‘Twelve men have walked on the moon. But how many have spent an entire season with the Emperors in Antarctica? Maybe more, likely less. Lindsay McCrae has – and this is his wonderful and frank story.’ – Chris Packham When the BBC asked BAFTA-winning cameraman Lindsay McCrae to go to Antarctica to film emperor penguins he was thrilled. After discussing it with his wife Becky they agreed that, although it would mean him being away for 11 months, he should do it. But then she became pregnant and it seemed like the worst idea in the world – not just to miss the birth of his first child, but the first 7 months of his life. Weeks of anguished discussions followed before they decided he should go because it was his dream project and the chance might never come again.
My Penguin Year recounts Lindsay’s adventure to the end of the Earth, filming the most resilient creatures in nature, while coping with being over 15,000km away from Becky and all the comforts of home – something which almost proved too much. Out of that experience he has written an unprecedented portrait of Antarctica’s most extraordinary residents, the emperor penguins. They march up to 100 miles over solid ice to reach their breeding grounds. They choose to breed in the depths of the worst winter on the planet; and in an unusual role reversal, the males incubate the eggs, fasting for over 100 days to ensure they introduce their chicks safely into their new frozen world. And they are uniquely vulnerable to the unprecedented melting of the polar ice cap.
In weaving their story with his epic journey, Lindsay has created a masterpiece of natural observation – and a deeply moving tale of human endeavour in the harshest environment on the planet.