As of February 2016, after 416 posts, and over six and a half years of blogging, I'm taking a break.
I've explained why here. There's plenty of past posts to read, though - hope you enjoy them !
Looking for a brilliant present for a young naturalist ? Buy my book ! Available from Amazon UK,
Amazon US and worldwide but buy from a local bookshop if you can.
Archived posts: The following articles are from the month or year requested:

Puzzles from my inbox


In the six years that I've been blogging about bones I must have received thousands of emails,  some of which are from people who have enjoyed my book , some asking me how to clean bones but the most common question I get is "can you me identify this bone ?"

Most of the stuff is pretty easy, like common deer or sheep skulls, but others are more difficult, where I have to check with other experts. Twitter is brilliant for this, and that's where I usually ask, and even if people don't know, they'll know someone who does. Here are some of the most interesting ones I have had recently.

Braco 200: The murder at Ardoch House


This is one of the special posts I'm doing this year to celebrate my village, which is 200 years old this year. I've written posts before on Ardoch House, an old country house near the village, in which I found there had been a murder in the house in 1851. This week I went to Edinburgh to find out exactly what happened 160 years ago.

At 7.30pm on the evening of Friday 28th February 1851, three servants sat down to supper in the kitchen at Ardoch House. By the following Sunday, one would be dead, one would be under arrest for murder in Dunblane Gaol having confessed to the fatal blow, and the murder weapon, a blood-covered poker, would have been taken by police in evidence.

But two and a half months later, the accused would walk free from court after an entire jury refused to find her guilty. So what happened in Ardoch House that night ? As far as I know this story has never been published anywhere since it happened, so I had to track down the documents from 160 years ago to find out what happened.

Up close with a (dead) barn owl


One of the good things about people know I collect bones is that I have been lucky enough to havebeen given a lot of amazing things, like the leopard, otter and monk fish skulls. I've even had an 80 year old lady drive all the way up from England to give me some skulls !

About a week ago, I got an email from Mr. Greenhill, who I first met when I did a falconry course and he was the instructor, and who later came to a book talk I gave. He said he had found a barn owl by the side of the A9, and asked me if I would like it. I agreed, of course, and he came round to drop it off in the week ! Here's is what I found.

Braco 200: The legend of the Roman tunnel


This will be one of a series of posts this year that I will be writing for the history of my village which was founded 200 years ago this year. And I know it's not a great idea for child bloggers to list the place where they live, but it's been mentioned in pretty much every newspaper article about me ever, so it's no great secret.

Just outside my village, there is one of the best preserved Roman forts in Scotland. Most other Roman forts in Britain have been ploughed over , but at the Ardoch fort you can see all the old defensive earthworks, some of the edges of where buildings were, as well as lookout posts a few miles away from it in every direction. I'll write more about the history of the fort, but for now I want to tell you about the story of the legend of the Roman tunnel, the hidden treasure, and the discovery I made !

Free counters!