So this week it is British legend Andy Cave, climbing in Scotland. This is the trailer for the forthcoming film Distilled from Hotaches. When a big new climbing film comes out we love it, especially when it is a UK climber, climbing in the UK, filmed by a UK film company.
Awesome work all round - and we can't wait to see the full thing at the world premiere (doesn't that sound posh!) on Friday 15th of November at the Kendal Mountain Festival (tickets here). You can also go here to enter the BMC competition for VIP tickets.
Scotland in winter is an arena where mountaineers pit their skills against exacting climbs often in ferocious conditions. It is respected by climbers around the world. Distilled examines what makes the climbing here so potent.
Andy Cave first climbed in Scotland as a teenager. This was the start of a lifelong journey for Andy, which took him from the depths of a Yorkshire coal mine to the peaks of the Himalayas. As the story unfolds we see dramatic footage of Andy climbing some of Scotland's classic and most challenging winter routes in the full spectrum of conditions that Scotland's mountains can conjure.
Distilled is a celebration of Scottish winter climbing and a poignant profile of a life spent in the mountains.
Why this film? Why Scotland? How did it all come about?
Andy: I met Paul Diffley of Hotaches back in 2005 at the Banff Mountain Film Festival, I liked his work and we also got on socially and said that we should work together sometime. Last year we chatted more seriously about a mountaineering film and thought Scottish winter would be the ideal location. I have always felt passionate about the wildness of climbing in Scotland, particularly in winter. It's where I started mountaineering 30 years ago and today for me a good day out climbing here is just brilliant. Though small in scale, compared to the greater ranges, it is full of challenge and can ask a lot of you - the technicality, the seriousness, the remote locations and of course the weather. Combine this with the sense of history and the stunning scenery and light and you have a very special location. Of course conditions can be awful, and so making such a film would be a hell of a risk. But as a climber you learn to live with risk, it's one of the reasons we do it!
On a practical level Scotland worked well too, Paul and I are dads now and so having a UK based project made practical sense. I was delighted when Lowe Alpine decided to be the major sponsor of the film (and now the BMC are on board). I have been an ambassador for the brand for many years now and I thought this would be an opportunity to get out and test the packs and clothing and bring something back to share with the outdoor community.
And filming in Scotland in winter must be tough - how did it pan out?
Andy: We filmed on around ten routes and chose them not on difficulty, but on how they would look on a screen. Also, we wanted to show the diverse range of mountains we have in Scotland - though the weather and conditions would obviously dictate that to a large extent! I have not seen the finished film yet, but i understand that my journey of 30 years as a mountaineer is foregrounded and meshed with my connection to Scottish winter climbing. It has been a real collaborative effort. The major sponsor Lowe Alpine set the ball rolling. The action shoots were done on a very tight budget with many people giving valuable time, from the local fell runners of Fort William carrying loads to the CIC hut on the Ben, my main climbing partner and old mate Gary Kinsey, Luke the cook, Donald King our safety and film scout (total legend), Diff, Matt Pycroft Adrian Samara, the SMC, Lyon Equipment, The Clachaig, The BMC, Glenfiddich, all the photographers who supplied stills, the list goes on.
We tried to climb a route per day, occasionally we managed more and I was keen for it to be about more than hard climbing moves. The sense of journey, from sea to summit, the drama, camaraderie. We also shot on gritstone as it is where my climbing life originated and a sort of spiritual home, for me and many other climbers. Sometimes we might climb a route a few times to get the shots, often we had long days, but again that is all part of what this sort of climbing represents. Making a film here was always going to be tough. But we had a great team and it was actually very enjoyable.
Paul wanted to include some poetry and I had been very impressed with the work of Stuart Cambell, so he joined the project. We asked my talented, geeky mate Kelvin Briscall, (ex-ministry of sound DJ and all round solid guy) to write the score. I haven't heard the music set to film yet, but I am sure it has impact and won't lead to people ripping their shirts off and raving during the premiere. Seriously though, I hope it gives pleasure and reminds us what adventure we have here on our doorstep.
Easily accessible from the M6 and by train and there are plenty of accommodation options in and around the town but you need to be on your toes as they fill up very quickly over the Mountain Festival weekend.
This year we will once again have a camping field but owing to its popularity, you need to book in advance - more info.
For all your questions, accommodation and travel needs go to www.golakes.co.uk here you will find all the information you should need for your visit to Cumbria, alternatively call the accommodation booking line on 0845 450 1199.
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