A pensioner who makes wholesome camping videos has become an overnight TikTok sensation at 74.
Pat McErlean suddenly conjured 400,000 subscribers to his YouTube channel Wander with Mac after teenage TikToker Kristian Keenan came across his videos earlier this week.
Pat, who lost his wife in 2010, created the channel two years ago to document his trips in the Scottish countryside, near his home in Dumfries and Galloway.
Inspired by climber Tom Weir’s TV show Weir’s Way, Pat speaks directly to the camera while preparing meals, going for walks and chatting about anything and everything.
In one clip, Pat takes a stroll on the beach and discusses how ‘a Morrisons breakfast is much better than a Tesco breakfast but Tesco has a better cup of coffee’.
In all the videos, which are usually around 20 minutes long, Pat introduces the journey and then sets off with his dog Morag, stopping along the way to film different parts of the trips.
Despite the undeniable charm of this content, the internet is a tough place and Pat only had a handful of subscribers.
But then 17-year-old Kristian found Pat’s page while ‘scrolling through YouTube videos with no views’.
He showed small snippets of Pat’s videos and ended on a clip showing Pat wearing a Santa hat while spending Christmas Eve in the forest, deep-frying Camembert cheese as part of his ‘wee party’.
The touching TikTok was posted five days ago and has been viewed more than 12 million times, while hundreds of thousands of people have subscribed to Pat’s YouTube channel.
Pat has now started a TikTok account, Wonder with Mac, and this has more than 120,000 followers.
He posted a video three days ago to thank all of his ‘new friends’ from a camping chair in a green forest.
He said: ‘Well, it’s been some 24 hours. A quarter of a million followers – goodness, gracious not in my wildest dreams.’
Kristian, a musician, said he wanted to ‘use social media in a positive way to change someone’s life’, the Daily Record reported.
Pat sent Kristian a message to thank him for the help and now the pair have become unlikely friends.
Kristian has since started fundraising for Pat to be able to buy a motorhome, as his doctor advised him to stop camping because of his type 2 diabetes and high blood pressure.
Pat is hoping to raise £10,000 to buy a second-hand ‘micro campervan’ to continue his travelling with Morag and cat Brendan.
Get in touch with our news team by emailing us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
For more stories like this, check our news page.