Published 27th December 2018, 20:23

    COULD you name a famous Dutch mountaineer? I must admit I couldn't think of one off the top of my head but there are a few.

    There's Ronald Naar, who made the first ascents of many major mountains by any Dutchman, but whose fame came mainly from his part in a disastrous Everest expedition. He died later on a climb in Nepal.

    There's Wilco van Rooijen, who was caught up in the K2 disaster in 2008 where 11 climbers lost their lives. He survived and later wrote a book about the experience.

    Going further back, in 1936 Anton Colijn led an expedition to determine which peak of Mount Carstenz in Indonesia was the true summit. He reached the top of two, but unfortunately not the third, which, of course, turned out to be the highest.

    The reason for this history lesson? Well, the other night my social media feeds started pinging with messages and references from the Netherlands. This was in response to a television programme I had filmed with a Dutch crew in Glen Coe earlier this year finally being aired.

    The team from 3 op Reis (Channel 3 Travels) had been travelling the country for a three-part Scotland special, focussing on Orkney, the North Coast 500 and the mountains. They were fascinated by the Munros, and had contacted the Munro Society to have someone talk about our 3,000-ft mountains. As I was already planning to be in Glen Coe at the required time, I was asked if I could take part.

    They had timed it well; it was the start of the summer heatwave, and temperatures were already soaring when we met at 8am. Buachaille Etive Mor was looking majestic as always, with the added bonus of blue sky and bright sunshine to enhance its film star looks.

    I was greeted by the show's presenter and my walking partner for the day, Geraldine Kemper, a former model who had progressed into children's television in her homeland. She described her early TV role as similar to that of a Blue Peter presenter, and her all-action style had been deemed a perfect fit for the mainstream travel show.

    Ah, just another day in the office for me; wandering around Scotland's hills in perfect weather with a model by my side. Yeah, right.

    Geraldine was backed by a team of three – camera operators Max and Tone, and Marjolein, who was in charge of logistics. They had been on the road for a few weeks and were now in the final days of filming.

    They talked at first of reaching the summit. It was supposed to be a three or four-hour session, but with the weight of all the camera gear plus the need to stop every few steps for set-ups and shooting – not to mention the oppressive heat – ambitions had to be scaled down.

    They were due at Loch Arkaig by early afternoon for a nature walk, but their fascination with the mountain walk meant this kept getting pushed back. In the end, we were in and around the Buachaille for nearly six hours.

    We settled on a walk into the lower reaches of Coire na Tulaich, the dried-up stream bed providing some fascinating overhead shots, and then a bit of light scrambling off to the sides which provided some flattering footage.

    There were the usual walk-in shots, the drones capturing this simple approach from all angles, and, of course, the obligatory shots of our feet stamping on the path and through any patches of mud and water they could find. There's a place in every outdoor film for feet.

    As we stood and chatted at the top of a slab looking out of the corrie, it struck me that we were standing at a greater height than the highest point in the Netherlands. 

    In fact, our starting point from the road wasn't much short of the 322.4 metres (1058ft) Vaalserberg which sits in the south-east of the country near the border with Belgium and Germany. It was a relief to find that no one was suffering from altitude sickness and the film turned out well. 

    * Check out the Video page if you want to watch the film.