Buses, Trains, Ferries and Automobiles: Bruce’s Homecoming. (By Harry Otter)


The Scottish Beaver Trial was at an end and with no likelihood of a quick decision from the Government on the beavers’ residents status, Bruce moved away from Knapdale to go and lobby MSPs at Holyrood. Luckily all his woodland friends had chipped in for his fare to Edinburgh. It had been great fun being the ‘face’ of the Scottish beavers but Bruce was aware that his 15 minutes of fame was over. Our roving reporter Harry Otter caught up with him on his return to Knapdale.

Must have been a bit of a shock Bruce, ending up in Edinburgh?

Well I got lucky Harry; I found a room in a place called Travel Lodge. I never expected to find one readymade; I assumed I’d have to build my own!

I have the same problem Bruce; holt-els in the city are few and far between.

The room did need a few modifications, but once I’d left the taps on for a while and got the entrance underwater and rearranged (well, gnawed) the furniture I felt a lot more comfortable.

How did you manage for meals Bruce? I’ve always found food difficult to come by in the city:  I got thrown out of a restaurant one night just because I took a wee swim in their fish-tank!  How did you cope?

By being discreet Harry, it helps being crepuscular. I got locked into the Botanic Gardens one night. Wow! I ate so much I couldn’t move for three days. After that I stuck to Barker King on the trunk road outside the hotel and branches of Woodworths.

Very wise, I’ve tried both Carpetland and Homebass recently, neither have been up to much.

So what was it like striding the corridors of power in Holyrood Bruce?

Lots of hanging around, getting lost and being scared Harry.

Never known you to be scared of anything Bruce, you’ve always stood up for all of the woodlanders’ rights.

True enough, but I never knew so many folk were unsure about us beavers being back, or just don’t know we even exist. There’s also this thing called climate change that lots of plants and animals just can’t cope with. Humans seem to spend so much time worrying about the little things that affect them personally that they can’t see all the big ones that affect us all.

True enough Bruce; but somehow we all have to learn to live together. Surely it wasn’t all that bad?

No, there are folk out there fighting our corner and when the decision came through that we could stay, well, what a night that was!

I know Bruce, I was there.

So you were Harry, memory’s a bit hazy – one too many Woody Creamsicles maybe? They’re made with birch sap you know.

Strong stuff that birch sap evidently Bruce.

The only problem next morning was getting home to spread the news. I wasn’t sorry to leave; the folk at the Travel Lodge had been a bit sniffy ever since they found the dam. I was charged for an awful lot of ‘extras’. They said I’d caused serious damage to the furniture. Funnily enough I heard the ‘damage’ word used a lot whilst I was sitting in meetings about our residency permit at Holyrood. Seems to me that humans are allowed to wipe out entire forests and we get moaned at for coppicing a few trees.  The upshot of it all Harry was that I was broke by the time I’d paid all the bills. I had to get back home somehow, so I decided to hitch. I drew ‘Knapdale’ on a piece of cardboard and stuck out the old opposable digit. Did I tell you we beavers have those?

I think you might have done Bruce.

Well this cardboard thing works pretty well even If I’m not quite the right shape to sit in a car, or a train. It still took an awful long time to get here but the two ferry trips were great.

ferryYou don’t need to get a ferry to get here from Edinburgh Bruce, and how on earth did you manage to hitch a ride on a ferry, and a train?

Seems the CalMac Ferry captain was a bit of a fan Harry, took pity on me hitching in the rain. I got to go on the bridge! Never managed to get my teeth into the wheel, but you can’t have everything. Besides Coll’s a nice place, not many trees, but nice.

And the train….?


Ah well, that storm we had over Christmas; Barbara ….. Knew a girl called Barbara once, lovely teeth…… Anyway, I was hitching next to the branch line when this enormous tree came down. The folk at Scotrail were so grateful to me for clearing it they took me all the way to Oban, and as a bonus I had some nice twigs to keep me going for the rest of the journey. From there I was just a bus ride and a short spin in a car from home.


Unbelievable Bruce. So now you’re home, what are your plans?

Well, inward migration Harry. The beaver population in Knapdale could do with a bit of a boost so we’re lobbying to get a few young couples over here and set up home. Loads of potential:  Great construction opportunities, prime riparian sites, friendly locals, fresh food, Knapdale’s got it all.

And I believe you have a new job as well?

Yes Harry, I’m really excited to be working with the Heart Of Argyll Wildlife Organisation. They’re going to tell everyone about us Harry, and that’s all of us, from adders to warblers. We don’t have much wildlife starting with z here, yet. Don’t forget to tell everyone they can find us at http://www.heartofargyllwildlife.org. We’re on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram as well!

Are you trying to put me out of a job Bruce? I don’t know what the Riverbank News would do without you!





Blog in progress……


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