Alas I am not. A lot has been going on since I last posted and things are beginning to take shape for the year ahead. After settling in to business I have found Facebook to be an easier platform to post my recent work and musings so if you are keen, head over there and stay updated. I hope to get back to the blogging soon.
I will leave you with the finished Edgeland project of which I am very proud, it was a real joy.
Last year I was lucky enough to be part of The Big Shakeout at Thornbridge Outdoor Centre in the Peak district. I was there to document the event for the team at Alpkit, and to enjoy the film, music, outdoor activities and friendly banter on offer. I even ended up in a late night rock jumping competition with Johnny Dawes! I went with my 6 year old, Leo and my partner Hel, and we all had an amazing weekend, with activities tailored for everyone. The events and activities for kids were especially good. The highlight for me was standing round a roaring fire with a bottle of fine ale listening to this man, Rick Warren singing the blues -
There is no way we would miss The Big Shakeout this year and I’m very happy to say I will be running one half of an Adventure film and photography school with Alex Ekins, a talented and well respected climbing photographer.
The course will be tailored for keen amateurs who hope to take their skills up a notch or two. Together we will capture the many activities that will be ongoing thoughout the weekend. As well as many ‘on the go’ topics that come up, we will look at:
~ What kit?
~ Using and protecting your kit in harsh environments.
~ Basic capture settings and frame speed.
~ Dynamic shooting – movement and style.
~ Engaging your viewers! Subjects and stories.
~ Behind the edit. What the viewers don’t see!
Participants will be expected to bring their own equipment along, preferably a DSLR or high end compact and lightweight tripod. As we all know though, it isn’t the technology, its the person using it. So if you don’t have a spangly camera, just bring something that records video and plenty of creativity and adaptability.
Here is an example of my work -
You can see a list of available courses at this years Big Shakeout here -http://www.alpkit.com/bigshakeout/schoolofadventure
And here is the video I made from 2011, hope to see you there this year!
On the 1st May I will be filming a very special ascent of Blencathra’s Sharp Edge.
Please see details below. You can make a small donation in support of the event
by contacting me directly – email@example.com
BLIND CHAIRMAN OF EDEN SIGHT SUPPORT
TO CLIMB SHARP EDGE
Henry Miller, the blind Chairman of Eden Sight Support, will attempt
a sponsored climb of Sharp Edge on 1st. May, 2012.
Henry will be accompanied by professional climbers Guy Lee & Dave Ridley.
Henry lost his sight at the age of 16, the result of a road accident when 7, and
simultaneously his hearing began to deteriorate.
“Today, I am totally blind and use two hearing aids, but
there is nothing wrong with my sense of humour”
“As Chairman of ESS I would like to combine my ambition to climb Sharp Edge,
as I approach 65, with my wish to raise awareness and much needed funds for
EDEN SIGHT SUPPORT”.
I climb as often as I can now that I am an adult, I still feel that child like urge to explore what’s above me and look down on the world. When I was a kid I think the urge to ascend was primal, and having had a child of my own I have seen that in him too. Perhaps it is our genetic connection with Apes that compels some of us to be up high, for me, I feel a very special clarity when I climb up through the melee and metaphorical fog of complicated life. I have spent many an hour perched on a chimney or gable end, able to observe but not having to interact with the world below. Just for a little while at least.
I’ve wanted to make a film about trees for a long time, mainly because this is where my first experiences of climbing took place, but also because trees are beautiful, symbolic and important to our world. This film cropped up out of nowhere really, inspired by Ben and his vision. I feel it has parts of both of us in it, and I am so pleased with the end result. I’m also very pleased to say that it won third place out of 24 entries in the SHAFF Shorts film competition. Me and Ben are keen to get this film seen by as many people as possible, so share it with others.
Fancy exploring the canopy and experiencing a different kind of climbing? Ben is keen to hear from others who feel compelled to get up in the trees. Get in touch - firstname.lastname@example.org
So here is the film. Enjoy!
Thought I would post this new video promoting the BMC’s work around the UK, a great video courtesy of LWimages with additional footage from myself and Matt Pycroft.
In can safely say that I have recovered from the Kendal Mountain Film Festival now, it was a great event and so much fun. I had a number of conversations over the weekend with people that genuinely loved my film, and it was so nice to hear so thanks guys. My film was pretty niche, and its so cool that it had a big positive effect on people. By monday it will be up on the front page of UKC for the world to see, which is a little scary, but hey…I made it to be watched!
Now that Kendal is behind us, its onward and upward, and time to get new projects underway. I can’t wait!
It has been a mental few weeks. Islands is ready to be shown at Kendal and lots of people are excited to see it, which is great. I’m really looking forward to the festival, seeing loads of films and meeting and catching up with lots of people. Anyway….
I had some very exciting news yesterday, which is still only just sinking in…..
I won a really exciting, experimental film commission through Kendal Mountain Film Festival and North West Vision and Media. I will have £6,250 to create a film, which will be finished this time next year. Heres the brief -
‘The Edgeland’ will look at the real and/or the perceived physical, social, economic and cultural barriers that divide the post-industrial and economically depressed urbanised communities located around the fringes of the Lake District National Park from the rurally remote settlements that nestle in the mountainous landscape of the National Park itself.
What I didn’t realise until I sat in front of the panel, was that I would have a selection of mentors, one of which would be Richard Else who create’s outdoor shows for BBC Scotland’s Adventure Show. And another, Keith Partridge, who has worked on amazing projects such as ‘Touching the Void’ and ‘Human Planet’. The clip below is from Human Planet, Keith was the main cameraman..
I can’t tell you how excited I am about this……….mainly because I’m so knackered I can hardly think what to write.
On another note, I wanted to take the time to share this video. It was made by a local guy called Justin, who lives in Shap. I think its a great concept and skillfully made. It is also right up my street as I love exploring places like this. Great vid Justin, thanks for sharing it with me.
Heres some pics from an abandoned Hotel we found on our way up to climb the huge conglomerate towers in Monserrat, Spain. Enjoy..
Inspired by a conversation with Adam Hocking, which drew upon a quote from much loved country legend Dolly Parton, I asked a friend if he could record this. I think it sounds pretty sweet really. It was destined for the end credits of Islands, but after some re-shuffling within the film, it ended up seeming a little obscure (much like this blog post!) so I left it out. Big big thanks to Paddy for singing it though. Enjoy
‘If you want to see a rainbow, you gotta put up with the rain’
Its so strange to have shared a space with someone, a physical embrace, a meaningful connection, a smile…..and realise that they are not there anymore. Last night I joined a group of amazing people, inspired, connected people, who see the importance of expression and celebration. Everybody danced, sang, talked rubbish and remembered a lovely bloke. It was so nice to see everybody smiling.
Great to have met you Ru. x
‘What lies behind us and what lies before us are but tiny matters compared to what lies within us.’
This weekend we were lucky enough to be part of a friendly bunch of outdoory folk who attended The Alpkit Big Shakeout. The event was held in the grounds of the Thornbridge Outdoor Centre near Bakewell in The Peak district, and was designed to get people inspired by the outdoors. It was also a chance for the Alpkit guys to meet some of their customers, have a beer, a bop about and hopefully give something back.
Having known the Alpkit guys for some time, and been inspired by their approach and ethics in business, it was a pleasure to do my bit and capture some media for them over the weekend.
As the weekend rolled on we had a chance to listen to some great tunes, watch films, win stuff, drink fine ale, talk rubbish and jump on rocks, what more could you ask for?
Caving, open boating, climbing, high and low ropes, nature trails and adventure days for the kids, campsite cooking, mountain biking, demos, famous people and juggling you ask??? Well they had all that as well.
Here is a short film I made of the event.
I haven’t written anything on the blog for some time now, things have been manic since finishing my degree and embarking on the final edit of my film for Kendal. I have been taking on little bits of work here and there, and approaching other projects as the months have rolled on. Now the dark is coming and the endless days of rain, come on ‘negative North Atlantic Oscillation’, bring us some white stuff!
A couple of weeks ago I was contacted by Paul Diffley of Hot Aches who wanted to push an editing job my way, which I gratefully accepted. The hard drive arrived in the post containing 500gb of footage for me to piece together. Would you believe it, it was Dave Macleod on one of the most iconic traditional routes ever climbed in the UK, and the stuff of climbing folk lore, Johnny Dawes’ epic mind bender, The Indian Face. Suddenly I felt a bit of pressure!
It was real pleasure to edit this piece, and quite challenging too. To receive a load of footage that was captured by other people was new to me, so I struggled to make a start but a logical narrative soon began to show.
To see every detail of the route was amazing, few people have, and only four people have seen every inch of it. Johnny, Nick Dixon, Neil Gresham and Dave are the only people to have topped out on The Indian Face, Johnny Redhead got very close but took what must have been the fall of his life, and very nearly his death from the crux, 70 feet down on to a dubious collection of filed RP’s.
Its always interesting to watch Dave climb, and this edit gave me a good chance to observe Dave’s careful, methodical approach (to a route that could potentially kill him). It was hugely impressive watching him prepare, and pick through the information and the ‘hype’, setting aside the stuff he didn’t need to focus on, and using the rest to his advantage. I could take a leaf out of his book.
In Johnny’s words, “Theres so much hype surrounding this route, that you feel like a dragon is going to fly down and eat you half way through the crux”.
This film will be an extra on the upcoming Hot Aches DVD, ‘The Long Hope’, which will be showing at Kendal Mountain Film Festival and will be for sale on DVD. Check out Hot Aches for more info - http://www.hotaches.com
Click on the image to enlarge.
When wrapped up in the many complications of life on earth, it can be easy to miss things. Luckily, every now and again I step in to the moment, and almost fall flat when I stand back and look at the sheer beauty of this place.
Having spent the night engaging in covert adventures in secret locations, I stopped on Caldbeck fell on my way home and watched the sun rise over the Solway. The most beautiful one I have ever seen.
First ascent of ‘The Keswickian’ E8 7a on Gouther Crag in Swindale and 2nd Ascent of ‘The Ego Has Landed’ E8 6b on Eagle Crag, Langstrath. Hope its worth the wait.
Huge thanks go to Adam, Bex and Richie at Wild Country.
Recent blog post and photographs from Hock’s ascent of ‘The Ego has Landed’ and ‘The Keswickian’ published on Wild Country’s website. Click on the banner to see the article.
I often feel that, although we have great climbing, the Lakes is sometimes overlooked by the climbing community. Unlike Llanberis or Sheffield for instance, The Lakes climbing scene sometimes appears to lack a hub, so it is great to see small pockets of climbers taking the time to find and pick off the last great lines here. Adam Hocking has come back from Spain feeling strong and keen for hard Trad lines, and is quickly compiling an impressive list of first ascents and hard repeats all over the Lakes. I have been lucky enough to witness two of these ascents and be on hand to shoot video and stills.
‘The Ego has Landed’ was first climbed in 2000 by James McAffie, and although it has been surveyed by some of the most talented climbers in the area, it has remained unrepeated for 11 years. Having witnessed the first ascent, Adam has had his eye on the route since Caff’s ascent and made light work of it on the day. Hard unprotected E8 6b (considered E9 by some), the route trends right up a sheer wall at the far left hand end of Eagle Crag in Langstrath. I have included some photos below, video footage will be out soon, watch this space!
Gouther Crag in Swindale is a little known gem of Lakeland climbing and has some fantastic lines of all grades. At it’s far left hand end is a prominent roof and slab offering a couple of E4′s which breach the overhang at the right hand side. Adam has had his eye on a line here for years, which follows an obvious corner through the roof and up the unprotected slabs above. Last week this became ‘The Keswickian’, at E8 7a it is a serious route with a steep bouldery crux section, possible only for the strong and brave! This was the most exciting, nail-biting sequence I have ever filmed and an amazing line. Nice one Adam! Photos below, video to come.
The Great North Swim took place this weekend and welcomed 10,000 people to Windermere. The competitors chose to swim a 2 mile, 1 mile or half a mile circuit through the choppy water, starting and finishing at the Low Wood Hotel. We were there to support friends who were taking part, but I grabbed the opportunity to take some snaps while we watched. Click on each image to expand.
On the 15th May I was lucky enough to join Lukasz Warzecha and Matt Pycroft as part of the team documenting the 2011 International meet, organised by the BMC. The meet took place in Llanberis, North Wales and ran for one week, with climbers travelling from all over the world to be part of the event. Although the Welsh weather wasn’t on our side, activities went ahead and some great lines got ticked.
All images taken by Dom Bush in association with LWImages.
Video by LWImages, Land and Sky and Matt Pycroft Media.
A series of photos exploring The Lake District at night. Click on each image to enlarge.
Expedition planning has been a topic within our degree since we began, and as part of our final expedition module we were required to plan and execute an expedition, and document it through film. Thwarted by logistical problems and freak snow storms, ideas came and went in abundance. Finally we settled on an accessible option, which would allow us to cover a reasonable amount of ground in a beautiful part of the country. The film crew consisted of myself and fellow student, Sim Davis. We would travel by car and foot to meet the expedition team (Knowli, Donnie and Michael) at key locations along the way. This was not the most challenging expedition in the world, it was a chance for us to explore and take some time out in the wilderness, make new friends and connect with old ones. The expedition and the film are a tribute to Murray Flemming, who was Knowli’s good friend and expedition partner and is missed by many.
Being lucky enough to live down the road from the climbing legend that is Doug Scott, I have met him one or two times. He is a cool guy.
John Porter (of the Kendal Mountain Festival and Steep Edge) spoke to me about an up coming event that Doug was organising called ‘First on Everest’, and mentioned that Doug was looking for film crew. I promptly got in touch and managed to get myself on the film team, alongside Brian Hall of Mountain Equipment and Keith Partridge, who is one of the most experienced and highly qualified adventure cameramen around right now. I was understandably excited to part of the event, which took place at The Royal Geographical Society in Kensington.
As well as working with some incredibly experienced media guys, I was lucky enough to see lectures by climbing legends such as George Band, Mike Westmacott, Tom Hornbein, Doug Scott, Tut Braithwaite, Pertemba Sherpa, Reinhold Messner, Peter Habeler, Rebecca Stephens and Erhard Loretan.
Unfortunately I don’t have access to any of the footage, but hopefully it will surface some day soon.
So its been over 6 months since I updated my blog. I’m not proud of it, but in my defence, I’ve had a lot to do.
We have been blessed (some would say cursed) by cold temperatures and snowfall recently, The Lake District has been amazing over the past couple of weeks.
Although I haven’t had a chance to get out as much as I wanted, I was fortunate enough to catch one of the best days and didn’t have to go too far from home. Gordie Oliver has been running a portable rope tow on the side of Binsey so I went down and got some shots with my new Canon 60D which I am VERY pleased with.
Here is a link to the finished film.
For my first project I am pleased with the result, there are a number of things that I would change next time and I have learned a huge amount during the making of this film.
It was generally well received at the Kendal Film Festival and it was great to attend the festival as a filmmaker, something to aim for next year!