‘King of the Fells’ Joss Naylor MBE – Life of a Mountain: Scafell Pike

Scafell Pike from Birker Fell, Lake District National Park
The Scafells as seen from Birker Fell, Lake District.

As some of you are aware, I’m currently working on my next documentary featuring the wonderful great outdoors – ‘Life of a Mountain: Scafell Pike’. A project that saw me begin filming last December and won’t be completed until March/April 2014.

It is without a doubt my most ambitious project yet, as it will essentially be a year in the life of the Scafells and adjacent valleys. What excites me about it is that viewers will get to see the changing seasons in just a couple of hours of England’s highest peak. Indeed, I’ve been working hard on capturing it from all angles, up close and from afar and I hope that the ‘real’ Scafells will shine through and hopefully inspire others to the outdoors and perhaps visit the area – never mind look at it differently. Maybe even treat it with a little more respect! And that’s a dig at a minority of Three Peaks Challengers who descend on the mountain every summer.

Another exciting aspect about the film is that I’m keen to include the people who live, work and care for the area, along with those who visit and play on this iconic fell. So, behind the scenes I’ve been busy (sometimes frantically so!) organising interviews, meeting up with folks out on the fells to capture them on camera to give an added layer to what I hope and intend will be a rather unique documentary featuring the British countryside.

I’m producing the project on a shoestring budget. Less than what was kindly pledged by some of you towards ‘The Cairngorms in Winter with Chris Townsend’ in fact! I’m still seeking funds to enable me to ensure the Scafells film is completed on schedule (but that’s for another conversation) but I’m confident all will come good.

I’m pleased to say that the support from some of you and particularly locals in the Western Lakes has been truly humbling. And it spurs me on to work even harder on the project to achieve the vision I have in mind.

Last Friday I met local living legend, Joss Naylor MBE. The second of many well known faces I’m due to capture on video talking about the area (having filmed Lakeland author Mark Richards a while ago). Joss should need no introduction from myself. The gent is an inspiration. Be it from his charity work or his athletic endeavours.

Joss proved to be a very humble and honest man. When I began interviewing him at his wonderfully located home in Wasdale, it soon became apparent it would be hard to get him to open up and talk about his fellrunning past and achievements. What’s striking about Joss, is that to talk about such things is boastful. He’s rather shy about it all. He’d much rather share stories about some of the runs and races he’s faced over the years.

Where Joss does open up and releases the passion within is when he’s encouraged to talk about the fells and Wasdale in particular. He beams with energy and is rather forthcoming with his views on changes that have happened over the decades to the valley and surrounding hills – especially with the local bodies who care for the area.

Appearing relaxed at home – almost lethargic – Joss springs to life once outdoors. After spending a couple of hours or so filming in his home, we both headed out into the fields and up on the nearby fellsides to capture additional scenes. Joss shared stories, what he gets up to in his spare time and much more always in the company of his two beloved dogs.

In all, I came away with about 3 hours of video from my time with Joss and it will prove to be hard to edit down and put into the final film! He is a true living legend, and it was a sheer delight to finally meet in person someone I’ve always admired and respected from afar.

I shall be seeing Joss again soon in the coming weeks ahead, but in the meantime you may like to see a short teaser of some scenes I captured with him last Friday below.


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