My girlfriend Clare works at a forward-thinking wine importers in Leeds called Bottle Green.  Every now and again, the company organise a sport challenge for any staff who fancy it, mainly for a bit of fun.  This year they headed to the Lake District and entered into the Cumbrian Commotion!

One of the acclaimed ‘TrailPlus Adventure Challenge Series’, it’s essentially it’s a 10km trail-run, 25km of hilly mountain-biking and 1km kyak race on Coniston water and around the Grizedale forests.  It’s done in teams of 3, takes 3 to 5 hours to complete, and the unique activity sequence is only revealed on the morning of the event.

Bottle Greeners entered in three groups of three, and I was given the option to join them for a lazy weekend around Ambleside and Grizedale!  I’m so glad I did too, because the weather was simply glorious, and for a weekend in March it couldn’t have felt more like summer.

I decided to pass the time by filming a stack of clips of the event on my Sony HX9v compact camera and cut it together into a mini event video!  Here it is:

If you can’t see it, click here to check it out on

It was all filmed on this tiny Sony HX9v camera, which I bought for January’s trip to Australia because it shoots beautiful, high-frame-rate (50p) HD video.

I’ve already posted a few blogs about this ace little compact (including the ‘Australia 2012’ highlights movie I filmed on it [here], the smart Sweep Panorama’s it shoots [here] and other Aussy highlights [here]).  This Cumbrian Commotion video has a similar feel to the ‘Australia 2012’ video, both cut to the beat in short snappy clips.

For geeks wanting a little technical inside info on how I turned the AVHC 50p clips into to these finished videos, check out the Australia 2012 post here.

While I filmed this vid up in the lakes, I did run into one issue worth discussing.  The dreaded dead battery!

Whenever I buy a new camera, I generally buy a bunch of spare batteries (usually more powerful, cheaper 3rd-party ones). Today’s cameras, with their big LCDs, drain batteries like number Jonny 5!  For the Sony I’ve got 3 batteries.  It’s got a slightly annoying charging system, where you can only charge the battery when it’s in the camera, via the camera’s USB interface (ie. it has no ‘click-in’ mains charger).  I thought I’d charged all the batteries a week or so previous, and began blazing away in the morning.  After not long of intensive use, battery 1 got weary, so in went number 2.  Which was dead.  Oh dear… Number 3?  Only a bar, hardly a drop of juice.  #Denied.

So after a few judicious clips of the cyclists departing, I ran back to the car, drove an hour round trip to the hostel to get the charger, then left the camera on charge in a nearby bike rental shop for as long as I could get away with.  In the car I was singing Eye of the Tiger, which seemed lyrically mighty poignant:

“Went the distance, now I’m not gonna stop
Just a man and his will to survive”

Fortunately I was filming a 3+hr event and not an egg and spoon race!

As soon as I saw the first team bounding down the hill I bombed to the shop, grabbed the camera (which in almost an hour had only added a single bar of charge!), and had just enough juice to catch all three teams panting in!  Close call much?!   I’d have checked my DSLR batteries the night before a wedding, so why I didn’t check the Sony batteries I don’t know?  With three charged batteries I reckon I could’ve caught some cooler footage, but still feel happy with the finished result.  As with most video, the life is created in the edit (that and going up against ‘Eye of the Tiger’!).

So here’s my tip: Always have spare batteries, and never assume they’re charged!

Cheers for reading, kids.


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