This is certainly a little late, but worth blogging about even after the fact. On the 3rd June (just 1 day after returning to the UK from expedition in China) I was extremely honoured to run with the Olympic Torch along the stunning North Coast of Northern Ireland.
I'd first found out about my nomination at the start of the year,whilst still in the mountains of Northern China. A teacher has put my name forward after I gave a tour of Belfast schools, encouraging kids to get outside and get active. I must admit that initially I felt quite detached from the whole thing. The email came through while I was sitting by a roadside in a remote area of Shanxi province watching snow cling stubbornly to the few brave (and bare) trees that dotted the hillside. I was less than a quarter of the way through the toughest journey of my life, and the idea that in a few months I would be jogging through a small Irish village carrying a flaming hunk of metal while hundreds of people cheered seemed remarkably alien. At that stage I didn't even know about the white jumpsuit, but I imagine I would equally have struggled with that.
As the months passed however and I happily found myself still alive on the other side of a rough winter, news of the build up for the Olympics filtered through, and I had time to ponder the whole thing. I'd be carrying a flame which would pass through the hands (not literally) of 8000 inspirational people, travelling the length and breadth of the UK and ending up in the Olympic Stadium to mark the start of one of the biggest moments ever in British Sport. That, I figured, was pretty cool.
For anyone interested in how we made the TV show while trekking, here is what we carried. Creating a legacy of an expedition is a huge plus point in favour of bringing along cameras, but it doesn't half result in a lot of kit. Our warning to anyone wanting to trek and make a TV show/film is...have a think about using a bicycle!
2 x Canon XF100 cameras – Broadcast TV quality, lightweight, reasonably unobtrusive.
5 x BP-975 batteries –amazing battery life of over 3 hours each, even in sub -20
2 x Rode NTG-1 Shotgun Microphones (plus dead cat windshield)
2 x KATA CRC-13 raincover (we tried a few different versions of raincovers, and although these weren't the heaviest duty, they were the easiest to use)
Rucksacks: 2 x Osprey Argon 85 litre. Comfortable, large, and had a cool pouch on the back and side which we kept the video camera and tripod in. We also took the raincover for the summer which was excellent. The Osprey Hydraform Reservoir was great for keeping us hydrated, especially in the summer.
Tents: 2 x Hilleberg Soulo (we decided to carry one tent each to give ourselves personal space in the evenings.) These were superb in all weather. As the weather got warmer, we saved weight by switched to the Hillberg bivanorak which was just an incredible bit of kit – possibly our favourite of all!