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Spotlight: The Search

Spotlight: The Search
3 February 2019

For our latest entry in the Spotlight series, we turn to 'The Search' an adventure documentary by Rufus Exton and Steve Bliss, that encourages city dwellers to head for the hills at the end of their working week.

This is a refreshingly honest and fun adventure film. Less about macho-athletic endeavours and more about the joys that can arise when escaping and getting lost in nature.

In the film we are introduced to Alasdair Macleod, a longtime fisherman of Applecross in the Scottish Highlands. Alasdair has an engaging warmth with a tangible wisdom in his words. It's clear that he leaves an impression on Rufus and Steve who dedicated the film to him after he tragically died in a fishing accident after the project was completed. Here are some words from them:

In April 2017 we spent a week in the Highlands filming what we hoped would be the pilot for an online adventure show set in the UK. A film that would showcase the wilds of this country and the great people who live and work in the places that we spend our weekends running away to.

It was never aimed at your hardened Bear Grylls fan, instead we wanted to offer something achievable to the casual camper, the city dweller who yearns to cut loose and head for the hills, albeit only for the weekend. The person who camps once a year at festivals but wants to get out more often.

Sadly this first episode had a tragic twist. Alasdair, the fisherman who took us under his wing, passed away late last year in a fishing accident. We immediately shelved the project but after speaking to his family we have decided to publish our film in the hope that it spreads his name a little further than the Highlands where he was a well known figure. As he himself wrote in his blog about the death of local man “we keep these people with us, by telling and retelling their stories.”

Please bear in mind that the film was completed long before Alasdair’s accident and so tonally it may feel at odds with the severity of his situation. Although we wanted to touch on serious messages around the power of nature and solitude and the harshness of these environments, we always wanted these films to be about the fun of getting out of your comfort zone, dicking around in nature and having a laugh with old and new friends. It was always meant to be flippant and fun, whereas now, for me, it will always be a stark reminder of the daily dangers faced by people living and working these areas.

Thank you Ali, Scotland could not have asked for a better ambassador, generous in time, knowledge and langoustine. We never got round to thanking you properly – ‘Send Alasdair a thank you gift’ was on my To Do list until it was too late. Sorry.

View the full video below or check out what Rufus and Steve are up to on Instagram.

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