On October 8th 2011 Supermarket People entered a competition to win a trip, courtesy of Shell fuels, to Abu Dhabi. The prize involved having a ride on a fast roller coaster and driving some cars. One of the perks was the business class seat on the flight from Heathrow.
We didn’t win the competition, but for our efforts we received a full tank of premium Shell unleaded or diesel. To celebrate this momentous achievement, we thought it would be a nice idea to look at the making of our entry.
The competition task was to produce a short video of between 30-60 seconds duration. The video had to encapsulate the notion of power and performance; the theme was designed to relate directly to Shell, who sponsored the competition.
There were a number of options. All of the options revolved around the concept of a reporter delivering scripted words into the camera, rather like what you see on the news. One of the ideas involved the reporter standing on the pitch in a football stadium. Option B was to visit Stonehenge; the third option was to travel to Bristol and to the headquarters of the next land speed record attempt, Bloodhound SSC. These locations were chosen to represent the idea of passion and performance.
The option we chose was Snowdon, in North Wales. Yes, Snowdon, the tallest mountain in the whole of England & Wales. The challenge was to climb the mountain and record a video from the summit; on paper, the football stadium was a better idea.
The alarm was set for 5am and we were on the road by 6am. The plan was to arrive at our destination by 9am to begin the walk to the summit. Our guide for the trek was Lewis Taylor. Lewis is an experienced climber having ascended Scafell in the Lake District and many of the more tricky mountains that surround Snowdon itself. An hour into the walk and we got lost; or another way of looking at it: we were not on the correct path. We weren’t on a path. After a short rest for liquid and a banana we followed a group of walkers some way ahead of us; we lost sight of them and had to make our way across boggy ground. Lewis’ knowledge of the mountain meant we did eventually find, via a significant detour, a proper path.
The video was shot below the summit and just below the cloud level. The sun was out and we didn’t want to take a risk by not filming at that point and loose the decent weather. Anyone who has climbed mountains will know first hand how quickly weather conditions can change. After the video shoot was a wrap we ascended the last few hundred feet to the summit.
An amusing outtake :
Once at the top we were treated to some great views. The weather conditions that day were favorable. There were some breaks in the clouds giving clear views from time to time. The summit of Snowdon now has a recently re-built cafe and shop. The summit was bustling with people and the trains arriving from Llanberis were packed with visitors.
On our decent we stopped for sandwiches and a beer before beginning our journey back to the car. We descended using the same track that we strayed off on the ascent. Walking down a mountain is harder work than you might expect. At the higher points in the track you need to be sure of where you are putting your feet; unlike ascending you lack control over the rocks; your center of gravity is being pushed forward by the degree of the slope and by gravity itself.
We now had another three hour drive back to our original location. We were glad to be back in the car and off our feet. The pain of blisters was eased by mile upon mile of motorway; pain levels at one point were at about 90% pain.
They say: “no pain, no gain”. In our case it was: “pain, no gain”. Well, in the case of the competition it is, (although we do have a free tank of petrol) but at least we now know that the football stadium idea was better all along.