Pioneers and Penguins

This piece aired on BBC Radio Scotland

To mark the 30th anniversary of the Falklands War, Audrey Gillan travels to the islands to find out what life has been like since the conflict for the people who live there. Most Falkland islanders live in Stanley – the main town on the island. Everyone else lives in camp – the local word for the countryside.


In programme 2, Audrey Gillan explores the many changes that war has brought to those living in camp. Before the conflict, wool production was the economic mainstay of the islands. Large farms were run by absentee landlords and many islanders were leaving the Falklands. Back home in the UK, many folk didn't think the Falklands were worth fighting for. When Gardiner Fiddes came to the Falklands from Grangemouth in 1987, he wondered what he had let himself in for. When he took over the butchery in Stanley in April 1988, he thought it was an April Fool's. 

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"What I didn't realise was that when I needed livestock, I had to go and get it. There were no roads so I had to learn how to ride a horse, drive sheep, work sheep dogs and learn all the drove roads."

In the remote areas, like Goose Green, there is still a way of life that can be compared to the Australian Outback but the war has brought many economic changes. There are new roads, an abattoir, smaller farms and the islanders are in control of their future. 

The Falklands are renowned for its amazing wildlife and eco-tourism is a growing industry. On Sealion Island, Audrey meets three different types of penguins and veteran Simon Weston who is laughing with glee at the rockhoppers and their young. Simon has been to the Falklands many times but never as a tourist. He hopes that seeing these islands in a different light will finally close the circle and allow him to lay some demons to rest.