Filming with Julia Bradbury for ITV on the West Highland Way

Last October, after a sleepless night in a camping hut due to 80mph gusts, rocking it side to side like a rowing boat caught in a storm, we nervously and excitedly awaited the arrival of the ITV television crew from the warmth of the Glencoe Mountain Centre.

Zoe, from Splodz Blogz, and I were on our 6th day of the West Highland Way long distance footpath and Julia Bradbury and her film crew were meeting us to record an interview for ITV’s television programme, Britain’s Favourite Walks: Top 100, which is to be aired on 30th January 2018 at 7pm.

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The morning of recording had been arranged before setting off on our adventure after the ITV team saw Tweets about our anticipated walk on Twitter. It was supposed to be three of us but, sadly, Chelsea from Loving Life In Wellies damaged her foot and was forced to go home after the 3rd day of the walk.

On the morning of the shoot, Zoe and I met people we had befriended along the route and at dinner the previous night in the Glencoe Mountain Centre for breakfast. Zoe managed to splash tea down her Ordnance Survey top (sorry Zoe!) so there was a rush to dry it before the team arrived. Luckily, it dried just in time!

The producer for the programme came into the centre to greet us and then took us to the outside to meet Julia and the rest of the team who were getting the filming equipment out of the vehicles.

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Julie came bounding over, enthusiastically introduced herself and asked me how our walk had been so far. Zoe, who had rushed to the hut to grab her now-dried top came to join us and shared greetings with Julia. We were instantly relaxed by her friendly welcome and furthermore so when introduced to each member of the film crew. The sound engineer geared us up with microphones and explained that, from that point, he would hear everything we said. We both pressed our mouths shut and our eyes widened at the prospect of saying something silly and the sound engineering hearing. Of course, I did exactly that not long

Jenni and Julia Bradbury at Buachaille Etive Moor

The first recording session was of Julia meeting Zoe and I at our hut. The lighting was checked, the camera angles were chosen then Zoe and I took up our positions in the hut holding an OS map and studying the day’s route. Outside of the hut, the crew prepared the equipment. Inside the hut we waited in anticipation, giggling with excitement. I have a thing about people’s names. I’m not very good at remembering names when I meet people for the first time and I have a bit of a fear of calling people the wrong name. Julia’s name isn’t one I should forget, but I had a moment of panic that I may call her the wrong name on camera (silly, I know!).

So, while waiting, I whispered her name to myself a couple of times, “Julia, Julia. Her name is Julia…. Isn’t it Zoe?”
Zoe looked at me, “Yes it’s Julia”, she said.
Then, the sound engineer appeared at the door of the hut, laden with his equipment. “Yes, it’s Julia”, he said.
Zoe and I giggled, remembering that the sound engineer could hear everything we were saying! The camera started to roll and Julia knocked on the door of our hut. We followed the script we had quickly rehearsed a few minutes earlier and left the hut with Julia, heading away from Glencoe Mountain Centre.

The drone was sent up into the air to record Julia walking with Zoe and I along a section of the Way. It gave us the opportunity to chat to Julia and ask her about Britain’s 100 Favourite Walks programme and her busy filming schedule. It was lovely to spend a few minutes chatting away.

Once the drone camera guy was happy with the footage, we crossed the road to prepare for filming the interview. The location is a well-known parking spot for getting to Buachaille Etive Mòr. There’s a white cottage by a footbridge over the river that is the subject of many tourist photos. We followed the track to the river and clambered down onto some rocks where we perched on for the interview. We answered Julia’s questions about the West Highland Way, equality of women in hiking and our personal reasons for choosing to do the challenge. Partway through, the big cloud that had been making its way towards us down one of the smaller glens hit us, so we made a dash for the cars. For 10 minutes, we munched sweets and chatted to Julia and her makeup artist, who were both sitting in the front seats, while Zoe and I sat in the back. The weather went as quickly as it came and we returned to the spot on the rocks to continue the filming. Julia’s makeup artist rearranged her hair and reapplied her lipstick. After 6 days on the road… I mean, path…I was feeling windswept and bedraggled.

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Julia Bradbury taking a selfie at Buachaille Etive Moor

After filming the interview, we joined the team around the boot of one of the cars to snack on a selection of treats from M&S; chocolate, nuts and pork pies. We could easily have stayed all day, chatting to the down to earth people about outdoor adventures, their filming discography and Scotland, but with 7 or so more miles to do that day we had to be on our way and the film crew had another section of the West Highland Way to film that afternoon. We said our goodbyes, lifted our packs onto our backs, grabbed a final handful of snacks and headed over the main road to the West Highland Way path that would take us to the legendary Devil’s Staircase- a steep section of path and the highest point of the whole walk.

Buachaille Etive Moor

Zoe and I chatted excitedly about the experience as we began to climb the meandering path of Devil’s Staircase. As the incline steepened, we heard the familiar sound of a drone in the distance. It came closer and closer until it was above us. It was filming us! Just a tad of pressure to keep moving on the path and not keep stopping for gasps of air! Thankfully, the sound of the drone began to fade behind us as we made the final push to the top.

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Watch Britain’s Favourite Walks: Top 100 on ITV at 7pm, 30th January 2018 to see where the West Highland Way is ranked as voted for by the people of Britain. I really hope it made the top 10!

By Jenni Tulip

I'm a bright-haired, hill walking, magpie whispering, skull collecting, tree hugging, money saving, bird watching, happy campervanning, ferret fanatic, woodland dweller sharing my stories and passion for the outdoors to inspire you to immerse yourself in nature.