What a brilliant few weeks of filming for the BBC. I've been busy working as Producer/Director on The Adventure Show which has been a roller coaster of adventure sports events. First, we were off to film the Islands Peaks Race which involves competitors sailing/running from Oban, to Mull, Jura, Arran then back to Troon for the finish. The weather was foul and I was amazed by the guts and determination of the sailors and runners. They had no respite from the weather and sailed/ran through the night taking in the three highest peaks on the three islands - totally amazing. I think it should make great TV - once we've wiped all the sea spray from the film!
Next it was off to the Mountain Bike World Cup event at Fort William which was held last weekend. 300 competitors from 30 different counties comping in the Downhill and 4x events. It was my first time at the event and the atmosphere was electric, a real buzz going down. I cant recommend it enough, even if you are not that into mountain biking, because of the incredible skill and guts of the riders - it's well worth seeing.
In between times I have been Directing the man often referred to as Britians best known hill-walker, Cameron McNeish. There are times when I am struggling up a mountain laden down by the camera tripod with my knees buckling that I wish I was somewhere else, but it doesnt last long. These 'shoots' are a joy to work on - how can I possibly complain about a day on the mountain, fresh air, views to die for and good company. Cameron is no stranger to controversy in the outdoor community and is a man who is quite happy to speak his mind. For me that makes his company all the more enjoyable - there's plenty of 'crack' and good conversation. When not filming we have time to compare notes on our various mountain experiences and adventures, and plan the next ones!
Anyway, just back last night from filming with Cameron and camera man Paul Diffley from Hot Aches Productions on Ben Lawers. A stunning day, but absolutely 'baltic' on the summit - isn't this supposed to be June?
Join us for this latest Wild Walk on The Adventure Show on BBC2 Scotland or Sky Channel 990 towards the end of June. I will try and let you know the exact date once we know for sure.
The Adventure Show BBC2 Scotland - dont miss it! BBC 2 Scotland Sunday 22 February 06.05pm and Sky Channel 990
What a day it's been - blue skies, snowy mountains and a biting cold wind on the summit, a day when you are glad to be alive and in Scotland! I left the Alps a week ago to nip back to Scotland to do some media work for the BBC. It included today's expedition into the Monadliath mountains behind Newtontmore for The Adventure Show which is broadcast on BBC2 Scotland each month.
Over the last year I have, on several occassions, worked as a television Director with Cameron McNeish who is often referred to as the UK's best known hill walker! I have to say the man is a treat to work with and I know no one else who has so much genuine enthusiasm for Scotlands' mountains and is prepared to share that enthusiasm so eloquently. Our intention had been to travel to Schiehallion in Highland Perthshire but heavy snow and blizzard conditions put paid to that. After several cups of tea in my kitchen, calls to the Police asking about roads, and calls to the camerman Paul Diffley to find out how far up the A9 he had got, we decided to film in our own backyard in the stunning Glen Banachor.
The Monadliaths are a great rolling mass of heather and bog and perhaps lack the sharpness of the west coast mountains, but give them a covering of snow and they are transformed into a glittering arctic landscape which is home to mountain hares, grouse, snow buntings, golden eagle, otters and red deer. As Director I am responsible for making sure the shoot happens and that we get the necessary material for the TV feature. I had serious doubts about shooting anything and of getting any views, but the more cups of tea we had the clearer the sky became until the clouds parted to promise a good day. In fact, it was stunning and despite the exhaustion of plodding through thigh deep snow drifts to climb A'Chailleach, 930m, we were exhilerated - 1. because of the beauty of the mountains, and 2. because we had pulled it out of the bag despite a rocky start to the day.
Best of all Cameron had opted to wear snowshoes for the filming. It will, I am sure, be the first time that someone has been filmed making a journey on snowshoes in Scotland for national TV. Unfortunately, and dont laugh, but I didnt have any as all mine were in the Alps. On more than one occassion Mr McNeish bounded past saying "aye, you should get yourself a pair of snowshoes!" I nearly tossed my teddy out of the pram! The great joy for me was that he was another snowshoe convert and had heartily embraced this ancient form of winter travel. The fact he was telling his many thousands of fans through the medium of TV that they were to be highly recommended was great.
The picture shows cameraman Paul Diffley, myself, and Cameron on the summit of A'Chailleach. A great place to be on a blue sky day in Scotland.
PS The Adventure Show feature on snowshoeing in Scotland will be broadcast on BBC 2 Scotland at the end of February. I will try and let you know exactly when once I have the details.