Spectacular location for movies

Pond dippers in the national park.
Pond dippers in the national park.

“Casting 9.00 – 18.00” read the notice. I was on my way to a CNPA Planning Committee meeting in Ballater and the notice, pinned to the village hall door, caught my eye.

Always keen to improve my limited angling skills I thought I would have a look in.

As was probably patently obvious to everyone other than me the event had nothing to do with fishing at all. Extras were being sought for the latest filming of the classic Howe o’ the Mearns novel “Sunset Song.” Apparently some of the filming had already been completed earlier in New Zealand and the producer wanted to set other parts here in the National Park.

Having taught at Mackie Academy and lived in Stonehaven for many years, I was not exactly unfamiliar with the life and work of Leslie Mitchell better known as Lewis Grassick Gibbon. In fact my family had all featured as extras in the BBC version of Cloud Howe filmed in the Mearns back in the 1980s.

I was curious to find out why the producer had decided to come to Ballater rather than go back to Arbuthnott. What is it about the Cairngorms National Park that attracts film makers of all different genres to come here and inspires them to set their work in the Park?

When a national park is mentioned anywhere in the world the first thoughts that come to mind are wildlife and scenery.

The first aim of the Scottish national parks, after all, is the conservation of our natural and cultural heritage. In our Park we have created a partnership called Cairngorms Nature, to co-ordinate and manage our conservation efforts.

Included in the partnership are the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds, Scottish Natural Heritage and Forestry Commission Scotland as well as the Cairngorms National Park Authority.

On Saturday and Sunday, May 17 and 18, Cairngorms Nature will be running a festival of events to demonstrate to the public what they are about. It will be a weekend packed with events and experiences for all the family. Nature watching, guided walks, arts and crafts and landrover safaris are just some of the activities taking place across the Park.

There are two main hubs of activities, one at Muir of Dinnet and one at Glenmore. With other activities happening across the Park, there is something for everyone!

There’s no doubt that the Park offers film makers some of the world’s most spectacular locations and unlike the Howe o’ the Mearns these days, there’s less chance of a wind turbine creeping into the corner of the picture!

n To find out more about what is going on and what you can get involved in, visit our website at www.cairngorms.co.uk and follow the references to Cairngorms Nature Festival.