For our wedding anniversary this year we walked the Brecon Horseshoe. The weather wasn’t good so, although it didn’t rain, there was no view as we were up in the clouds the whole time. We walked the route anti-clockwise, but skipped out Fan-y-Big as we’d been up it in the spring. I’d love to go back when the weather is better and do the walk again in good conditions. It’s supposed to be really picturesque.
It’s that time of year again, the time for My RØDE Reel, a film competition which challenges filmmakers of all levels and abilities to put together a three minute short film on a theme of their choosing. Last year I entered the competition with a short about my husband Ed’s running. We filmed it together in an afternoon up at the Lickey Hills in Worcestershire. We both enjoyed the process so much that I wanted to make a film again this year, too.
This year’s film is a gliding documentary, and stars my father-in-law Roger, who is a glider pilot. It’s set in the Cotswolds at Cotswold Gliding Club near Stroud in Gloucestershire. For the uninitiated, gliding is a competitive air sport. Pilots fly unpowered aircraft, and stay airborne by finding and using thermals, ridge and wave patterns. Some gliders also have small engines for the purpose of sustaining flight in sub-optimal conditions, but the aim of the game is to stay in the air and traverse long distances by following thermals, ridge and wave patterns across the landscape.
So, to the film. I wanted to make a documentary, as it’s my favourite form of filmmaking. I love making really natural films and keeping things simple and real. As such, I knew that I wanted to follow Roger as he arrived at the airfield, set up his glider and prepared for launch, just as he normally would when going for a flight. My plan was then to cut the footage together with a voiceover of him speaking about gliding, explaining how he got into the sport and the reasons why he loves it so much. I also hoped that we would have a chance to get up for a short flight for some aerial footage, but gliding is so weather dependent that I was unsure if a flight would come to pass.
Back in May we set two dates in the diary for filming, to increase our chance of good weather. On the first date, it was overcast and rain was forecast for the afternoon and evening. We went up to the airfield anyway at around midday, and I captured lots of footage of Roger going through his safety checks and setting up the glider. I also captured plenty of b-roll around the airfield, for example signs, the wind sock, long grass blowing etc. All of the little shots that I like to think of as the glue that holds the story together. Ed helped out with filming, too, capturing footage of me filming Roger which I knew I would need for the Behind the Scenes video. In the end, we didn’t get up that day as the wind was too strong and we were the only people at the airfield.
Here are some photos and a short film from our holiday in Cornwall over the May half term. The photos are a mix of film and digital, as always, and I’ve added locations as captions. I’d like to recommmend a visit to Potager Garden Café if you have the time and are in the area. It’s a lovely little cafe, tucked away in the deepest Cornish countryside and they have a really good cake menu with lots of vegan options. We stayed near St Austell on the Roseland Heritage Coast, but made a daytrip down to the south taking in Lizard Point and Cadgwith, stopping in at Potager on the way home. The short film at the bottom of this post was filmed at our favourite beach on the Roseland Heritage Coast; Hemmick near Boswinger.
Just before I turned 30, Ed and I spent a few days in the Scottish Highlands. We got the sleeper train up from London, hired a car in Inverness and stayed at SYHA Ratagan. It was a lovely way to end the summer and celebrate the last days of my twenties. On my thirtieth birthday, I woke up on the sleeper heading south with Ed passing me his card and whispering “happy birthday” to me quietly so as not to wake the other people in our carriage. It was low-key but absolutely perfect. I can’t think of a better way to celebrate a birthday than spending time with Ed outdoors in a beautiful place like the Scottish Highlands. I can’t wait to go back there again, perhaps for a bit longer and out of midge season!