The Solitary Rambler

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Filmed 5th to 8th May 2014
Post-production completed 4th August 2014
Running time 18 minutes
As I approach my 48th birthday I decide to spend the day in the most popular, touristy and busy spot in the  Peak District , the gorgeous village of  Castleton . I explore the village and walk a circular route thinking about how my birthdays have always been celebrated in the past.....
Filmed in the  Peak District  in the county of  Derbyshire  featuring the village of  Castleton . Other locations include  Lose Hill Hollins Cross Mam Tor  and  Winnats Pass .
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Background and production details
I felt by now I was in the swing of making short films of “The Solitary Rambler”, so after my day out filming “Lamentation in Longshaw" I went out just two days later to film the next film.

I decided that I wanted to shoot a film on my birthday. Traditionally I had always spent my birthdays with friends or family, but this birthday was going to be completely different as it would be the very first time in my life I was going to spend a birthday on my own. My mother had normally always been there on my birthday, but this year she was away travelling in Australia. Another good friend of mine, who I could have spent the day with in Mum’s absence, had recently moved to Scotland, so I couldn’t look to her to share my birthday with. There were other friends I had of course, but I decided that I wanted to completely do my own thing this year, and that was to make my “Solitary Rambler” film.

There were still many places in the  Peak District  I wanted to film and as this was going to be a birthday film I wanted to shoot in a “special” place, somewhere very popular with most visitors, so I chose  Castleton . This village is one of the hotspots, if not the hotspot of the Peak District, so it seemed a nice idea to spend my birthday there. I planned to do quite a lot of filming around Castleton and also include the walk along the  Great Ridge , i.e.  Lose Hill  to  Mam Tor . I didn’t want to do a long walk especially as I knew climbing up to Lose Hill would be fairly strenuous, so I thought I could make it a pleasant stroll without being too tiring and take a more leisurely time filming than I had done for the previous two short films I had shot.

As for a storyline there wasn’t anything in particular I wanted to tell. Therefore, I concentrated on just shooting a scenic video and to make it as interesting and dramatic as possible once it came to the adding of commentary at the post-production stage. However, I did eventually decide to talk a little about how I’ve celebrated my birthdays in the past.


A day or so before my birthday I changed my mind about when I was going to film. In the end I decided I wanted to spend my birthday more leisurely, not do a walk as such, and not tire myself out with any filming.  Therefore, I chose to make my Castleton video the day before my actual birthday. I would still shoot the film as my birthday celebration all the same. I also thought that I could film myself at home on the morning of my birthday opening my presents. Before my Mum went to Australia she had given me my birthday presents to keep in a safe place until my special day, so I thought as she wouldn’t be with me she could at least see me opening my presents at a later date if she was ever to watch this video.

On the morning of Monday 5th May I drove to Castleton arriving in the village before 9.00am. Today was May Day Bank Holliday and I knew that Castleton was going to be very busy with visitors, so I got there early in order to get a parking space before the mad rush. It did cross my mind how silly I perhaps was filming on a day that I knew was going to be absolutely crowded with tourists, but at the same time I wanted to capture the essence of how popular Castleton is, so had I filmed there on a quiet day it may have not produced the atmosphere I wanted.

I walked up  Cave Dale  for a short way to film  Peveril Castle  for my establishing shots for “Celebration in Castleton” as I had decided to name it. I then wandered around the village itself and spent an hour or so shooting many scenic views. It was already busy with visitors by around 10.30am, but by that time I had completed most of the Castleton shots I wanted, so I moved off to start my walk up to Lose Hill.

Just before midday I was on the top of Lose Hill, sharing it with many other walkers. I then slowly walked along the ridge to  Hollins Cross  eventually reaching Mam Tor. After a few shots on the summit I dropped down to begin my most favourite part of the day’s shoot,  Winnats Pass . I walked along the top of the deep gorge to take some fantastic views before walking beside the road descending through Winnats Pass towards Castleton.

At approximately 3.15pm I was back in Castleton, where I filmed several more scenes in the village including the entrance to Peak Cavern. Castleton was completely full of visitors at this time, which was what I expected, but it was nice to be able to capture it all on film. My last shot in the village was taken outside the  George Inn , in which I had already planned to treat myself to a birthday meal. The George had good reviews on  TripAdvisor , several of which made particular mention to the rabbit pie on the menu. Unfortunately, as it was a Bank Holiday of course, they were all out of rabbit pies when I got there, so that was disappointing. However, the young girl behind the bar recommended the lamb shank, but I have to admit when it arrived I found it pretty average. Never mind, it was still nice to enjoy a meal after a day of filming in and around the lovely Castleton.

On Tuesday 6th May it was my actual birthday. After breakfast I set up my camcorder on the tripod in my living room and filmed myself opening the presents I had waiting for me. As mentioned earlier I thought it would make a nice touch to add to my celebratory film, and Mum could at least watch me on video unwrapping my presents if she wanted to as she wouldn’t be there to see it on the day. I received a couple more presents over the next day or so, therefore I opened these whilst filming myself doing so.
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Previous: Lamentation in Longshaw
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