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Monday, 9 June 2008

Cairngorm 'Crane' capers with camera crew...!

Fantastic weather and a long, tiring, but fun few days with the production team of Tern TV. With presenter Nick Crane they are filming the latest Mapman series entitled Britannia.
I was providing advice, guiding and support to the film crew on their amazing journey from Braemar into the Lairig Ghru and up and over the Devils Point to their high arctic tundra camp at almost 1,000 metres. The following day we had to travel across the vast featureless stony mossy plateau to our pickup point at Glen Feshie. A serious place in bad weather with huge distances little shelter from the high winds and no mobile phone reception.
While filming the camera crew assistants and production team had to carry the large heavy camera equipment, tripods, sound equipment, monitors, spare batteries, two days supply of food as well as all the essential hillwalking, survival and camping kit.
Weight wise fortunately, Mountain Equipment had supplied some excellent strong lightweight geodesic mountain tents (Dragonfly 2) and compact subzero rated down sleeping bags for the crew.
I too had my lightweight Black Diamond Firstlight tent and my cosy Rab Summit 300 down bag. I stripped out the frame sheet of my Pod Cragsack and rolled my sleeping mat inside to further reduce weight. Lightweight waterproofs my trusty Rab VR and cosy Generator smock kept me warm in the twilight as clear skies meant the temperature dropped close to freezing eating dinner at midnight on the high Cairn Toul / Braeriach plateau.
However my plans for a nice light rucksack had been scuppered somewhat when I was politely asked if I could carry the essential three two litre stainless steel flasks of coffee! The flasks actualy weighed more than all my camping kit even when empty...
After leaving Derry Lodge early on Sunday we arrived at our high camp on the plateau above Corrour at 22.30 hrs - due to the filming! On Monday the original plan was an early start to cross all the way over to Glen Feshie by 10.00 am before the winds picked up - however there was filming to be done, the winds picked up and it was 4.00 pm before the crew arrived back...!
Meanwhile Fi and Kim were on the Cairngorm high tops too with their bivy kit enjoying the fantastic weekend weather with lots of walking, scrambling on Angel Ridge and Munro bagging. Some great photos of the Cairngorms and Scotlands summer snowfields in the arctic corries of Braeriach and Ben MacDui can be seen on Fi's blog.

Also on Sunday my friend Walter had apparently passed us during the filming near Derry Lodge on his way up to climb on Sputan Dearg's Amethyst Pillar on Ben MacDui. He said it was fantastic as can be seen from the photos...
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