian, I’m not naive.  I’m aware that there is a food chain and that once of a day, before we had our sterile lifestyles and our pre-packaged, off-the-shelf grocery produce, we had to catch our food . .  grow our food . .  rear our food.

I could do that!

If I had to.

I could.


6 responses to this post.

  1. Posted by Rory Brown on March 31, 2009 at 3:38 pm

    I also watched the series and it looked fabulous. But I have to agree with your husband that it was totally unrealistic & much more like a 6 month cottage holiday rather than a crofting experience off the grid.

    Last summer was also an incredible one in that part of the world with almost unbroken sunshine and near drought conditions. As someone who has visited the NW of Scotland regularly for the last 40 years I can assure you he was very lucky!



  2. Hello found your post searching for more info on the series as we watched the first recorded episode last night. Agree with the comments made but still a good piece of “If only…..” TV for an hour of R&R.


  3. Hi Rory, thanks for your visit. I agree with you. But I guess it was a good start for a beginner with little experience of what real nature, in full force, can throw at us. And like Gavin said, it made a good piece of TV.

    Hi Gavin, I’m sure you will enjoy the rest of the series.


  4. Hey EP, sorry but hubby is right in the sense that 99.9% of us couldn’t cope with returning to such conditions. I didn’t see the series but understand what you were referring to. And no, a vegetarian diet couldn’t be achieved in Scotland but of course you know that!


  5. See how the fellas take sides? Lol


    brood of chickens
    flock of chickens
    peep of chickens

    Love ya! X


  6. Matt, the conditions weren’t that harsh actually but even as it was, I agree that for most of us, it would be extremely hard. But hey, one day we may all be put to the test. Then it’s all about how much we want to survive.

    MissyL, hi hon. I know!! Men huh! Luv you too. xx


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