Back in February 2015 I began producing ‘Life of a Mountain: Blencathra’ the follow-up to my previous effort featuring a year in the life of Scafell Pike. With your kind support and backing from sponsors, I’m now fast approaching the end of principal filming for the documentary.
I’m absolutely thrilled with how the film is shaping up. Equally I’ll be relieved when it’s all over so I can take some well earned rest too! I have to say that despite Blencathra and it’s environs being a great deal more readily accessible compared to England’s highest, I’ve worked much harder on this latest project than any other I’ve been involved with.
Sure I can be up and down Blencathra in just a couple of hours and I don’t have to hike mile upon mile chasing various shots. The irony is, because of the former I’ve been up and down and around the fell than I care to count! The route up Blease Fell from the Blencathra Field Centre is a route I have no love for at this moment in time – I say wryly.
Furthermore, ole Saddleback isn’t the easiest of the Lakeland fells to capture on camera; with respect to affording new and interesting views. The giant claws of the fell reaching down to Threlkeld and the A66 is about the best aspect of the mountain and no matter where you choose to admire it from, the fell appears much the same in many respects.
All said, where I was initially indifferent to this iconic hill I’ve rapidly fallen in love with her. She’s a grand ancient earth of beauty and we’ve become very close friends. There’s not many, if any places I’m yet to tread my weary feet upon her ‘saddle’. I wouldn’t go as far as to agree with the late Alfred Wainwright that she is the “mountaineer’s mountain” but she does have a tiny bit of everything for all activities and walks of life. Some say that Blencathra was AW’s favourite Lakeland hill, given he wrote more pages about her than any other in his legendary guidebooks.
I beg to differ though. I very much suspect that ole AW was a canny beggar. Yes he loved Blencathra but he was also acutely aware of it’s popularity and therefore wrote more about her to help sell his guidebook perhaps. That’s my theory anyway. Because if anything, what soon became apparent to me while filming the fell was how popular it is, how much loved it is; with born and bred locals, offcomers and visitors.
I don’t mean to sound cynical of course! I’ve just confessed to having fallen in love with Blencathra. So much so I hope to admire her from my study window when (finger’s crossed) I up sticks and move close to the area later next year! But given the above points it’s certainly added to the pressure I often feel with producing the film. The amount of interest I’ve received (no doubt off the back of my Scafells film being shown on BBC TV countless times this past year) has been incredible but also really daunting.
All said, I like to think I’m a humble and modest fellow so I’ve just followed my instinct and heart as usual as I’ve endeavoured to capture a year in the life of what I call ‘The People’s Mountain’.
Below you can see a few photos of mine while working on the documentary since last February. All these scenes I filmed but of course due to the nature of editing, they may not appear in the final cut of the film. All said, I hope you find it of interest and perhaps revealing with regards to what I’ve been tiring over. The amount of blood, sweat and tears I’ve put into this project scares me in truth (goodness knows how my wife has been so patient with me and my latest obsession!). I do hope from the bottom of my heart that the finished film will exceed all folks’ expectations. I’m over the moon with it so far but there’s the small matter of finishing off my winter chapter first.
You won’t find any anecdotes to the following images, partly because I can’t be bothered to add any due to the number of them, but also because one of my goals for 2016 is to produce a photo ebook covering Blencathra through the seasons. Either way, the photos begin with the back end of winter, to spring and so forth.
On a slight tangent, I’d like to thank all of the locals who I’ve become close friends with for their continuing support and particularly to Tim and Sue Foster who run the superb Blencathra Field Centre. Tim and Sue have been immense in helping me about acting as taxi, carers, friends, a shoulder to cry on sometimes and much more besides. And I’d also like to thank Alun Knott from Lakeland based Flying Glass who I’ve been working with on spectacular aerial scenes of the area for my film.