Libby Penman, wildlife filmmaker and photographer

Where is it?

The River Kelvin in Glasgow. The stretch near the blue bridge at Glasgow Botanic Gardens is where I go all the time.

Why do you go there?

It is only a 10-minute walk from my flat, so that is where I went to practise while doing my master’s degree in wildlife filmmaking. It became part of the daily walks during lockdown. It is a place where I honed a lot of my skills. I now know it like the back of my hand.

The Herald: Libby Penman. Picture: Declan FrielLibby Penman. Picture: Declan Friel (Image: free)

How often do you go?

Twice a day. I usually run there and try to get my camera out as well.

How did you discover it?

I have lived in the area for seven years. I like to joke that I’m on a first-name basis with the kingfisher because I see it all the time. I even did a film for BBC Two Springwatch about the kingfisher.

I have filmed the otters in the Kelvin too – that was also shown on Springwatch. Everyone had told me you could see otters in Glasgow. I must have heard that a million times over the years and never saw them. It seemed like an urban myth.

Then one day, as happens with wildlife, it was a normal, mundane scene on the river when suddenly three otters began playing with each other in the water. That was magical.

What’s your favourite memory?

The first time I filmed a kingfisher diving, catching a minnow fish, coming back out, stunning the fish by beating it off the side of a branch and then eating it. Managing to record the entire sequence was amazing.

I love the kingfisher, but cormorants are probably my favourite thing to photograph because they are so dramatic looking. I have a real soft spot for them.

Who do you take?

Absolutely everyone. Anyone who has ever visited me in Glasgow – friends and family – have been made to go for a walk by the River Kelvin.

What do you take?

If I go on a run, I won’t have a phone, only my headphones and a watch. Typically, I will then see everything – kingfishers, otters, cormorants, foxes – and have no way of recording it.

When I go purposely to film, I take a camera bag with a 600mm long lens and a macro lens, the latter because I sometimes photograph mushrooms and different things along the river. A couple of cereal bars. A flask of coffee when it’s cold.

What do you leave behind?

It is a double-edged sword when you get into wildlife filming and photography professionally. People often say they go out into nature to unwind and de-stress, but when it’s part of your job, you can’t be totally relaxed.

Sum it up in five words.

My wildlife camera training ground.

What other travel spot is on your wish list?

I love mountains, so Nepal would be awesome.

Follow Libby Penman on Instagram @libby.penman She is working on the BBC Scotland series Landward and her Open University film The Polar Bears of Perth is out soon