Tuesday, 21 February 2012
The Fort William Mountain Festival asked us to make a short film about Dr Adam Watson to play at the festival, marking his award for excellence in mountain culture this year. I had of course read some of Adam’s work before when I’d just started climbing and was aware of his huge influence in the conservation of the Cairngorms and in many research fields including ptarmigan, snow distribution, Gaelic and many other areas of mountain culture.
Like the other people to have received this award in previous years, it was obvious when I went to meet him that he was still very much full of the same energy and interest in his passions as ever, even as a man in his eighties.
I proceeded to record a fascinating interview that could have formed the base for a much longer film, on everything from Speyside Gaelic speaking poachers of the Cairngorm deer forests over the past 100 years, to living with innuit in Baffin Island, to the 1950’s Scottish climbing scene, to the qualities needed to underpin a successful contribution to literature and scientific research. Oh, and a bit of Gaelic song!
Driving home after a thought provoking day speaking with Adam, his wife Jenny and friend Derek Pyper, I had a new appreciation for the shared interest in mountains and the people involved in them, and felt pretty inspired by the energy that Adam puts into his lifelong effort to document and share his knowledge in writing so many books. The little film we made with the help of Adam, friends and colleagues of his, and a little music from Croft No. 5 is above.