VIDEO: The Black Cuillin

In this excellent video from Nadir Khan we see mountain guide Paul Tattersall take us along the classic Cullin Ridge on Skye.

"The Cuillin Ridge is the most celebrated and fearsome of all of the Britain's mountain ridges. Difficult route finding, unremitting steepness and exposure and a degree of technical climbing set it apart from anything else in the UK. Paul Tattersall first climbed all the Cuillin peaks with a mountain bike over his shoulder and guides traverses of the ridge and walkers seeking to achieve the summits of the Cuillin Peaks."

Paul is probably still one of a very few people to have lugged a mountain bike up every single Skye Munro (that now-famous Danny MacAskill video is something a little different).

In 2013 he also managed two end-to-end traverses of the ridge in a day (see his account here).

Filming on the ridge has its own particular challenges. We asked Nadir Khan to tell us a little about it:

'We shot the film in September this year over two days' he said.

'We were super lucky with the weather, great atmospherics and changing all the time. You can get all sorts of conditions in just one day, or even in one hour, but that's Scotland. If you dont like the weather just wait five minutes!' 

'I've been on the ridge before shooting and one of the images that made it into the LPOTY this year was shot last year on sgurr nan gillean and a cover of Trail magazine was also shot last year.' 

'Skye is a challenge. You're climbing from sea level and there's significant horizontal distance as well as vertical ascent so carrying tripods, sliders , multiple lenses and bodies etc makes for a lot of kit to get the footage. I have an assistant to help with the load carrying and Olly Bowman was along helping on this shoot.'

'The weather is so changeable so getting reliable forecasts is key. For the Cuillin seems to give the best hour by hour forecast so you have a chance of planning the day. Sometimes you will set off in rain, hoping that the forecast for it to clear by the time you get on the ridge is true.'

'It's a steep place to shoot, but I've climbed all my life so I'm happy on this terrain. Doing something bad to my R medial cruciate ligament made the second day on the ridge painful but the weather wasn't going to wait so it was painkillers and man up.'

They shot the northern section of the ridge on the first day, from Am Bhasteir to Sgurr nan Gillean, and then shot the footage from Alasdair to the InPinn.

'We basically followed Paul, shooting from locations to get the best views of where he was' said Nadir. 'We stayed on the ridge with him essentially and set up shots as we came across them.'

'Paul has done the ridge plenty of times but with the two-day weather window we had, we used his knowledge of the ridge to rationalise what we filmed. Essentially we wanted to get the sections that show the ridge of to its full beauty, give the feel of the ridge to someone that isn't familiar with it or has never heard of it and capture something of the amazing place that Skye is... When it's not raining !'  

'I filmed the whole thing using a Canon 5D mark iii, 24-70 f2.8 ii, 70-200 f4,  tiffen variable ND filter, manfrotto tripod , glidetrack slider, F-stop loka bag, gopro3+'


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