You know me, I don’t like outdoor books or films unless they’ve got Tom Wier in them, but I do like to see the mountains as part of the bigger picture; in context as part of the land and there’s lots of books and films that have that. None made in the past thirty years mind you.
It was with both a wide grin and a melancholy mood that I watched Young in Heart (scroll down the linked page about half way), a collection of Scottish short films from 1958 to 1975.
The first film is Rivers at Work from ’58 and the one I bought the DVD to see. It tells some of the history of the building of the hydro schemes and has some fantastic footage of the Loch Sloy scheme being built. It shows them digging up the Arrochar Alps, tunneling, fitting the big pipes and more. It goes to Glen Affric, the only glen that had trees growing in it 50 years ago it seems and also to Peryhshire, Loch Quoich and the far north with great footage of all of it, in colour too.
Young in Heart from ’63 is an optomistic look at the Hillman Imp, a wee car built just over the river from me in a fcatory that was doomed from day 1. But, it’s full of footage shot around Ullapool, Coigach, Inverpolly and Assynt, where they took the car to show that it represented freedom for the prospective buyer. The footage of the hills, every one an unmistakable shape, and the narrow roads is a joy.
The other three films have more Arrochar and Cowal, some Strathfarrar-ish views and even some nice footage of the Kilpatricks. It does look wierd without the Erskine Bridge.
The industrial stuff is marvellous, it shows what we’re capable of as a nation if given the chance. All the narrators of the day spoke of a grand future, plans for expansion or further development which never came. Indeed, the only thing featured in any of the films that’s still fully operation are the hydro schemes. Such is the nature of economics and the constant search for the maximuim profit from the smallest investment.
It’s a brilliant DVD, full of life and hope and disappointment softened by nostalgia. As funds become available I may invest in more of their incredibly expensive range of titles.