THERE’S often a feeling of the surreal when you summit a mountain in moonlight, but this one really took the biscuit.
I was on Stob Coire Sgriodain, a rough, rocky mountain near Fort William, which provides a superb view of the fjord-like Loch Treig and the rail line running along its shore some 3,000 feet below.
Perched a few hundred feet away on a rocky promontory was a film crew recording every step of my progress.
The four-strong team from the Hamburg company Elbmotion - Torben, Tina, Felix and Matthias - had joined me to capture what it was like to be a mountain moonwalker.
The shoot was for a documentary about the West Highland railway line which runs from Glasgow to Mallaig.
None of them had done anything like this before, and the nerves I was feeling were nothing to do with being camera shy. I was simply concerned that taking four non-mountaineers up a hill in total darkness was a serious proposition - I wouldn’t be able to relax until we were all down safely.
The light was beautiful as we set off, the ever-shifting cloud formations producing ever-changing colours in the late evening sky. A near full moon was forecast but most of the time it stayed hidden.
Normally this mountain would take around four hours up and down but with the need for so many different camera angles and variety of shots it took us nearly eight.
I was filmed going up, going down then going up again with up to six different cameras, interviews with various backdrops and a range of long distance and close-up shots.
I had to step across the same stream three times, reclimb the same parts of the mountainside over and over again.
Everything was filmed - reading the map, putting on my rucksack, my gloves, my hat. They even did a close up of my boots as I walked. I predict my feet are going to be big in Germany.
The day before I had been filmed arriving at Corrour, the remote rail halt made famous by the film Trainspotting, now becoming more famous for the superb restaurant there run by Lizzie and Ollie.
By a stroke of luck, the film crew were there as three young Scots guys were taking part in the restaurant’s Man vs. Stag challenge.
The boys had gone for a run up Beinn na Lap in preparation for tackling a towering combination of more than a pound of venison burger, black pudding, egg and all the trimmings. They had 30 minutes in which to finish. Two of them failed to vanquish this monster, the other shattered the previous record of 29 minutes with a ten-minute scoff. It was history in the making.
As for my big scene. I walk into the restaurant, am greeted by Lizzie and she immediately she offers me a pint. To be honest, the dialogue won’t win any awards. Just as she’s pouring a Corrour Gold, Torben shouts ‘Cut’.
If he thought the mountain was dangerous, then stopping a thirsty Scot from getting a free pint is just downright suicidal.
No, he explained, you are heading off to the hills so you wouldn’t be having a pint. He had a point even if I didn’t have a pint. Typical Scots - never know whether they are coming or going.
(First published Daily Record, August 29, 2013)