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on 12 December 2011
The Longhope Route DVD, features Dave Macleod the Scottish superstar climbing making the first completely free ascent of the Longhope route at St John's Head, Orkney. St John's head is the largest sea cliff in the UK and probably the most inaccessible, involving 2 ferries and a 2 hour slog just to get from the coast of Scotland to the top of the cliff! The DVD captures Dave Macleod climbing a "trad" pitch at his physical limit after several hundred metres of loose, sandy, fulmar infested adventure climbing. But, this is not all the DVD has, for it is not a "run of the mill" climbing DVD. The DVD also follows Ed Drummond, the first ascentionist of the Longhope route back in 1970, revisiting St John's Head. Ed Drummond, who has had Parkinson's disease since 1993 adds a beautiful, deep feeling to the film as he discusses what must have driven him to make the first ascent of the Longhope route. It is the combination of the interviews of the poetic Ed Drummond recounting his terrifyingly adventurous ascent of the Longhope route, combined with the never-fading determination and grit of Dave Macleod that makes this DVD unlike any other climbing DVD I have seen. The footage that captures Dave Macleod is incredible. The cameramen follow Dave on his numerous visits to St John's head, spending hours cleaning lichen and grime from the route, training hard on his bouldering wall in his home in Lochaber and meticulously planning every detail of his ascent. This is followed by footage of Dave single-mindedly slapping his way up the beautiful headwall crack. Every moment is captured in superb, crisp video footage by the Hot Aches crew.
There are many climbing films that are good, but this one is simply superb. The Longhope route is one that you will watch time and time again.
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on 29 November 2011
It is small wonder that this film won at the KMFF. Paul Diffley has eschewed dynos, techno and power screams for something altogether more lasting (though equally impressive as an athletic feat, if not more so, than those depicted in other films following the more 'traditional' climbing film format). Instead this film has a real narrative, telling the story of the first ascent alongside that of MacLeod and Turners attempt. The words of the first ascentionist are poignant, poetic and really have impact-I watched several of these segments more than once simply to hear him again-and he is no less charismatic on camera. Quiet, thoughtful and genuinely inspiring as a person.

The climbing is well shot but does play second fiddle to the story, a bold choice, though MacLeod freeing the A2 pitch does induce palm sweating and breath bating. The shots of St Johns head in all weathers are impressive and manage to convey a sense of scale despite the sheer enormity of the wall.

All in all a logical successor to "The Pinnacle" from the same director. These two films stand out as the most mature and moving mountain related films I have seen and I look forward to what Hot Aches produce next.
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on 15 December 2011
Another great adventure story put onto the screen by Hot Aches! This film has something for everyone and tells a unique tale about a daring first ascent up the Longhope route at St John's Head in Orkney. It brings together a great combination of hearing the historic original ascensionist's epic daring climb and watching a modern day attempt at climbing the route. This is a great story and manages to touch on the adventure, the thoughts and fears of the endeavour back in the day and now. There are unique characters to this tale and the poetic touches from Ed Drummond are something to see, along with his companion Oliver Hill, who he seemed to push well out of his comfort zone. Dave MacLeod and Andy Turner's climb is nail biting and hearing about the sea birds adds yet another challenge to contend with alongside the lichen covered sea cliff! Although there are some touching and thoughtful moments throughout this film there are also some hilarious moments that make this truly a great film and most deserving of the "People's Choice Award" at the Kendal Mountain Film Festival! I'm looking forward to the next project!
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on 29 November 2011
This DVD by Hot Aches Productions is just brilliant!
It captures the history of the first ascent in 1970 by Ed Drummond and Oliver Hill, first free ascent by Dave Turnball and John Arran in 1997 and now the totally free ascent by Dave Macleod, and all the associated emotion that comes with it!
From the sea crashing at the bottom to the cotton plants at the top, and every fulmar inbetween, this committing ascent is fantastic!

"Take an F8c+ sports route, there are probably hundreds more like it. There isn't another Long Hope route anywhere"

Andy Turners' humour beautifully balances Dave Macleod's determination, making for a brilliant pairing.
Along with the hard, technically climbing produced by Dave, comes engaging interviews from the first ascentionists, as well as amazing locations, cinematography and editting.
500ft of climbing, with the crux right at the end. Will Dave make it?

All in all, this film beautifully encapsulates the struggle, both to climb the route, and of Ed Drummond's personal struggle against Parkinson's. A must see!
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on 20 December 2011
A lovely film with universal appeal, which is as much an historical tale as it is a recount of one of the most impressive rock climbing achievements of our time.
Weaving the tale of the pioneering first aided ascent with Macleod's supremely technical free ascent by way of original photos, poetry and narrative all set against a beautiful and wild backdrop, this film illustrates the how far climbing has advanced in an immutable landscape.
Macleod's typical modesty and Drummond's poignant return to the scene after so many years gives the film a humanity often lacking in this genre - this is extreme adventure at it's most accessible.
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on 27 April 2012
Another outstanding ascent by Dave MacLeod, but rather disappointing as a DVD. Contains some very good sequences and good historical context, but lacks abundance of full-on action shots found in other Hot Aches productions. I suspect on-site filming was contrained by a bunch of problems such as weather, but especially the fact that it's an f great sea-cliff facing the Atlantic, the sandstone is very weathered and unreliable in places, and bits fall off.
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on 13 April 2013
This film gets 5 stars from an armchair mountaineer and 6 stars from anyone who has seen the line of the climb! A mix of great filming of the first free ascent and recollections of the historic first ascent. Artistic Directed and well Edited. A gripping reminder that there is still real adventure to be had in the Uk.
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on 11 January 2014
The footage of the climb is suberb plus a very interesting retrospective from Ed Drummond himself.
The extras are very good too..especially the footage of Dave's attempt on The Indian Face.
Recommended viewing and another great film fom Paul Diffley.
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on 22 June 2012
Scrivo in italiano, la mia lingua. che dire?! come tutti i film dove c'è Dave Mc Leod protagonista è una garanzia di qualità e di fuga da qualsiasi retorica autocelebrativa. Asciutto ma poetico - bello il parallelo tra i primi salitori della via nel 1970 e la ripetizione free di Mc leod - emotivo, rende bene l'atmosfera surreale del luogo e lo spirito avventuroso tutto britannico come da tradizione British. Interessanti anche gli extra. Uno neo per chi come me non è madre lingua inglese, l'assenza di sottotitoli, tantomeno in italiano. Il "particular" speech scozzese è difficile da comprendere per noi italiani.

Comunque un ottimo acquisto, peraltro gestito ottimamente tramite Amazon.


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on 18 March 2016
Awesome !
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