Thursday, June 05, 2014

BBC Filming on the Tees

Hucking of Low Force

Next year is the 50th Anniversary of the Pennie Way and as part of the celebration the BBC a filming a 3 part documentary and have asked me to take the shows presenter, Polar Expedition and Diving Guru National Geographic's Paul Rose on a paddling journey down part of the route. The Pennie way follows a good chunk of the River Tees, one of the places I paddled a lot growing up, so as soon as I got the official invite it I knew instantly where to go to get some classic northern paddling and gem Yorkshire dales.
The mighty River Tees

Filming time

On a beautiful British summers day, with rain pouring heavily and not a blue sky in sight, I set off up north to paddle the River Tees with the Beeb. With the help of Desperate Measures, Peak UK, Carnegie Great Outdoors, Go Canoeing, Sweetwater Coaching and Mitchell Blades I had enough kit and a strong team to ready tackle the mighty Tees. We set of in the rain with cameraman Phil, producer Paul, presenter Paul and my safety and logistics crew Phil and Den. Paul (my co pilot) when asked previously about his boating experience, several times expressed his love for open boats. We didn't have any open boats to hand so on arriving at the river we broke to him gentle that it would be kayaks instead. Paul's prior kayaking experience was minimal so he was about to be immersed into a fast track course on whitewater and drops. Luckily Paul and everyone else was up for the challenge. So together we missioned all the gear into the main section of the High Force - Low Force run and set about getting some good shots. 

Phil sets up an epic Go Pro Filming rig

Thumbs up and action

As the weather cleared and the river levels came up we hit the river doing multiple runs down the S Bends / Dog Leg rapid, Low Force and the Bottom Drop. The Jackson Kayak Dynamic Duo was our boat of choice and worked legendary.  It successfully helped us glide, bounce, drop, sink and fly of each of the drops.  It was the perfect craft for this type of job. In no time at all Paul had kayaking mastered, helping expertly steer the boat around the S bends, before we progressed onto the 7ft high low force drop! Miraculously with no swims and without dropping any of the camera kit into the drink we made it down to the final drop and out under the bridge. The photos looked great and show us styling everything. We will have to wait until next year for the show to be aired to find out if the video tells the same tales. In true northern style, we finished the day, as every boating trip should, with a pie and a pint down at t' local pub.

Blasting down the S bends

Lineing up for the drop

A massive mystery move in the Dynamic Duo

Resurfacing ready for move

The show will be aired across the UK on BBC 2 and regionally on BBC1 in 2015. Thank you to Dennis Newton and Phil Scowcroft for the photos and all their help and handwork on the day. 

Thanks guys