Thursday, 24 October 2013
I’ve just added a new climbing DVD to the webshop. It’s the double DVD of two BBC programmes I shot last year. The first is a re-enactment of one of the first recorded climbs in the UK; a crossing by three men from the Western Isles onto the Great Stac of Handa in 1867. It was quite an experience to recreate their feat of daring and a window into a way of life now long gone. The inspiration to make a film about it came from an essay by Tom Patey in an old SMC journal, where he expressed his amazement at the strength and ingenuity of the Lewismen for rigging up a rope successfully and climbing across the huge gap to the stac. Patey himself had found the crossing desperate. To film it we had to get a 400m rope that was really thick (it weighed 45kgs) and cart it across Handa and then set it up spanning between the headlands on either side of the Stac. It was quite amazing the Lewismen thought to do it that way.
The second film couldn't be more different. The huge networks of limestone caves underneath the dales of Yorkshire and the Peak District obviously have some fantastic rock features, but they aren’t normally visited by rock climbers! Myself and Alan Cassidy went on a wee mission to see if there was good rock climbing to be had in the caves. What we found was pretty adventurous and definitely out of the ordinary. First off we climbed the a big circular chamber of Jingling Pot in Yorkshire. It went at about E3 although that obviously doesn’t do it much justice since it was running with water and totally dark. But that was just a warm up for the 4-pitch monster 7c+ we climbed in Peak Cavern - the biggest cave opening in the peak, and our route was the first free climb In the whole cave. It was quite a lucky and special experience. Both programmes are 1 hour long.
It’s in the shop here.
Our new 4 pitch 7c+ in Peak Cavern on the Extraordinary Climbs film