Watch squirrels go nuts for retired Hitchin teacher’s NHS themed obstacle course

PUBLISHED: 17:00 22 April 2020

Hitchin's Steve Barley poses with his NHS themed obstacle course for squirrels. Picture: Steve Barley

Hitchin's Steve Barley poses with his NHS themed obstacle course for squirrels. Picture: Steve Barley

Archant

In an attempt to kill time and bring some much needed giggles during the lockdown period, one retired teacher from Hitchin has created a weird and wacky obstacle course for squirrels in his back garden.

The squirrels tackle a safe NHS themed assault course to be rewarded with nuts. Picture: Steve BarleyThe squirrels tackle a safe NHS themed assault course to be rewarded with nuts. Picture: Steve Barley

We’ve seen a recent surge in creative home made videos, whether that be viral TikToks or YouTube videos, or Stevenage families doing covers of Stormzy songs.

But when it comes to bonkers, laugh out loud squirrel obstacle courses, retired computing teacher Steve Barley is firmly rooted at the top of that tree.

During his time in social isolation, 55–year old Steve has used various bits and bobs around the house to create a medical–themed obstacle course, which rewards intrepid squirrels with nutty treats if they successfully navigate it.

On their journey, which Steve dubs a ‘Global Pundemic’, the squirrels must go under a plywood microscope, have their X–Ray taken in a repurposed picture frame and take the plunge to operate a giant syringe.

Steve said: “Obviously, I have a lot of time on my hands, like many people staying at home, so I thought I’d do what I can to raise morale.

“We all need positive things right now, so if my squirrels raise a smile and can briefly lighten the hearts of our medical service heroes, I’ll be happy too.”

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This is far from Steve’s first rodeo when it comes to intricate obstacle courses for our furry friends.

Previously, the Comet has covered some of Steve’s most successful online sensations – including his ‘Furmula One’ race course, squirrel moon landing and Ninja Nutcase, which have added to the millions of views on his YouTube channel.

So where did this all start for Steve, the self–professed eccentric Englishman?

“Wild black and grey squirrels have always been regular visitors to our back garden,” says Steve.

“They would frequently empty our supposedly ‘squirrel-proof’ bird feeders by hanging upside down and teasing out the nuts with their sharp teeth and claws.”

With his son, Christian, Steve decided to make our furry friends earn their nutty breakfast by hanging old ironing boards, garden trellis, sink plungers and bits of disused wood off their washing line to create challenges for the squirrels to overcome.

Steve added: “I never build anything that could harm them as I love them too much. I intend to design and build even more elaborate obstacle courses, as long as the squirrels still want to do them and people find them entertaining to watch. That is, unless we need our washing line back!”

To watch all of Steve’s videos, visit his YouTube channel at youtube.com/user/writerstevebarley/


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