Deepest apologies for quiet from me: website attacks and Covid combined


How wonderful to be able to write to you once again.

There have been a few things that have got in the way of writing over the last few weeks.

Firstly, the website has been attacked! As regular readers would be aware, this is not the first time. Indeed, these previous attacks have meant that the website was never penetrated.

Continue reading “Deepest apologies for quiet from me: website attacks and Covid combined”

Happy new year

Apologies for the pause, holidays are increasingly busy.

Happy new year! I hope that everyone had a relaxed and healthy Christmas. It was wonderful to have a Christmas where I saw all my siblings and sat down to a large gathering for food. I just hope that the price we pay for relaxing the rules is not too high.

There are many new things in the pipeline.

We are close to unveiling our members areas. One will be for those who are listed on the website as one of our wildlife destinations – there are many positives to sharing your vicinity with wildlife but there are also plenty of problems. The other will be for those who regularly visit the site and are keen to support our work.

The other will be for readers such as yourself. This area will cost a small amount to join (£5 per month at the lowest level) and will allow you to interact with other members, bring wild news of interest to you to the attention of the website, and join us in our quest to save the natural world – there will be a way for you to submit wilderness destinations (obviously this will be helpful to the site, but you will also be recognized for this and I hope that you will be keen to join our effort.

We are also close to adding the ability for people to build their own page to list wild places. The aim is for this process to be incredibly simple, however as you can imagine, if this site is to reach its potential I cannot write all the pages. My hope is that as we leave the strange world of COVID, people will start to find this and add destinations across the world.

On a personal note, my family will be travelling to South Africa this summer (so long as COVID does not cancel plans) to visit the Kruger for 2 weeks. There are a variety of reasons for this trip. Firstly, we intended to visit regularly but due to life, have not been there for 15 years. Secondly, we are keen to show our children the place. Thirdly, we want to add all the public rests stops to our site and need to visit to be able to do this. Fourthly, we are keen to test the live sightings board that we created and is listed on this site – check that it is working and make sure that it does prove useful, and finally fifthly, I am hoping to go on one of the wilderness trails. We hope to return with many wonderful stories to write up and videos to add to our youtube channel.

I am hoping that our tickets have not been booked too early – they are fully refundable or delayable if COVID makes travel impossible this year. However, I hope that I am not the only one who is keen to start travelling again. If you are looking at doing some wild travel this year, do consider some of our locations. While many of them are quite pricey they can all be combined with some self driving safari, which brings down the price dramatically.

Anyway, do keep reading our news, I hope that it is of interest, and have a great year

Tim Welby

Personal note

There is lots going on at the website behind the scenes. Hopefully, this will be able to go live over the next few months, but is absorbing some of my time – hence the gaps in posts.

We are creating several members areas. These will be called “members” for those who are listing some form of wild experience or are examining the idea (wild places, in the shadow of mankind or hides). I hope that over time this will develop into a community which can support each other. It will have a range of useful resources and will facilitate other people joining our mission. This website is meant to be a resource – to help those hands on in conservation.

Another is “Supporters”. This is open to anyone, with a monthly cost of probably £5. This will also have a series of discussion forums and other ways for you to engage – including the ability to interact with the blog staff. As you can imagine (if you have read our mission statement) the task we have set ourselves is very large. I know that I am not the only person concerned about the natural world, but at the moment few seem to be trying to simplify and help it in a way like us. I hope that supporters are going to be able to help in various ways – there will be ways for you to send us articles that you have written, as well as a way for you to submit places to be added to our various lists (there is no way for me to visit all wild places on the planet -even if I travelled non-stop).

We are also in the process of redoing our forms for adding wildernesses to our lists.

I enjoy writing the blog, and I hope that you enjoy reading it, however the work of the website runs beyond this. I value every one of you which drops in from time to time. Unfortunately, the natural world is under threat, so I feel that merely writing about it is not enough.

I hope that many of you will join me in this enormous task and between us we can make big differences to the health of the natural world

Watch this space

Tim Welby

So, while the website is back up there is something wrong

We are hoping to return to normal services in the near future. Unfortunately, when the website returned, it had a real problem with using far more computing power than it needed before the hack.

There are no viruses, and it works fine until it hits its maximum, which forces it offline. We are hoping to fix this in the next few days.

Please bare with me

The website was hacked! nothing lost, and wildlife tourism to Africa can return

Hello everyone! We survive

So, the website was hacked. Nothing was stolen, from what I was told they were just able to delete the website. Thankfully we back up, so we have survived.

We have added a significant extra layer of protection which should make it impossible for the same problem to arise (it had nothing to do with the attack on Facebook and WhatsApp). While we do on occasion have sharing buttons, that is the extent of our link so we were safe.

Bigger news, many red list countries have been upgraded allowing travel. These countries include

Continue reading “The website was hacked! nothing lost, and wildlife tourism to Africa can return”

Personal update on cutting carbon emissions – the failure of the green house grant

I wrote a while ago about ways that my household was trying to cut emissions. There are lots of things that we are changing to the way that we live, however there were a couple of ways that we intended to reduce emissions from our house.

The UK had a scheme called the green housing grant – with the intention of helping people green their houses. This only ran for a short period of time, and did not use anywhere near the relatively small pot of money that the government had set aside. Initially, the scheme was given £1.5 billion, to be given out in amounts of £5000, or £10,000 for specific groups.

We applied for thermal solar and additional external insulation – as we live in a concrete conclad house, which is well known for more insulation. Unfortunately, though the person who came to look at our house suggested that they could both be done for 10k – this proved to be rubbish. The best quote we got for thermal solar (this is a system that pumps liquid through tubes on your roof and then transfers the heat to your water, for both hot water and heating your home, greatly reducing the amount of gas or electricity you would have to use) was about £8500. This was felt to be unduly high by the green housing grants, so needed explanation so we had to appeal, our reasoning was accepted. The problem is, that by the end of this process, the people who had agreed to install the thermal solar are fully booked for the length of the installation period allowed by the government and there is no way to extend.

This was frankly a complete waste of time.

What is more annoying, is that we bought photovoltaic solar that was supposed to be installed at the same time to reduce cost. So what have we done?

Well, our 2.8kw of solar panels are standing in the garden, and as we have to pay for installation we thought that we should look at how much we could get the thermal solar equipment for.

My go-to on many things like this, is to look at ebay or similar second hand sites. I realize that many people would calculate that the equipment may not last long enough to make this worth the savings, but on the other hand, if we can get things used there are two advantages. Firstly, the item comes essentially carbon neutral: it does not increase the manufacturing carbon footprint to reuse it. Secondly, it should save money.

In our case, we paid roughly £600 for our solar panels. Brand new, the general rule of thumb is £2000 per kwh so , these panels are only slightly over 10% of standard price

For our thermal solar system we have paid 300, and for that we get the panel (this collects the heat) a pump, and an incredibly well insulated tank (this is necessary so that the hot water stays hot until you need the hot water). The general thought is that thermal solar systems cost between £3000 and £6000 to buy. Our green housing grant included installation, but even so, would suggest an expensive install

Installation, is something that we are still looking at, but should not cost more than a few thousand.

So what savings can we look forwards to? Well, a thermal solar system should save us roughly 2/3 of our gas bill (though some suggest it could be as high as 4/5. Our electricity supplier octopus, has a one in one out tariff, which means that our electricity use should drop in price dramatically (potentially coming close to a net zero charge. This would suggest, that our financial savings are likely to approach £1000 a year. Furthermore, while we are on a zero carbon electricity tariff, as we will be supplying about enough for ourselves, this will free up enough carbon free electricity to eliminate perhaps a tonne of carbon emissions. Our thermal solar will also eliminate roughly a tonne a year.

In short, the the financial payback period will likely only be a few years. As we are using second hand thermal and photovoltaic panels, we will be saving emissions from day one, and are likely to save a couple of tonnes a year, or perhaps as much as 40-50 tonnes of carbon dioxide over the lifespan of the panels.

There is still much to do, including greatly increasing the insulation on the house, and buying an electric car. However, cutting roughly 10% off our family emissions is a useful activity.

If all the readers of this site carried out these measure, net carbon reductions could amount to as much as 10 kilotons. There are many things that humans need to do, in order to cut our carbon emissions rapidly over the next decade or so. There are, however, few that can save so much money or be done so quickly.

We are back – otters on Mull

We have been away. As part of our trip we spent significant time watching otters on the Isle of Mull.

Why are otters easier to see on the Scottish islands?

The total otter population of the UK is thought to be around 10,000. Around 90% of this is on the mainland, but the last 10% live out on the islands off the coast of Scotland – and this is where they are watched the most.

Why are they easier to see on the little islands rather than on the mainland? Essentially, this is down to what they eat. On mainland Britain Otters live in rivers and eat fish, on the Islands the Otters feed at low tide. This means that they are far easier to find, and at the right time of the month they will be active in the middle of the day.

Over the next few weeks, we will put together a video of our footage, as well as pages to help wild holidays to these islands.

Holiday absence


I have been away with my family, and for the time being this is a one man show. I am hoping that as restrictions on travel list, it might become a bigger enterprise – with your support. We have some wildlife destinations already listed but hope to greatly expand this.

Our holiday was in Devon in the south west of the UK, close to the river otter.

This river is famous in the UK as back in 2008 a family of beavers appeared. They became quite a popular attraction.

Continue reading “Holiday absence”

Personal update

My apologies for my stop start writing at the moment. As with many people I am working with my children at home, which makes it a more stop start project than I would like.

There is lots of things changing at the moment as a result of the Covid 19 outbreak. I am trying to keep the news varied, but as you can imagine, the news on wild species is less numerous when the human world is in uproar.

Also of excitement, we should be going live with our first few reserves and lodges in the next few weeks. Apart from trying to fulfil the initial purpose of this website- to simplify wildlife travel, it would be good to get some income coming in to fund the websites work.

Slightly further in the future, our aim is to allow smaller wild places to be listed. I want to help make having wild animals on your land a positive even if you lose occasional livestock. As these places to visit grow, I hope I will have your support (both financial and otherwise) to simplify wildlife travel and make wildlife a more positive.

This should give wildlife encounters and watching opportunities at a range of prices and I hope to gradually build up a big choice

Tim Welby – blog author

I’m back, apologies for the long pause in posts

So as you will see over the next few weeks I have not paused in writing articles, but since the last one posted I have moved house. It took awhile to get reconnected to the internet and as such it is not been possible for me to put up any articles for the last couple of months.

There has however been a number of interesting things going on in the Natural World that I have written about and these will be posted over the next few weeks.

Continue reading “I’m back, apologies for the long pause in posts”
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