Stalking Simon

After following the series ‘Inside Nature’s Giants’ and spotting Simon Watt in the cafe at breakfast (in a non-stalker way!), I was really looking forward to being amongst the lucky festival goers who would get to experience all the behind-the-scenes mishaps that never make the final cut.

Simon led us through an informed humorous journey from the fight between two Irish cities for the ownership of a beached fin whale to his own experiences of getting up close and personal with many a giraffe. His passion and enthusiasm for his work shone through in his engaging anecdotes, including himself having to give mouth-to-mouth resuscitation to a snake and being hit in the face with half a rat, and listening to what he described as a ‘fart symphony’ produced when releasing gas from a dead whale’s stomach!

Myself and the audience were not only thoroughly engaged by the mishaps that Simon and the team encountered whilst filming but the countless facts and theories that Simon relished relaying to us such as an average fin whale weighing 55 tonnes, having a heart the size of a small car and testicles weighing half a tonne each! *blushes*

On a serious note though however, Simon described cross-breeding of polar and grizzly bears to give the viable offspring Grolars. This throwing into question the morality of evolving a new species that is viable. I had always believed that creating a new species is exciting and diversifying, but never considered that conservation of the species we already have may be more important to ensure that they don’t meet a grizzly end.


Ashleigh Roythorne is studying for her PhD in Biochemistry/Immunology at Northumbria University and is attending the British Science festival this year in Aberdeen as part of the student bursary scheme.

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