Friday, 16 January 2015

4 years ago I chased a dream after being made redundant

BBC Life of a Mountain Scafell Pike
A selection of reviews pre-transmission for 'Life of a Mountain: Scafell Pike'

It's been a mental few days for me and my family thanks to the network premiere of my Scafells film on the BBC the other night. My phone has been red hot with calls from the press, I've had TV crews round and all the wonderful reviews from the national press of the film continue to roll in.

I'm thrilled to reveal that a smidge under one million viewers tuned in live to watch the transmission on Wednesday night too! Astonishing! BBC Four averages about 300k viewers. 'Ole Aunty' will consolidate and reveal the total figures including iPlayer et al in due course. I have to admit I'm still in a daze about it all and really have been quite moved by the public's response to the film.

I'm no fan of the TV version either! I mentioned it on the odd radio interview and even here the other week. It was extremely difficult under pressure from the Beeb to put more and more of the film into a 60 minute edit. It killed a lot of the poetic fell scenes I was keen to keep for TV. Alas, it would appear on the face of it, I hadn't any thing to be too concerned about. C'est la vie.

I was also reminded today that four years ago this month I was officially made redundant from my previous deskbound role in I.T! I'd have guessed five years to be honest. Anyway how uncanny is that given the current circumstances?

If one told me I'd be where I am today all those years ago, I'd have laughed and laughed and laughed. On reflection it's been a crazy few years too - especially for my family. I've made some great friends along the way and been humbled to the core with the support from so many of you. I'd be a nobody without the support of many of you and that's the truth.

Thursday, 8 January 2015

Date set! Scafells film on BBC TV

BBC Four Life of a Mountain Scafell Pike Terry Abraham
60min abridged edit. Date set!

"...one of those plain and simple, knock 'em dead nature documentaries...a complete delight."
Radio Times, Documentary of the Week

"A beautifully filmed documentary that is good for the soul."
Daily Telegraph, TV Highlights

"With it's sweeping cinematography and sonorous score, there's a touch of the art-house classic Koyaanisqatsi about this enchanting documentary focusing on England's highest mountain."
The Guardian, Pick of the Day

2015 is here and it's starting off with a bit of a bang for me. Next week will see the first transmission on BBC TV of my recent Lakeland film 'Life of a Mountain: Scafell Pike'. 9pm Wednesday 14th January on BBC Four followed by iPlayer and no doubt several repeats too over the coming 3 years (which is the duration of the contract I signed and agreed to with ole Aunty).

It's been tremendously hard work having to edit a succinct 60 minute abridged cut of the full film. Initially the BBC wished to screen the whole 2 hour edit, but due to their scheduling it was dropped to 90 minutes and then finally 60 minutes!

Tuesday, 6 January 2015

Pulled - Zip wire attraction in Glenridding

no zip here glenridding
Illustration of the zip wire proposals in Glenridding.

A few weeks ago, the Lake District National Park Chief, Richard Leafe and Treetop Trek owner Mike Turner attended a parish meet in Glenridding to discuss the proposals for a zip wire attraction in the area. I'm thrilled to reveal that as a consequence of the gathering, petitions and more has lead to the plans being dropped.

Mike Turner stated that if the locals overwhelmingly voted against the attraction, he'd drop all proposals and seek an alternative location in the national park. You can read more about the plans and initial petition HERE.

A parish vote was held and thankfully the vast majority chose to favour the No Zip Here campaign.

Ironically, Mike Turner has come out of all this with a lot of credit and admiration for sticking to his word with regards to engaging with the locals listening to all their points of view and of course not proceeding with the initial proposals.

However, Richard Leafe has had his reputation further tarnished in the eyes of many who live and work in the national park. Not only was he keen to promote and support the zip wire attraction, but his continued ambition to make the Lake District National Park an "adventure capital" has brought into question for many people the direction he continues to seek for the future of the area.

Wednesday, 31 December 2014

Happy New Year from Wasdale!

Yewbarrow Lake District National Park Wasdale Wastwater
Looking mighty fine! Yewbarrow from the shores of Wastwater.

It's a dull and overcast day here in the Western Lake District as I type this blogpost from my laptop enjoying a family holiday from the confines of a delightful cottage in Wasdale. Despite the variable and inclement weather, I've been able to get out and about and enjoy some fine scenery the Wasdale and Eskdale valleys have to offer. My favourite part of Cumbria (a few pics below).

Before I sign off though, I'd like to wish all readers to this humble blog a Happy New Year!

Thanks for popping on by and for your continued support with my work out in the hills. It's always a pleasure to share with you all the sights I'm privileged to savour - something I never take for granted, believe me.

Best wishes for 2015 and I do hope it's a good one for you all!

Wednesday, 24 December 2014

Merry Christmas folks!

Season's Greetings! Merry Christmas! Happy New Year! 

Monday, 22 December 2014

Is it winter yet? Glorious scenes from Wasdale

Buckbarrow Lake District
Buckbarrow at sunset from Whin Rigg, Lake District.

Is it winter yet? I have to ask as the following series of photos from my recent trip to the Lake District appear positively autumnal! I had anticipated cold temperatures and a fair amount of snow up on the high fells. Alas, much of my kit was 'overkill' thanks to the prevailing weather conditions.

It all started so well. After spending a night in Keswick ready for a DVD and print signing the following day with my good friend David Powell-Thompson in the local Cotswold Outdoor store, much of the town was draped in soft snow - walking about the backstreets one couldn't help but put on their best impression of "Bambi on ice".

After much banter and meeting folks in Cotswold, me and David made our way west to Wasdale where I was going to spend the week relaxing, catching up with friends and wandering about the nearby fells.

The whole trip was a much needed tonic for me and I can't wait to go back again soon to see in 2015.

Time spent out on the often wet, windy and bitterly cold tops gave me further opportunities to practice with my new Sony A7S camera. Again it passed with flying colours. Most of the photos below were captured on the camera (mobile phone pics will be obvious). I have to say I've been rather lazy and not processed them at all in the likes of Photoshop.

All the pics are straight out the camera via WiFi. They're not full resolution as a result. I've compressed them further too to make them more web-friendly. The only image manipulation you may notice (if I may call it that) are the use of Lee filters to balance the exposure of bright skies with dark foregrounds (or vice versa). Either way, I hope you enjoy them!

Thursday, 11 December 2014

Cotswold Outdoor, Keswick. DVD and print signing with yours truly and David Powell-Thompson

terry abraham david powell-thompson cotswold outdoor keswick
Come along and say hello!

This Saturday I'll be in the Cotswold Outdoor store in Keswick, Cumbria with my good friend TV researcher and mountain guide David Powell-Thompson. David has worked on many TV shows over the years with a focus on our beloved great outdoors including 'Wainwright Walks' with Julia Bradbury and a number of features with Cameron McNeish to name just a few.

We'll both be free to have a good ole chin wag about stuff and will also be signing DVDs and prints too. So if you're about in Keswick this Saturday, do pop along and say hello!

Tuesday, 9 December 2014

Fix The Fells - Unsung heroes and heroines of Lakeland

Lake District National Park
The beautiful Lake District National Park.

“Neither paths or eroded scars are natural but to my mind a properly built path is less intrusive and does less damage to the environment.”

I’ll be the first to admit that some of the paths that have been repaired by Fix The Fells of the Lake District National Park in recent years aren’t the best to say the least. They appear neither to protect or conserve local habitats or make for easy or safe walking. For example, the path that leads up to Red Tarn via Oxendale in the Langdale Valley is a bit of a death trap in wet weather let alone in winter. The stepping stones are short, closely-knitted and slope downwards - encouraging users to walk either side of the path to avoid ‘dancing on ice’ and taking a considerable tumble. This route was undertaken for repair almost 10 years ago.

And of course more recently there has been some controversy concerning their work on the route up to Sail which lies between Crummock Water and Derwentwater, appearing more akin to a motorway for hikers which has had a considerable negative effect on the aesthetics of this high sloping hill.

All said and done, I’ve got to know the rangers of the Fix The Fells team very well over the past year or two and despite some initial misgivings I’ve been enlightened to how they go about their work currently, in the past and future. They work tremendously hard in all weathers and terrain ensuring paths are suitable to their local environment while protecting and caring for the Lakeland fells.

I’ve become a great admirer of their craft, care and passion for the uplands of Cumbria and I have to say much of the criticisms they receive are based upon short-sighted thinking (including my very own) - even if some of their techniques have not been looked kindly upon in years gone by and deservedly so if I’m honest. But they’re always learning, trying new ideas, with their hearts in the right place and we should all tip our hat off to the teams for that alone. Even the volunteers too!

So now I’m back home, settled and spending more time with my family instead of the fells, I thought I’d share some information and thoughts with you from the Fix The Fells team and hopefully readers of this blog will gain some insight into what they do and why - and perhaps appreciate the bigger picture with regards to their place within the Lake District National Park.

I for one certainly have and consequently intend to continue my support. One of the many unsung heroes and heroines of our beloved fells.

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Terry Abraham
Outdoors filmmaker who wild camps to capture the landscapes at their very best. Also a blogger, photographer and gear tester.

I've been known to write from time to time and am a big fan of real ales.

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