Film - Suilven: The Trail Runner

In Easter 2015 adventure sports photographer, film maker and drone pilot Chris Davies travelled to the far northwest to shoot his mate Tom Hill running Suilven, the Scottish mountain for which the word 'iconic' was invented. The result was worth the 12-hour haul from his home in Worcestershire, we think.

'Tom is a friend of mine and we usually do Mountain Bike shoots together' Chris tells us.

'He came up with the idea for the film and together we made it happen. I like working like this; taking other people's ideas and turning them into a piece of work where we're already getting great feedback.'

'I'd never been to Assynt before. When we first started looking for locations for the project Tom sent me some pictures and I was immediately sold. It was the perfect location. Iconic in look but not somewhere that too many people are familiar with.'

'It was always going to be a challenge, not just the weather but the logistics of filming somewhere so remote, especially with the drone, but with a background in adventure photography and outdoor work you soon get to learn what kit works and what shots work.'

'I'm a trained and qualified drone pilot, as is Jamie who works with me. My company has permission for aerial work from the Civil Aviation Authority... The drone we used on this project is a DJI Inspire1, which films at 4k, I also use DJI s1000 drones with bigger cameras but with a small crew (three of us including the trail runner) we had to use the smaller craft.'

'It's a 25km route so it's not possible to shoot it all in one day, at least not in the cinematic style of filming I wanted. Tom has run this route before but to make a film out of it we needed a few days. We had four days to film and lost one day to terrible weather. We filmed the footage on the ridge on day one, it was a last minute call as we started filming the start but it looked clear so we hiked on in. It was a good job too as it was too windy to fly the drone on the later days and that was always going to be key to the look of the film. We got lucky!'

'Lochinver where we were based was quite a journey, it's twelve hours drive from the Midlands where I live but certainly worth it. It's got a great pie shop too.' 

'I wouldn't recommend hiking Suilven with the amount of kit we had but I'm pretty sure we're the first to fly drones off the top!'

  • For more of Chris Davies' work see his website



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