I was climbing at Crag Lough the other day with my son. It's nearly 50 years since I first did a climb here and it's a great place. The routes have a traditional 'old fashioned' feel to them and the area is beautiful and steeped in history. We did our last climb of the day with our sacks so we wouldn't have to walk back down to get them. It started to hail a bit. In the blustery coldness I felt just like Hermann Buhl fighting his way up some alpine north face. Looking out from the crag a small lake with a swan drifting. It's mate ensconced on a nest in the reeds. And most surprisingly...four deer! Superbly camouflaged less than a few hundred yards away. This is great I thought to myself, so peaceful, so serene......then I pulled onto the top!!
A film crew with strangely clad actor types prancing about. One had a miniature bow and arrows. He looked like a half hearted Robin Hood at a kid's party. They were asking quiz questions about the 'Robin Hood Tree' at Sycamore Gap. My mind was reeling at the sudden change in atmosphere. I had been an alpine hero a few moments ago...now I was involved in 'It's a Knockout'!
Back at the car we watched them climbing into a horse costume to weave their way through some cheap purple cones hastily placed on the ground. It looked like a very low budget production. Tom Cruise who is filming in the country at the moment was obviously not involved. They were having great fun. Despite the worsening weather, late hour and shoddy props they were so enthusiastic, giving it everything. They were doing their 'thing' and that's what mattered. Maybe they weren't so different from climbers after all.
Look out for something on BBC2 that's ...and I quote.... " something like Come Dine With Me but about hiking". The good looking one with the rope is me.
> Look out for something on BBC2 that's ...and I quote.... " something like Come Dine With Me but about hiking". The good looking one with the rope is me.
I’ve been “the good looking one with the rope” on a BBC 1 Saturday prime time show. Ian Wright (footballer) was doing a programme where someone had to “do a dare” so a loved one would get the treat of a lifetime. We were doing an ice climb in La Grave and when we abbed back down the film crew told us that we would be in the background. Think it was Jagged Globe doing the guiding, must me 18 or so years ago.
I walked across Crag Lough once. I wasn't playing Jesus in a film, it was February and the lough was frozen with a thin skin of snow. One of the most magical moments outdoors. I felt almost guilty to be putting my footprints on it.
I was once climbing in Cathedral Quarry in the lakes (well trying, its slate which has the odd optimistic Bolt and everything else is scary).
It was a kind of overcast grey mid-week day so we had the place to ourselves. After couple of hours, we start hearing loud drum and bass music from the main cavern, like really loud. Turned the whole quarry into a massive echo chamber.
Anyway we take a wander over to the lower cavern and look down to find a guy wearing chainmail swinging a fairly real looking sword about amongst several big battery powered speakers. Along with this fella there were 3 or 4 others with cameras, lighting drone etc as well as a lass dressed up all medieval. Seemed to be shooting a Music video.
They were dead serious about what they were doing, I think we hung around climbing (trying) for another hour or two. They took a lot of takes and I don’t think they made it past the song intro.
I've tried to find the completed video online once or twice but never had any luck
Walking in the woods on the lower tier at the roaches I stumbled upon a climbing couple using a bouldering mat behind a small boulder. He was well jammed in the crack let's say.
In late twilight I once topped out in avon gorge next to a couple on the grassy edge in the throes of passion. They did not stop but did at least slow down. While one spectator was clearly a nuisance, when both my seconds arrived, three spectators was clearly a mood killer and they moved off.
I was belaying in Spain when a 2 metre long snake fell from the crag and landed next to me ! Despite falling at least 50 metres it made a quick getaway !
Some Avon climbers may remember the mannequin incident (1970s). One was dumped in the car park below Main Area and certain climbers who shall remain nameless put it some way up the cliff for a laugh. A non-climber saw it and phoned 999. The emergency services arrived (they just left again, after a few minutes). Of course it was a huge waste of the callout team's time. But anyway it's a small part of Avon history
A beautiful girl in a wedding dress walking down the steps from the upper to the lower tier at The Roaches being filmed by a lad. I said “Am I dreaming?” and she replied to the effect that it was great I had said that as they were filming a dream sequence for a college project.
Not climbing, but while doing a traverse of Ben Cruachan one wild Winter, was somewhat surprised to see a giant inflatable pink horse float over the ridge.
Watching 2 Junkers 52s flying together over us on the Mittellegi ridge. The drone of the 6 engines and the subsequent intermodulation of sound sounded just like an old newsreel from 1940 - expected sticks of fallschirmjaeger to emerge on static line
not surreal but exciting was, a few moments after summiting Helvellyn from No 1 gully in winter, the incredible approach of a Tornado from the east passing only a few tens of feet over the summit, complete with a victory roll! Perhaps it had been wrong to wave as it approached?
Belaying at the bottom of a sea cliff route abroad, trying to pay attention to the climber, but mostly watching at octopus catching and eating a crab about 1m away from my feet.
Climbing at the Roaches years ago when someone had a nasty fall and the air ambulance was called.
I was sat belaying while the helicopter flew in up the valley and watched it from above as it landed below us and, a while later, took off and flew back down the valley - shame I didn't have my camera.
Not climbing but a few summers back on a late afternoon walk trying to find somewhere to pitch up for the evening I came across a woman getting out of Grwyne Fawr reservois after a nudie swim, not sure if she was blushing or just cold when she spotted me walking along but I made myself scarce and found somewhere else to get my head down for the evening
Many years ago I spent a very damp morning reminding myself and my partner that climbing in the wet on the Etive slabs wasn't a great thing to do. We decided to cut our losses and head back to the car at the end of the loch. It was a day of low cloud and we didn't see anything until we got to within maybe half a mile of the road end. At that point a car pulled up and an elderly couple dressed in tweeds got out. There is an old ruined building at the road end and the bloke walked round to the other side, the side we were approaching from, and had a piss. After he'd finished the couple had a brief discussion and the wife went "behind" the building, neither had thought to look up the hill. Anyway she dropped her knickers and he kept a look out to make sure that no one would see her but neglected to look up the hill where by now we were a few hundred yards away. A minute or two after she'd finished we arrived at the building...
Although we gave them a friendly "hello" neither of them wanted to acknowledge our presence.
> A grizzly bear at Millstone !
Is it a 'Wide Boy'?
Ha ha, no. It was an energy drink company filming/ photographing an advert. I never saw the final product.
I'm sure some will remember the wallabies at the Roaches many years ago, or reading about them. I never saw them, I wish I had
Climbing around the white toilet bowl on the upper pitch of Malbogies (HVS 5a) - March 1984 according to my log.
Also, bride's wedding photos being taken on top of Mississippi Buttress at Stanage a couple of years ago.
Many years ago I was descending Liatach in Torridon with some friends having completed a winter traverse of the ridge. We were descending in the dark on a lovely full moon lit night where the visibility was so good that for much of the time we could dispense with using head torches. We came to a wide burn which required boulder hopping to cross it. The guy at the front started to cross jumping from boulder to boulder, when suddenly with a mighty splash, he sank into the water up to his knees saturating his boots. He had seen the reflection of the moon on the surface and mistaken it for a boulder!
Trying out some revolutionary new offwidth gear at Stanage...
I had a similar experience in the Avon Gorge in the early 70's. No idea of the route but we were at the top of the first pitch when a coach pulled in and all the passengers exited in a rush towards the small wood at the end of the layby which was directly beneath us. From the sound of them they were German students, all female, and obviously had had a very liquid lunch. Half of them made a protective circle round the trees while the rest rushed into the centre and squatted. We waited till they'd exchanged duties and the second half were mid-stream before we gave them a cheery hello which wasn't reciprocated. It's true, folk never look up before they start.
> I'm sure some will remember the wallabies at the Roaches many years ago, or reading about them. I never saw them, I wish I had
Yes. I can confirm I saw one close to the bottom of the crag on the Far Skyline. I was gibbering somewhere on lead and shouting for a camera, then it vanished.
When we described the size Dougie said "ah, that will have been the buck".
Sometime late 80's I think. Very special
> Yes. I can confirm I saw one close to the bottom of the crag on the Far Skyline..... Very special
Thanks. Lucky you. The Roaches wallabies are of course well documented, and are believed to be still around today
> Trying out some revolutionary new offwidth gear at Stanage...
I hope you applied for a patent before posting that, or I have a feeling what the Wide Boys next product is going to be...
I topped out Gargoyle Flake to a group of Malay girls sat in a circle with a guitar singing some group songs of some description. I was a little puzzled!
Also, in the Dolomites, while abseiling off a route, a film crew jumped onto our frequency to film some motorcycle chase sequence in the valley below. At the time, we had complicated route finding and a stuck rope, so communication between myself and my partner was really quite useful to have. After being told to "shut up" multiple times while trying to instruct my partner to change frequency, it took all my power to not transmit "CUT" a random amount of time after the director called "ACTION".
Don't think you should have restrained yourself - after all, doesn't sound like they were being polite if they're telling you to "shut up" - they don't own the frequency, all they needed to do was politely ask if you could change.
Many years ago on a family holiday in Lanzarote I went scrambling up a broken cliff at one end of a beach only to reach the top and see a naked ? 7 yr old near the edge - she retreated and as I came to the top I met her similarly naked mum. I told mum to make sure her daughter took care near the edge and retreated in a properly "English" manner!
Sunning myself in front of the Marco e Rosa hut on Piz Bernina...an island in the middle of a sea of ice at 3600m. The supply helicopter swooped in and landed on the pad. The "hut mutt" - a huge wolf of a dog - casually trots out of the hut and down to the just-landed helicopter, rotors still whirring, engine still roaring, and sticks its front paws up the side to see who's inside.
I was fortunate to get glimpses in the creative excesses of Ken Russel whilst working as one of the "climbers" hired to stuff.
Ray McHaffie armed with a flame thower in the caves of Bowderstone Quarry (now sadly collapsed) spewing great sheets of flame over some lovely ladies dressed in nasty uniforms and suspenders. There was also dancing on a glass topped coffin with actor Robert Powell inside it.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eupcouTMLW8&list (7.30 min+)
Again Bowdetstone quarry. We got pally with the "real" hells angles from the NE who were acting? in the film. Now at the time there was a Bouncer "Andy" guarding the door at the George in Keswick who was making our pub life as misery. He had given most of us a clout and some a good kicking over the years. In the film there is short hells angles fight scene which Ken wanted to look as realistic as possible. A volunteer was called for to be tied by a rope behind a "Hog" and dragged across the quarry floor. Our hells angle pals convinced Andy he was just the man for the job. By the time Andy's big scene was "in the can" he had covered about half a mile backwards and forwards accoss the rubble strewn groumd. His inquiries were such he had to be taken to Keswick Hospital. Revenge is dish best served cold. youtube.com/watch?v=B4vW7iNAQ54& (4.20+)
BEANS & CHAMPAGNE & Ann Margret youtube.com/watch?v=boLQiAsH3ho&
Climbing Easter island on Ilam Rock many years ago and a group of 30+ Japanese turn up and sit down to watch me. As I'm doing the crux they start singing Jesus wants me for a sunbeam, and when I top out they stand up and applaud
> ..... a group of 30+ Japanese turn up and sit down to watch me. As I'm doing the crux they start singing Jesus wants me for a sunbeam.....
We have a winner
Not climbing but was up around Kinder downfall several years ago and saw a group gathering around in a circle doing some sort of ritual.
Think it was Aetherius Society who are some sort of UFO cult.
I wasn't there, but...
When the Wall came down the rock-starved cutting edge of the Berlin climbing scene, having exhaustively chipped and bolted everything remotely climbable in the city for 30 years, used to swarm out at weekends searching for the broken concrete remains of the Third Reich in the Brandenburg plains and woods surrounding Berlin.
One of these climbers, who shall remain nameless, read of a well-hidden demolished flak bunker and undertook a solo midweek trip on a blazing summer day to find it and check out the possibilities. He found it but, emerging sweating and lightly clad from the undergrowth, Achim (who stood at 6 feet plus and happened to be blessed with Hollywood good looks and a perfectly ripped physique) saw that he wasn't the only party interested in well-hidden Nazi military architecture. Leather, riding whips and a lot of nakedness dominated the scene, and there was mutual surprise on both sides. A short break in the porn shoot led to our Achim being offered temporary employment, for not much money but "a lot of fun". He claims that he graciously declined, but has logically been known since as "Porno-Achim".