Skip to main content Skip to footer site map

Arctic Diary: Tracking Wolves | July 10 | Camp’s Cook


The following day I woke at 1000 hrs despite not finishing filming until 0300 hrs.

My duties now were all about supporting the crew as much as they needed: filling the ATVs and generator with fuel; filling cooking stoves with fuel; putting hot water in the thermos flasks; water fetching; battery charging; tiding; making breakfasts, brews and dinners; ensuring everyone has their polar bear protection on them and that they know how to use it; and anything else concerning the safety side of things, of which there are daily considerations.

In short, chief bottle washer, cook and camp nag!

The crew was eager to get on with the filming and so during the next few days we made all sorts of plans and changed them according to what was working or appropriate, or not.

We moved a hide in to film the snowy owls on their nest. I saw some of the “rushes” which looked fantastic (apparently this term originates from when they used to get the film processed overnight and “rushed” back to the studio for people to watch).

We were all laughing because Mrs snowy owl – I think I’ll call her “Sally” – looked as though she was doing a sort of shake-your-bottom dance as she spread out all over the eggs to keep them safe and warm.

She’s obviously going to be a great mother, carefully rolling and tending to each one of her clutch of seven, in turn.

I took Jonny off to “show him the estate”, well eastward anyway, down to River 2, including the dreaded Jim’s Drift so that he knows where to cross the river if they are in hot pursuit of the wolves as they go out hunting.

The river itself has subsided a bit but is fed by a number of melt-water mountain rivers so will take a long time to diminish to a trickle like so many of the others, if indeed it does at all.

On occasion, the weather has been absolutely awful: dark skies with swirling, incessant wind and quite heavy rain – more of that 6cm annual average.

The rain fell as snow on the mountains just east of our encampment, reminding me of Scotland again.

We saw one wolf returning from hunting, all on his own. He was very anxious to find the others and was howling for them to come back. I’m reading in another book that their howls mean things and I’m sure this one was saying: “Where are the rest of you? Come home, I’m lonely!”

Mark managed to get some footage of it.