This nice little story from Northumberland brightens a week or so of gloom and doom on our news. The intrepid otter has stunned conservationists by swimming to the Farne islands, where tracks have been seen by National Trust wardens.

http://www.northumberlandgazette.co.uk/news/Plucky-otter-survives-North-Sea.4716786.jp

http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/science/nature/7741008.stm

http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/environment/article5201250.ece

Whether the otter intended to make this pretty incredible journey is unclear - maybe it was swept by currents and winds in the recent gales. Either way, what an amazing feat of survival, endurance and prowess, swimming for at least three miles from the nearest coastline, in stormy waters and winter temperatures.

Map, to help appreciation of this phenomenon:

http://www.multimap.com/maps/?lat=51.61548&lon=-1.23031&zoomFactor=18#map=55.63333,-1.61667|13|4&dp=904&bd=useful_information&loc=GB:55.63333:-1.61667:17|farne%20islands|Farne%20Islands

Brownsman is one of the larger islands in the middle of the archipelago,

By the way, my grandfather always used to call the kettle a water 'otter!

[Why not take a look at www.alternativevet.org , while you're here?]