The past year has been all about isolating and getting away from one another.
But for his latest adventure film, Perth-based James Cave took this advice one step too far, as he set off on a bonkers journey to find the most remote point on the Scottish mainland.
And, to make matters worse, he did this at the darkest, most inhospitable time of the year.
The quirky film, titled ‘On The Edge of Nowhere’, will feature as part of the upcoming winter edition of
BBC Scotland’s ‘Adventure Show’ – the 17th series of the programme fronted by Dougie Vipond which will air on Thursday (March 11) at 7pm.
The remote point James was striving for – grid reference NH 0157 7893 – was calculated using expert cartographers at the Ordnance Survey (OS), Britain’s Mapping agency.
Situated on the flanks of Loch Beinn Dearg, the remote point sits in the heart of the Fisherfield Forest, one of Europe’s last great wilderness areas, between Loch Maree to the south and Dundonnell to the north.
Unnervingly for James, the OS underlined that several other expeditions had taken on this challenge in the past, “in what seemed like better conditions and at better times of the year.”
All of them, they stated, had been unsuccessful.
The journey required James and his small team to cycle and walk a round-trip of 50km, beginning and ending in the small Highland village of Poolewe.
James said: “This was definitely my most daring adventure to date – the Fisherfield mountains are serious beasts at the best of times, so I set off with a good degree of trepidation.
“We were well prepared – but the combination of filming, carrying huge packs, and keeping warm in the sub-zero snow meant it was quite exhausting. And it wasn’t helped by forgetting our sandwiches for the first meal of the day!”
Cameron provides James with top tips about keeping warm in freezing conditions, and Colin advises how to frame that winning mountain shot.
“Having the input of such well-known figures was a real coup,” James continued.
“I think they add a great deal of humour to the piece. Cameron even pitched his tent in the snow for his piece-to-camera which was well beyond the call of duty!”
James directed, presented and shot much of the film, with his brother Alistair Cave editing the footage remotely.
In 2019, the brothers’ first collaboration was showcased at the
Dundee Mountain Film Festival, with their second screened at an international cycling festival in the USA. Remarkably, both of these early films were shot on a simple iPad.
“My first foray into filmmaking was completely spur of the moment – the weather was scorching one June day, so after slogging in the office, I grabbed the staff iPad and set off on an evening adventure to Loch Tay.
“I never thought my films would end up on the big screen so fast – but my love of telling a good story and making people laugh has helped get my work out there. And I’m really indebted to the punchy editing of my brother too!”
Since these beginnings, James has upgraded his kit and started making films for BBC Scotland’s online platform, The Social.
So far, he’s covered indoor adventures for lockdown, and a short documentary about organic farming in Highland Perthshire entitled, ‘To Beef or Not To Beef?’
‘On The Edge of Nowhere’, set in such a remote corner of NW Scotland, followed Covid restrictions at all times and had a specialist safety team available when required.
*Adventure Show: Winter Sports, Thursday 11 March, BBC Scotland, 7.00 – 9.00pm