The geology of iconic rock climbs: Filming for The One Show

Posted by lcb14 at Jan 10, 2014 10:10 AM |
On a cold and sunny day in December, Professor Sarah Davies met up with the film crew in the picturesque setting of Dovedale in the Peak District. She was there to take part in one of a series of short films for the BBC’s The One Show about the geology of some well-known UK rock climbs. Here's her blog from the day...
The geology of iconic rock climbs: Filming for The One Show

Professor Sarah Davies

Dovedale is one of my favourite places in the Peak District. The flowing river, changing light and grandeur of the steep limestone sides make it a fascinating place to visit. The limestones exposed in the valley sides started as reef knolls and carbonate muds forming in a warm, shallow subtropical sea teeming with life some 340 years ago. Eventually buried and lithified, flowing water generated as ice melted at the end of the last ice age carved valleys, caves, arches and pinnacles into the rocks once they returned to the surface. One of these pinnacles is Ilam Rock, this was the location of the climb and the subject of the film.

Filming was really interesting largely, as is often the case, because of the people involved: the director, the cameraman, the sound engineer, the presenter, the climber and the National Trust warden. We drove through the River Dove in four-wheel drives, always fun, to get the equipment as close as possible to the Ilam Rock! Two people were also filming aerial shots with a remote-controlled hexapod with an attached camera. I was there to explain some of the geology of this area. My biggest challenge was trying to remember what I had said as we took repeated takes while the clouds shifted and the light changed or I dried up or a new camera angle was needed. I tried not to think about being filmed, but it wasn’t always easy.

I wasn’t there to climb the Ilam Rock, thank goodness, that was left to the professionals: a climber and the presenter. I had looked at Katy’s Whittakers (the climber) website, and my knees felt strange just looking at some of the pictures of her ascents. Given one of her dislikes is being cold, I really felt for her during the wait to start climbing when, on a winter’s day, the sun dipped into to Dovedale for just a very short time. The presenter, Andy, had lots of creative and interesting ideas for new short films involving diving and rock climbing. Unfortunately I didn’t see the climb, so it is great to view this on the final film along with the stunning aerial shots.  I appear in the film for just a few seconds but it was a fun and fascinating experience.

The film aired on The One Show from 7pm on Wednesday 8th January and is on iPlayer after that date, the article is about 50 minutes in to the program.

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