Scottish septuagenarian, Pat McErlean, who has been posting camping trip videos on his YouTube channel 'Wander with Mac' for two years, has seen a dramatic surge in viewership, thanks to an endorsement from a popular TikTok account.
The 74-year-old's channel features charming videos where he escorts viewers around the scenic locales of Dumfries and Galloway, in proximity to his residence. A TikTok post endorsing his videos has garnered 12 million views.
As reported by BBC Radio's Good Morning Scotland, Pat is amused and pleased by his newfound moniker of "grandad" from the younger demographic who have taken to his TikTok videos. He noted that one of the locals informed him about the sudden influx of activity on his YouTube channel.
Pat believes the affectionate 'grandad' title reflects his audience's preference over more derogatory terms. He has been passionate about camping since his youth, sparked by receiving an Ordnance Survey map at the age of 10.
He launched his YouTube channel two years ago, as a means to chronicle his camping adventures with his dog, Morag. His storytelling style takes cues from Scottish filmmaker John Grierson and presenter Tom Weir.
"I've been intermittently involved in camping since my childhood," Pat commented, reminiscing about his escapades in the Pentlands near Edinburgh when he was 10. Now retired and residing in Garlieston, he added, "I wished to undertake a unique, enjoyable, adventurous activity, and hence, I decided to focus on camping, which has been thoroughly enjoyable."
The spike in the popularity of his channel came after musician Kristian Keenan promoted it on his TikTok account. Keenan's initiative was to boost channels on YouTube that have a relatively low viewership. The video spotlighting Pat's channel has since clocked more than 12 million views.
The subscriber count for 'Wander with Mac' on YouTube has skyrocketed to over 400,000, following the viral TikTok post. Pat also started his TikTok account under the same name, which surprisingly boasts even more subscribers than Keenan, the individual who initially promoted him.
Keenan and Pat have exchanged messages, with both of them astounded by the overwhelming success of the promotion. Keenan originally hoped to garner a few thousand extra subscriptions for Pat's channel, far exceeding his expectation.
Due to recent health complications, Pat has had to temporarily suspend his camping trips. Keenan has initiated a fund-raising campaign that has already accumulated more than £1,000 to help cover the expenses associated with operating a campervan.