A blog post by all 3 of us! We’re experimenting.

Aysha: So it turns out meeting a top director in the business of adventure media isn’t as hard as you would think. I sent Paul Diffley an email, he replied and after several months of not much contact I asked him if he was serious about working with us. He said maybe, offered us a camera to use and suggested we met at ShAFF. Which was why we went. I’d never heard of ShAFF (Sheffield Adventure Film Festival) before.

Over the hills to Sheffield

Mike: Its my first ride in the 4×4. Well done Aysha, for finding that beast. Big, spacious, comfortable. And, its great to have the team on a road trip. It was hard work getting into Sheffield because most of the roads into the center were closed for the (cancelled) half marathon.


Aysha: It’s the first time I’ve really spent time with Mike. I’m normally shy round people but we’re going to spend 5 months together which makes being shy a waste of time. We arrived in Sheffield almost an hour early and were stumped to discover all roads to our destination were blocked off. With Mike’s great navigation, we found a car park, after 45 minutes! Emma bounced out the car to help me park and then remembered she needed to pee and went into a weird cross-legged position, which still makes me giggle when I think about it, I wish I had a photo for you to see.

Emma: Yes, I did take on a Tina Turner like posture for some time due to pee-need.  We all have these problems! I loved seeing our team come together for the first time and I think we all really compliment each other.  Our truck ‘Cleo’ is the coolest thing ever, I love her dearly.

Paul Diffley’s talk on making films

Mike: I learnt lots of really good stuff from his lecture, like the rule of thirds and the 5 shot rule – take 5 different shots: establishing wide/mid shot; close up of hands; close up of face; point of view/over the shoulder shot; and a creative shot. How to set up interviews and where to stand when interviewing people.

Photo accidentally taken with a flash in a room full of media experts. Doh!
Photo accidentally taken with a flash in a room full of media experts. Doh!

Aysha: The biggest message, for me, was the importance of sound.

Emma: I felt completely out of my depth with all the technical talk.  I’m very glad I have the excuse of running for not doing too much filming!

Meeting Paul Diffley DSC00488

Aysha: I walked up to Paul, to introduce us all, expecting him to brush us off. Instead, he gave a friendly smile and said, “I’ve got a camera for you”. Which was a huge relief and delightful. Not everyone takes you seriously when you say you’re organizing a trip across Africa and you want to film it.

Can you tell me again – how do I turn the camera on?

Mike: It was amazing to meet the Hot Ache’s guy and ace that he has lent us a camera for the training run on the Cotswold way. Just need to get some good footage now. I’m looking forward to getting to grips with filming.

Emma: Very scared of having a camera pointed in my face!

The running films

Mike: It was really cool to see the running movies, especially the one about the South African guy running in Namibia (The Penguin Runner). Seeing some of the terrain we will be going through and getting to speak to the guy who filmed it.

Aysha: The running films made me realise that we need to stick to one story: either its all about Emma, or our adventures as a team, or the people we meet along the way. But I don’t think it can be all three in one film.

Emma: I loved all of the films but ‘The Runners’ has inspired me to try and get people to chat to me (and a camera) when I go out for runs.

Favourite Films: The Runners a surprisingly intimate meeting with individuals who run; The Penguin Runner one very entertaining man running across Namibia unassisted; In the High Country a beautiful cinematic film.

Accelerate UK

Colin Papworth, Accelerate UK checking Emma's feet
Colin Papworth, Accelerate UK checking Emma’s feet

Aysha: There weren’t a lot of stalls to browse but this one was flippin’ brilliant. Emma’s been needing new shoes since January but not buying any, as she couldn’t afford them. We agreed to go halves on a pair, which then caused her agonizing pain in her foot after 5 miles. This hugely alarmed me (I still can’t run, I really don’t want to take her place). And we can’t afford to buy shoe after shoe until we find a pair that don’t hurt her feet. I’ve been arguing with her to go to a specialist shoe shop so I was dead pleased that Colin, in the photo, is a podiatrist. He talked through the problem with Emma, explaining lots of stuff and advising her what type of shoe to buy. We bought the pretty shoes in the facebook photo for the absolute bargain of £40!

Random Thoughts DSC00492

Mike: It was really good to hear Aysha talk about the run and I’m learning lots from her.

Aysha: We work well together as a team. The fourth team member should probably be as chilled as Mike.

Emma: We are so lucky to have such great support from so many awesome people. Feet that have been in tights and boots don’t smell nice, sorry Colin.


Very-Inspiring-AwardWe have been nominated for the Very Inspiring Blogger Award! I like this award. Who doesn’t want to be very inspiring? Although, if I got to choose a personal attribute, first choice would be very wise, or funny, or can move at the speed of light or as strong as an elephant – I realize I’m drifting into super powers. For your adventure what super power would you like to have?

(I know that Emma also writes on this blog and so ought to be accepting the award too but, to make up for it, I will ask her to do a post on inspiration when she’s back).

Anyway back to the award. I like it. I like the idea that the blog is inspiring. And I am delighted that the award is for being “very” inspiring and not, “a little bit” inspiring.

Thank you for the award, Dear Kitty. Some Blog – who writes about anything and everything. If you are into news, especially interesting news that doesn’t make it into the mainstream, but don’t have much time for sifting through it all, this is the blog for you.

Keeping with the theme of inspiration, I have here 3 quotes, 2 films, 1 story and 1 change in attitude that enable me to do the things that make me happy. Maybe you will like them too:

1. Quote

Emma run windswept

Emma is inspiring because she does it and, whatever it is, she does with determination and a brilliant sense of humour. Perhaps, that’s what Dear Kitty was thinking as well.

2. Quote

Just Fucking Do It!

(Pam Warhurst of Incredible Edible Todmorden Unlimited)

I love this statement. If you ever have a chance to go and listen to Pam Warhurst, definitely go. Funny and full of energy. But, basically, stop with the committees, thinking you need this or that and even sometimes asking permission and just do it. I’ll do as much preparation as I can, but ultimately we’re going and we’re going in August.

3. Quote

“The wonderful things in life are the things you do, not the things you have.” Reinhold Messner

(although I frequently think, a warm house in winter, is a wonderful thing.)

4. Film

It’s not just that they scaled El Capitan without all the limbs that most people have but, that they failed the first time and had to go back to do it again. It’s the sheer determination that makes me love this short film (8 minutes).

5. Film

Wide Boyz. Another climbing movie. Sorry. We’ll make a movie about Emma and in years to come I’ll use that for inspiration. This is a 2 minute clip, but its much better if you can watch the Reel Rock 10 minute version. Then you get a feel for the two years of dedicated training that Tom Randall and Pete Whittaker do before their amazing climb. It reminds me everything takes hard work. Keep going.

6. Story (sort of)

Jennifer Steinman made a film about ultra-marathon runners (Desert Runners, its fantastic). Ultra Runner Girl interviewed her. The runners taught Jennifer. Jennifer taught me:

“The biggest thing I learned out there was that the difference between who makes it and who doesn’t has nothing to do with fitness. I saw people out there who you wouldn’t think in a million years could run a 5k race actually finish a 250k race. And those were the people that always knew they would finish. They never entertained doubt. They didn’t even allow it to enter their consciousness.

I would ask them “what does it mean for you if you don’t make it?” And they would reply, “I’ll make it.” They weren’t even willing to have that conversation. They were focused on what they needed to do next and how they could move forward. That was it. It was about the kind of mental commitment and determination that didn’t leave you any option other than to finish.”

(Here’s the link to the full article:

Occasionally, people say to Emma and I,

“If you go to Africa …”

and we interrupt with

“No, we’re going. There’s no if.”

There’s no other option. We’ll find a way. It makes everything a lot simpler.

7. Change of Attitude

Lastly, I used to think, “I can’t” a lot. It was ingrained and I didn’t even know those two words where in my head. But, when I catch them, I silence them and allow the thought “I can” and see what happens. So here goes: I can organize Emma’s run across Africa and we can raise £100,000 in sponsorship for the charities – though I’ll admit that second one makes me feel slightly queasy.


Now, I get to tag a bunch of bloggers I find inspirational  (there are meant to be 7). I nominate and recommend:

Ultra Runner Girl

Under African Skies

Fungai Neni


Sometime in March

Sometime back in March, Emma and I went to the Banff Mountain Film Festival. We were inspired. We went clubbing, we came home, we drank tequila and we talked about changing the world. Then Emma mentioned she’d run across South Africa a marathon a day for two months! I was gobsmacked and asked, “Would you do it again? … For a charity? And we’ll make a film of it for Banff?”. “Yeah, that’d be great.”

Such a simple conversation, so easy to say and absolutely nuts when you think about putting it into practice. I know nothing about organising a trip across Africa. I’ve never been to Namibia, Botswana, Zambia, Malawi or Tanzania. I don’t know the dangers, the languages, the cultures. I haven’t even started a camp fire for 20 years. How, how am I going to organise this?