I fell in the woods

4th November 2016

The warmly lit, remote pub held a handful of locals who all glanced over to see a clear Londoner stroll in and order a glass of red. Amongst the smell of roast dinners and a crackling fire I sat down at a large wooden table. With no shame but ample self-awareness I opened my dark tent and began to load some films. Madeleine joined me and we chatted as I peered over the large black cocoon.

A few months back she had called me asking if I fancied a trip to the Lake District and without knowing the brief I jumped at the chance. Lover of the outdoors this place is one of my faves. To add to the already epic scenes the weather on our recce was apocalyptically sodden. Rain drenched hills and dense fog painted the scene and we felt assured that any spot we found would be a beauty of a backdrop. As ever though, we knew that the person who would know these mounds the best was our local subject and hero Joss Naylor.

After a good nights sleep we hit the now open skies to meet Joss at his home in Oxenholme. With a frail puny frame he sat quietly, barely showing any eye contact. After a bit of nudge I followed him to pick out some attire. We decided on a few vintage items and piled into the wagon to hit the highland.

The sky was less dense and the wind was brutal. Simple chat followed as we asked Joss about his last run on his 80th birthday, lasting just over 6 hours. This man was a machine. His passion for fell running was simple. He lived it, breathed it and had little time or interest in anything else.

Occasionally barking back some warm sarcasm as we drove I felt like time was passing all too quickly. We drove to a spot Joss liked and climbed out. We paced after him as he occasionally disappeared amongst the vegetation and became a small red dot in the vast landscape.

Shooting him amongst such a raw setting was all too enjoyable as we realised we had run over time. After dropping him off Mads burnt some serious rubber to hit our train. Racing through the many shades of green on our route I leaned back in my seat, warmed my toes and wished we could stay longer.