We've finished!

6th Sep 2010

It’s all over, filming for ‘Climbing Great Buildings’ has come to an end and only a week over schedule.

Since my last blog, I have been to another seven buildings!! It has of course been hectic and as I thought more citified but I have still really enjoyed the experience, as all the buildings are very unique and have had lots of cool characteristics to keep me on my toes.

These last few weeks we’ve visited;

Glasgow School of Art

Clifton Suspension Bridge, Bristol

St. Pancras station, London

The Royal Liver Building, Liverpool

Coventry Cathedral

The Lloyds Building, London

The Imperial War Museum North, Manchester

Although these buildings have been more modern and invariably made from not-so-beautiful concrete, they have each had a charm that has surprised me. I’ve enjoyed the process of turning up at a building and looking at it thinking, ‘I don’t think I’m going to like this one’ but by the end, the building itself (along with Jonathan’s expert info) has managed to convert my thinking. I would say in pretty much all cases, this has happened.

It’s been quite an eye-opener really, in not making assumptions and trying to dig a bit deeper and gain knowledge before making decisions. A nice little added by-product from working on the series.

I think by Glasgow, the tiredness was beginning to take it’s toll on the team, I was certainly feeling it that’s for sure. I think for me the though it wasn’t just the long days and travelling, it was the fact that I didn’t have time to climb or do much exercise. My body just isn’t used to it and I suppose it felt a bit sluggish from this too. The most I had time for was a few press ups and sits ups in the hotel room, when I had the energy- it’s not really enough.

But by the end, my body (and probably mind) had got used to this way of being and my energy levels picked up a bit.

Unfortunately, we were plagued with bad weather in Bristol and had to completely abandon half the shoot. This is what put the schedule back a week, as we all had to trek back to Bristol unexpectedly after The Lloyds Building, when we should have been going to Manchester. But we were rewarded by some lovely sunshine and amazing views of the Avon Gorge. I was actually quite pleased that we had to go back to Bristol, as it’s my home town, it’s where I started climbing and it gave me a chance to catch up with my family- so bonus! I also really enjoyed the experience of being on top of the bridge and we did a massive abseil underneath it too, which was breath taking.

St.Pancras was quite a roller coaster, tempers were a bit frayed on this one, which wasn’t surprising at this stage of the filming. Overall I did enjoy this one though, as we got to do some actual climbing in the girders of the roof of the train shed. It was nice to be moving freely, rather than dangling from ropes. It was a cool structure to be swinging about in above the commuters below.

We had a couple of days break after this one and I this helped to recharge our batteries, so the last few went a bit more smoothly.

Coventry was surprisingly enjoyable, with the Baptistery stained glass window being the highlight for me. The Lloyds building was like something out of a sci fi film, so was very different from anything else we’d been on. It provided amazing views over London, including St. Paul’s Cathedral across the way, so brought back memories from the start of filming and ‘that’ amazing abseil.

We had to slot Bristol in again after this but had to wait a few days for the August showers to abate. To be honest though, we have been very lucky with weather and only to have one complete down day on the whole series is pretty good going.

Then after the August Bank Holiday, we all trooped up to Manchester and The Imperial War Museum.

I think we were all expecting rain but it couldn’t have been nicer weather. The sun shone, it was hot and the location was really lovely. It’s right on the Salford Quays that have been renovated and our hotel was on the waterfront. It was a lovely place to hang out, although we didn’t get much time for that. But it was nice that our last shoot was in such a nice place. We also had an excuse for a celebration as our camerawoman Megan turned 30, so we went into Manchester for a lovely meal.

So it starts on TV tonight on BBC2, it seems strange to be able to see it so soon but it’s quite nice that way. Although, I’m unfortunately going to miss quite a lot of the programmes as I’m off to Pembroke (yippee! Although I’m not sure how I’ll be climbing) on Wednesday, the a few days after that I’m off to Italy on an International Climbers Meet.

It’ll be great to get back into the swing of climbing again but in a funny way I will miss my 6.30am alarms and 8pm finishes.

The filming was a fantastic experience in many ways; travelling round some of the UK’s most iconic buildings and getting to know them intimately and also making good friends and that whole working in a team thing. I actually like that a lot and you don’t really get it so much in climbing, not in the same intense way.

Oh I forgot to mention that Tim ended up doing the rigging on the last three weeks, so that was nice having him around. And we now have Kodo back which is lovely. Mum did a great job of looking after her and she now has a very nice waistline!

I’m off to do 1000’s of pull ups to try and get back into shape- actually, 10 would be more realistic and quite a challenge at the mo- ha ha!!