Unless you’ve been hiding beneath a huge ice bucket for the past week or so you could hardly have failed to see the new Danny McAskill film – The Ridge, where the great Scott tackles the Cuillin Ridge on the Isle of Skye in the Scottish Highlands.
Danny’s amazing street trials videos made him something of an overnight star a few years back – thanks to his instant and resounding Inspired Bicycles Youtube hit in 2009, and somehow or another he’s managed to produce a whole series of incredible follow ups, which have seen him become a household name in the UK, and way beyond too.
Born and raised on the remote western Isle of Skye he grew up virtually in the shadow of the Black Cuillin Ridge, the most dominant and impressive feature on the islands skyline. Until he started filming The Ridge he’d never scaled the 7-mile ledge, which includes some 12 Munro’s (peaks over 3000 feet high), and which is regarded as the most difficult “scramble” (clambering and climbing on exposed terrain – usually without ropes) in the UK, and which takes around 20-hours for a fit scrambler to complete in good weather.
So far we’ve seen Danny performing mostly urban based feats, which never fail to blow your doors off, but this wild and exposed ridge ride took things to a whole new level, one where ever turn of his wheels could potential end his life; “I just tried to think of it as a normal path, without the huge drops to either side, and to focus on not clipping pedals or bars.” He told BBC Radio Scotland a few days back.
Throughout the filming a BBC film crew also followed the team, and a documentary was aired on mainstream UK TV last weekend. All done the project took 6 long days of filming, with a full team clambering up and down to different peaks along the ridge on a daily basis; “The longest day was 23 hours, but we were lucky with the weather.” Danny said.
It had been a long-term goal, or wish, to ride a bike on the ridge; “I grew up looking at it, and always wondered if it would be possible to ride my bike on it. I spoke with Stu Thompson (Cut Media film maker) and we decided to go for it.” He said in a radio interview.
Showing off the beauty of Skye to the world was a huge driving force behind the project; “I wanted people to see just how amazing it is. I had a rough target in mind for hits on the film, but within a few days it had reached somewhere in the 10 million region – which really surpassed all expectations.”
A couple of weeks before the film was released I’d interviewed Danny at Eurobike, not long after his somewhat controversial Playboy Mansion video had been released; ‘I was in California and we got a call from my sponsors asking me to do it – it wasn’t something I’d planned myself, but it seemed harmless enough. In the UK Playboy has a really soft reputation, so I didn’t think it would offend anybody.” He told me.
He also hinted at the release of he Ridge when I asked him if everything else was put aside (finances and sponsorship) what would he really like to do; “There’s something just about to come out that was a big one on my list, and the Argentinean (Epecuen) was pretty special too (I wasn’t expecting it). But, Japan, it’s always intrigued me, and if the opportunity arises I’d love to do something there.”
Stay tuned; Danny’s films are always something extra special, but to top the Ridge? That’s a big ask…
The Ridge, and the entire catalogue of Danny’s films can be found at http://www.dannymacaskill.co.uk/videos/