For those of you that haven't seen Terry's first major documentary, Life of a Mountain: Scafell Pike then where have you been? Set over four seasons, it was a film less about the mountain itself but of the individuals and communities that live, work and play in its considerable shadow. Featuring a cast that includes legendary fell runner Joss Naylor, mountain guide David Powell-Thompson, broadcaster Eric Robson, author and backpacker Chris Townsend, mountaineer Alan Hinkes and a host of other Wasdale residents it was a sumptuous 2 hour epic. There is a short trailer here which will give you a taste of what you have been missing.
Anyway back to the new film. Blencathra is a bit of a hot topic at the moment and has hit the headlines due to the landowner planning to sell it in order to raise funds to pay off the families death duties and so Terry was persuaded to change his plan of following the Scafell Pike release with a film about Helvellyn in favour of this one (Helvellyn will now be the next subject and final instalment of the Life of a Mountain trilogy).
Having been very impressed by the Scafell Pike film I was a little worried that this documentary might be just a copy using a different mountain, however, my apprehension was soon dispelled. Stylistically the films are very similar, lots of stunning time lapse shots of the mountain looking gorgeous and/or dramatic in a variety of weather conditions, cloud inversions, snow and at night. But there were differences as well; there was the introduction of aerial footage from drone cameras which definitely added a different perspective (literally) and there seemed to be a greater emphasis on the village of Threlkeld and its relationship to the fell that rises above it. Some familiar faces from the Scafell Pike film reappeared with David Powell-Thompson giving both a form of introduction and conclusion to the work as well as the ever chirpy Alan Hinkes crossing Sharp Edge in full winter conditions laughing to himself all the way.
In the Q and A session after the showing I asked Terry what lessons he had learned in producing the first film and how they had influenced the second. His response was that he had filmed the Scafell film almost with no real plan and then just put it all together into a film, almost hoping for the best but with this one he had a definite plan. That growing skill at storytelling really seemed to come across very nicely with a definite beginning and end in the shape of David Powell-Thompson almost bookending the work with his pieces to camera from Threlkeld Common looking towards the rugged face of Blencathra across the A66.
|Corinne, Terry Abraham and I have a quick Hinkesie|
Having said that the sequence with comedian Ed Byrne and broadcaster/writer Stuart Maconie being escorted across Sharp Edge genuinely made me chuckle (a bit of it here) and Alan Hinkes' self deprecating humour about wandering the hills looking for people to have selfies with has led me to now call such photos Hinkesies.
All in all an even better production than first Life of a Mountain episode, which was itself excellent and a definite progression in terms of Terry Abraham's filmmaking art and I'm now really looking forward to the Helvellyn one in, probably, a couple of years time.
Both films are available to buy from the Striding Edge Productions online shop by following this link