Barrow Shoot

After a failed attempt to collect footage in Barrow (on a very windy day) I returned to pick up where I left off. I spent 12 hours filming in and around the town, capturing its industrial character and dramatic setting, and trying to convey some of the pride that the locals feel. Many people disregard Barrow as a place to visit but I have enjoyed every minute I have been there, the pride and community is evident at every turn and the landscape, with its mix of industry, mountainscape and seaside is incredibly dramatic. Here is a selection of photographs from the shoot.

Ocean Stores, South Walney

The Crab House

The 4×4 Capacities of this little baby didn’t quite cut it this time!

Peil Island from South Walney

South Walney Beach

Marine heritage

Red Brick tenements

BAE Systems

Community allotments

A foray into creative writing

Edgeland has been an ever changing process, it re-forms and mutates every time I pick up my camera or look back to the planning process. This is what I love about working within a creative industry, the ever changing nature of my work. I knew from the word go that this project was going to be multi-dimensional and not just focus on documentary filmmaking. I have been working on some poetry/spoken word for the opening sequence of the film, it is an unfamiliar medium but I have really enjoyed it and am confident that it will add a really emotive and creative element to the finished piece. All I need now is a deep, gravelly, gripping voice for the part, any ideas?

Cumbria’s Multi-Dimensional Landscape

Turbine’s, Bothel

Cumbria is looked upon fondly by many people as a dramatic and beautiful landscape of lush green hills and glacier carved valleys. All of these things are true, but having grown up in the county all of my life, I see a great deal more than just the idyllic beauty of the National Park. Cumbria also has a dramatic industrial past, from the steel and ship building factories in Barrow to the treacherous slate mines in the central Lakes. Although there is a boom in tourism, the landscape has been shaped by hill farming and quarrying and it’s history is multi-layered. One of the fascinating and sometimes shocking things about Cumbria is the diversity within it. Travelling along Windermere shore you can snatch glimpses of £2 million homes, whilst 20 miles away to the coast as the crow flies, people live in very real poverty in some of the most deprived wards in the UK. My intention with the Edgeland project is to capture all of these elements and show Cumbria as much more than just a swelling tourist destination.

Now that the dust has settled…….

The full crew together in Llanberis. Copyright Land and Sky Media.

So we all went our separate ways on Friday evening from Langdale, having spent two weeks touring with the Odyssey team. After a couple of days off to rest and spend time with my family I have started looking through and converting footage before I leave for the Dolomites on Friday. I wanted to give a little run down of the trip, its highs and lows and share some of the photographs that I took on here while I have a little time.

So our route took us first to Northumberland where we visited three of the county’s most well known crags – Back Bowden, Bowden Doors and Great Wanney. All gave a good  introduction to the intricacies of sandstone climbing, with run outs, marginal gear and ground fall potential. The northern wind certainly woke us up a bit!

Hansjorg assessing the risks on Charlotte's Dream Direct.

Hansjorg assessing the risks on Charlotte’s Dream Direct, Back Bowden. Copyright Land and Sky Media.

Driver Andy and Matt Sharman. Copyright Land and Sky Media.

Our plan after this point was to head North and get stuck in to some steep routes at Dumbarton, but the weather just didn’t play ball. With rain and possible snow forecast in Glasgow we opted to head north with the risk patchy rain hitting the whole country, but with high hopes of finding something in nick. We set our sights on Llanberis and got on the road for a long 5-6 hour drive. When we arrived we set up camp high above the town, overlooking the Dinorwig quarries and checked back in with the weather. It was rubbish! The amazing thing about North Wales is that it has both mountain crags and sea cliffs within easy driving distance so you can often escape the worst of coming weather. We headed out to Gogarth and were blessed with wall to wall blue sky. James and Caro headed off to do their own and thing and Hazel got stuck in to a bold lead of ‘The Cad’ on North Stack Wall.

Hazel Findlay onsighting ‘The Cad’. Copyright Land and Sky Media.

Hazel discussing the rusty snapped bolt on ‘The Cad’. The only thing that would stop you I reckon. Copyright Land and Sky Media.

So with a better forecast for the following day and some energy and excitement from Gogarth, we headed for an epic day at Tremadoc and ‘Strawberries’ in our sights. Hazel was happy to look at the route as a head point, James was warming up for the onsight, Caro went for a flash on James gear and Hans waited patiently behind a rock for most of the day. It was so entertaining to watch these guys hit this route one by one. With such different styles and strengths it was clear that it would not fall easily for some. James powered up the wall looking strong but miss-reading the sequence a little he sailed from the top moves right back down to the belay. Caro showed unbelievable strength and determination as she fought her way up to the top section. Her talent as a competition climber shone through as she clung on to the very last moment but couldn’t go any further, she is a truly inspiring climber. Hazel showed how talented and dynamic she is, even in powerful reachy ground but again didn’t make it to the top out. Once these guys had had their chance, Hans popped out from behind his rock grinning and psyched out of his mind. we were all crossing our fingers and ready to will him up but knew how easily the route would spit him off. To our surprise and joy he read it faultlessly, stayed strong and nailed it. We were all overjoyed.

Caro on the upper sequence of ‘Strawberries’. Copyright Land and Sky Media.

The slate was a big objective for us all from the beginning of the trip, so with a slightly dodgy weather forecast we headed in to the Dinorwig Quarries.Unfortunately we didn’t have such a productive time, the climbers found the transition on to the smooth frictionless rock a little difficult. Cold temps and brooding clouds also dampened everyones spirits. We finished the first day with little in the way of footage and headed back, determined to snatch something in the morning before we left for Pembroke. As promised we returned early the next day with Hazel and snatched a covert solo on bath time wall in Vivian. This would have to do for now.

James and Caro. Copyright Land and Sky Media.

From day one all the climbers were looking forward to Pembroke, with a big collection of hard routes and a friendlier climate it looked to be a productive leg of the tour. But we had to get there first! Oh boy, that was a long drive, the truck rolled in some 9 and a half hours after leaving Pete’s Eat’s in Berris. Finally we settled at what would be our most special basecamp, St petrox campsite. We let the climbers go off and do their own thing for the afternoon, take some time to get used to the climbing and find a route that they wanted to hit the next day. In two days we filmed a handful of E6′s, took some creative shots from the water, got badly sunburned and finished by filming James and Caro’s ascents of ‘The Jackals’ in Hunstman’s Leap.

Matt having some ‘Matt’ time. Copyright Land and Sky Media.

Hansjorg on his slightly terrifying ascent of ‘Big Softy’, Pembroke. Copyright Land and Sky Media.

Off to Nesscliffe! Again we gave the climbers a chance to look at some routes and sample the rock for the afternoon while we prepared for the next day. What can I say about this day……it was epic! Most hard routes ever filmed in one day by a single film crew? Probably not, but we got a lot done. We were at the crag by 9am and rolled back in to camp at 10pm with cards full of quality climbing. Sadly Hansjorg had left us the previous night to ready himself for adventures in Baffin, as had Matt Sharman who had other work to catch up with. They were both sadly missed. Routes filmed – E7 ground up, 2 x E7 on sight, 2 x E8 head point, E8 on sight and an E9 squeezed in at the end!

James getting ready for the terrifying leap that nearly worked! Copyright Land and Sky Media.

Diff filming Caro on Yukan 2. Copyright Land and Sky Media.

There was some talk of Devon as a last stop of the trip, but the weather in the Lakes was stunning, and that doesn’t happen very often. How could we finish the trip and not hit the Lakes? Again we packed up and got trucking for the last leg, rolling in to Langdale in baking temperatures and wall to wall blue sky. Weirdly as we were interviewing James the clouds began to roll in and we were treated to a booming thunderstorm of warm rain. We took off our t-shirts, played football and slack lined in the downpour for over an hour. It felt really good to be back in the lakes.

Such a pleasure to have one of my bezzy mates and his big yellow truck along with us! Copyright Land and Sky Media.

We set out early for the last day of the trip with our longest walk in ahead of us. Our limbs felt as heavy as our packs and the sun was scorching. I quickly began to enjoy the gruelling walk up and got my head down, looking forward to the mountain crag experience. The wind was whipping round Pavey Ark and cooling things down enough to make some hard climbing possible. We had two routes to film, an on sight ascent of ‘Sixpence’ from Hazel and a flash of ‘Impact Day from James. We rigged while the climbers warmed up…..actually, I sat and ate a sandwich feeling a little guilty that Diff was doing all the hard work. He had insisted though so I let him get on with it. With a cool head once again Hazel effortlessly floated up ‘Sixpence E6′, showing that she is, without doubt one of the most naturally gifted and fearless trad climbers in the country. To step up and on sight E6 is impressive anywhere, but up on the high lakeland crags is totally inspiring.

Hazel on ‘Sixpence’ E6. Copyright Land and Sky Media.

With that in the can James got sorted and set off up ‘Impact Day’, an E9 put up by Birkett a few years ago. James showed, like Hazel, that he has amazing talent as a climber and added his some muscles to the mix climbing right up the steep wall to the high crux. Upon reaching a slopey rail in the hard 7a crux, James tried to find the crucial foothold that would stop his body swinging…but missed, and took another of his signature flying trips right back down to the belay some 20 metres below. Nutter. He promptly got back on and climbed it second go!

James leaving the rail on ‘Impact Day’. Copyright Land and Sky Media.

So there we have it. It was an awesome two weeks and a pleasure to spend time with everyone on the trip. I leave for the Dolomites on Friday to reconnect with my climbing and get my first taste of big walls, then the edit will begin. I’ll keep you posted! :)

Me having a ‘i love my job’ moment. Copyright Land and Sky Media.

There are lots more pics to see on the Hot Aches and Land and Sky Media Facebook pages too!

All photographs are the property of Land and Sky Media and cannot be copied without permission.

‘Odyssey’ – a climbing road movie.

Well we kept this one quiet didn’t we!

As mentioned I have had two big projects in the planning stages, one being Edgelands and the other being a film for Hot Aches Productions, directed by myself, which we are announcing today. We will be leaving this friday for a two week tour of the UK with a team of climbers, film crew, a base camp manager and our driver Andy! The principle vehicle in our convoy will be this beast.

So lets meet the team!

James Pearson

Caroline Ciavaldini

Hansjorg Auer

Hazel Findlay

‘Odyssey’ is a road movie that celebrates the best of British trad climbing, from the clean steep Basalt of Dumbarton Rock to the raging sea cliffs of Gogarth, four world renowned climbers take an exclusive tour round the UK to tick off some of our most fierce and inspiring routes. Cinematic filmmaking, cutting edge traditional climbing and a 7.5 ton converted truck – the Odyssey begins!

We will be posting updates, photos and behind the scenes action on the Hot Aches and Land and Sky Media Facebook, so keep your eyes peeled for progress! Lets hope the weather gods are good to us and we’ll see you on the other side!

Edgelands work begins

I have been hibernating for months over the winter as I have had two major film projects in the planning process, as well as a few little projects bubbling away too. I have also had a major house move to keep on top of but I am finally getting to a point where I can start filming scenes and sequences.

The Edgeland project is in full swing and I will be collecting footage and interviews all through the summer. I thought I would post a write up of the brief for those who are interested. I will also post little nuggets of progress as the project takes shape.

This is a hugely exciting project and is going to take me in many different directions, creatively and geographically . Here’s a little snapshot of whats happened so far!