Tuesday 5 April 2016

Ben Nevis - Wild Times

Ben Nevis · Wild Times from Nevis Landscape Partnership on Vimeo.

I’m delighted to finally be able to share this film that I’ve been gathering footage for since last summer. The Nevis Landscape Partnership asked us to make a series of films for them related to the Ben Nevis/Glen Nevis area over a few years. Last year we focused on the huge survey of the Ben Nevis north face.

This year I wanted to focus more on Glen Nevis, and great people who are connected to it, both in the past and today. One place that I have always found one of the most special places on the earth is Steall in upper Glen Nevis. In the film I featured a little of the history of the folk who lived there, just a couple of generations ago. 

One of the things I find fascinating is the idea of the similarities and differences between the people of the past who lived and worked in these places, and those who use it today. Often, today people are using the mountains for sport, although many are also lucky enough to work in the mountains too.

I decided to do a bit of filming with local Fort William GP and British fell running champion Finlay Wild. Finlay is well known among the locals for winning the Ben Nevis Race every year and breaking various running records around the Scottish mountains, such as the Cuillin Ridge record.

I wanted to ask him about his relationship with The Ben and the Glen - whether the mountains seemed less wild or intimidating when you are fit enough run up Ben Nevis in less than an hour? What went through his mind while he was running? And for someone who could live anywhere, why he chose to stay among the mountains he grew up in. His thoughts on these issues were great, all with the backdrop of his amazing running.

I was particularly keen to capture his winter ridge runs with my drone and naturally it took a bit of time and organising to get a day when it might be possible to fly in full winter conditions. We waited in falling snow and mist until we were all freezing and finally the clouds just started to clear. At first I didn’t think the drone batteries would handle the cold, but I got one warmed up enough to fly and got some nice footage that to my mind captures something about why you would want to go to such effort to get fit and deal with all the hardships of the winter mountains and training. I was so exited to see the ‘drone’s eye view’ of Finlay charging along a snow-clad ridge, it was hard to concentrate on flying the drone.

After all the work of putting this together, I had a short break and start filming the next one tomorrow!


  1. Lovely little video Dave, well done, enjoyed that!

  2. Nice film, great to see some running action in Winter on the Ben... need to come to Scotland now

  3. Hi Dave, great film, I think you capture the link between leisure/work and landscape really well, so many ways to 'be' in the landscape... As a matter of aside, I was bouldering in Glen Nevis and stumbled on Tom Leppard's old howff (the 'Leopard Man' - google him!). It's really well constructed but he hasn't lived there since the 90s I believe, now retired to a home on Skye. It's an interesting human story and interviewing him would be a coup! I can show you the howff next time I'm up if you don't know it? - bizarre story of how I found it! John

  4. Very well made film. High quality footage. It really gives a strong sense of atmosphere and immersion.