Some may remember 40 years ago, July 1967, when 15 million Brits were glued to their TV's for three days as Pete Crew, Dougald Haston, Joe Brown, Chris Bonnington, Tom Patey, Rusty Baillie and Ian McNaught-Davis climbed various routes up the Old Man of Hoy for a BBC outside broadcast. This was Reality TV at its finest and no doubt inspired many in the armchair audience to take up climbing. You can watch a clip here
On Saturday 18th of August, Scotland once again is to host an outside broadcast climbing extravaganza, The Great Climb in the Cairngorms National Park at Shelterstone and Hell's Lum crags on the RSPB's Abernethy Nature Reserve. Produced by Richard Else of Triple Echo Productions and featuring Scotland's Dave MacLeod, Dave Cuthbertson, Graham Ettle, Duncan McCallum, Ed February from South Africa, Canada's Barry Blanchard, and the Spanish model and climber who featured in the Everest IMAX movie, Araceli Segarra.
Dave MacLeod will be attempting a new route, we asked him to give us the details:
"I've been dangling around in the Lum looking at the awesome lower part of the sidewall - it's huge and there are several new routes to do, all hard. If conditions are right I'm going to try a big wall with a wild dyno in the middle for the first pitch. It looks about hard E8 or E9. The second pitch might be E7, so I'll have go at flashing it. It's a big traverse above a vertical wall with no gear so a fall will mean a massive pendulum. The top pitch looks like a rather dangerous E6 6a. It's going to be a massive pressure trying a route of this level of difficulty on live camera. I've got no idea what it will be like, so I'm just going to try and give it my best and see what happens!"
The programme will also comprise many features on the local landscape, ecology, conservation and also Scotland's climbing heritage. Permission for the ground-breaking programme was granted on the basis that the producers agree a leave-no-trace commitment to protect the fragile local environment, with much equipment being flown in to prevent any erosion to the mountain trails and rare plant communities.
We talked to Dave Brown of Hot Aches, who made the E11 film about Dave MacLeod's groundbreaking ascent at Dumbarton Rock, "My involvement in the project is as climbing cameraman, along with several other climbing film-makers including Ben Pritchard (Slackjaw), Al Lee (Posing Productions) and Paul Diffley (Hot Aches). It is a special project ; Live broadcast from a wild and remote location; a huge logistics challenge for the production team, and also quite a challenge for the camera crews. Most of the filming that we tend to do in our normal course of making climbing videos is essentially 'live'; the climbing is 'real', there us usually just one take. So from this perspective what we are doing with this live broadcast is not unusual. However what is certainly very different is that the video is transmitted live, no chance to edit out the bad shots!"
Filmed in high definition (with surround sound!), The Great Climb will be broadcast live from the Loch Avon basin on 18 August for six hours on BBC Two Scotland. It will also go out for an hour on BBC Two network and on the BBC HD channel. The broadcast will also be supported by an innovative website, which will stream live coverage of the climbs
Glenmore Lodge will be acting as HQ for the event and as the party venue afterwards. Included in the broadcast will be a feature on the Lodge. Pauline Sanderson of Glenmore Lodge told us,
"There will be a feature on the Lodge given we have an integral link with the mountaineering world especially here in the Cairngorms and we are celebrating our 60th year as a national mountain centre from September this year. With 60 years comes so many anecdotes from famous and non-famous mountaineers alike as well as an insight into what mountaineering in general has contributed to society."
More details and a preview video www.bbc.co.uk/scotland/outdoors
Also see davemacleod.blogspot.com for more details about the routes.