All Posts Filed in ‘Video


Hiking To An Active Volcano in Iceland


My girlfriend and I just returned from a trip around Iceland and to say that it over-delivered would be a massive understatement. On researching the trip (which started with a couple of days road tripping around Reykjavik) I was expecting us to see a lot of waterfalls and hike up a few mountains. What I didn’t realise was that we were going to end up doing something I never thought I would by hiking to an active volcano and watching lava spilling out of it.

Under normal circumstances I wouldn’t go near a volcano without an expert guide – those things are unpredictable and incredibly dangerous. Sure the lava will liquify you in seconds, but the gasses a volcano emits are arguably more dangerous as a change of wind direction can have catastrophic results. When my girlfriend mentioned visiting the volcano once she saw it on the news I was at first not keen (to say the least). We were staying at an AirBnB and the host (who was Icelandic) described it as a “tourist volcano”, meaning you can just walk to it safely as a tourist. He said the volcanoes that erupt in the glacier regions are the dangerous ones but this one would be no problem. So the next morning off we went in our hire car to do the 10km walk in.

The walk in started along an easy angled gravel track used by the rescue vehicles going back and forth, mostly carrying water as the volcano had ignited half the hillside in the previous days. What’s interesting is the entire landscape was clearly created by previous volcanic eruptions and all the surroundings were solidified lava covered in moss. You could see the evidence of volcanic activity everywhere you looked. This was clearly a land formed by fire and it was no surprise our host was unfazed by an eruption – it’s been a fact of life in this part of Iceland for millenia.

Eventually we rounded a corner and caught our first glimpse of the actual volcano.

We kept a respectful distance from the solidified lava but to see miles of it covering the landscape having only started erupting a couple of weeks before gave us an idea of how powerful they. Particularly given this one is called “Litli-Hrútur” or “little Ram” so is only small in the volcano world. I started getting excited as I knew we had a long way more to walk and that would take us very close to the actual crater and as you can just see in the photo above, the lava was bubbling away.

Another hour or so of walking the crater finally came into view in all its glory. Everything smelled of a barbecue due to the entire area being on fire a couple of days before. There were helicopters circling overhead, giving lazy tourists a view of the crater from above. But seeing the lava bubbling just a few hundred metres in front of my eyes – having seen countless documentaries over the years showing the same – was just magical. As you can see in the video below:

We took the obligatory selfies, photos and videos, then just sat down to stare at it just off the solidified lava field. When I was a child I remember reading about volcanoes, what caused them, how dangerous they were and I always imagined what it would be like to actually see one, but never really thought I would. As I sat there watching I knew my 5 year old self would have been so jealous of me!

Of course this was the one trip I didn’t bring my drone along to (since I’d often carry it and just leave it in my bag). Fortunately there were plenty of other people flying them capturing even more incredible footage, like this over on Instagram.

Truly a once in a lifetime experience and I still can’t quite believe we saw it! In spite of the long hike in there was a steady stream of people all day and every one of them will have left with an astonishing memory to last a lifetime. As for the rest of my time on Iceland, it’s a beautiful country I’ll definitely return to for some more in depth exploring.


Rock Star To Marine Corps In One Minute


I don’t know about you, but every couple of years I get sick of being mistaken for a rock star, tired of women chatting me up all the time and have had enough of guys looking at me with jealousy in their eyes. When I can’t stand any more I decide it’s time to get my hair cut off to scare them all away!

Ok, all of that is a complete lie. What I meant to say was that every couple of years I get sick of shampooing and conditioning my hair all the time, tired of having to try and make it look anything other than a total shambles and have had enough of it getting in the way and making me overly hot when playing football. When I can’t stand it any more I decide it’s time to get my hair cut off so I can focus on the important things in life – and stop being obsessed with my hair!

And today was just such a day. Time to switch from rock star to military man. So here is that transformation process in all its glory courtesy of my lovely assistant. Sort of like going from a moth to a caterpillar. (If you can’t see it in your feed reader, click here).

There, all gone! And I’ve got lots of hair to start work on a Yeti costume! 🙂


My Annual Camping Trip To Pendleton


I mentioned last year (wow, is it a year already?!) that some friends and I meet up and camp in a field in the small Lancashire village of Pendleton every year, have a barbecue and hit the town of Clitheroe for a drunken night out. We always have a great time and I continue to be surprised how nice Clitheroe is for a night out. It’s the sort of place you see people from 18-75 having a drink in the same place and always has a nice atmosphere.

As you can see we actually had sunshine this time. Over the past couple of years it’s generally been cold, cloudy and inevitably rainy (i.e. a typical British Summer) so the sun was a pleasant surprise.

Sunshine In Pendleton

Last year we were blown away when we attended a karaoke night that seemed to be filled with very talented professional singers making our efforts look even more lame than usual. This year there was a beer festival in one of the pubs so we spent most of the evening there sampling the guest ales before moving along to a couple of other venues. Before I knew it we were getting taxis back to our field in the middle of nowhere and seeking out our tents. Time flies when you’re having fun!

We had a couple of guys with those fancy tents that you take out of the bag, put on the ground and as if by magic pop up and you have a tent ready to use. You don’t even need to put your drink out to do it. They look pretty cool and while I know my tent can handle anything a British Summer (or Winter) can throw at it, it’d be nice if it only took 5 seconds to assemble. However these pop tents do have a downside which I recorded a video of – they take an age to put back in the bag!

They got there in the end but I think I’ll stick with my tent for the time being!


The First Step To Growing Our Own Veg


My good lady and I decided we’d try something a bit different this year. We decided we’d like to grow our own veg. Last year we started watching the BBC cornerstone show ‘Gardeners World‘ (which is something you start doing at my age I believe) and the sections we found most interesting were presenter Joe Swift on his allotment growing vegetables. I know from friends who’ve grown their own veg in the past that everything tastes better than what you can buy in the supermarket. Even the lowly carrot can be a flavour explosion even if it doesn’t look as straight and neon-orange as one shipped into your local Sainsbury from Venezuela. We thought we’d have some of that.

So a couple of weekends ago we acquired some planks of wood and built a 2m x 1m frame that we’d fill with soil and grow things like carrots, leeks and onions among other things. We also decided we’d convert our rather pathetic water feature into a 1m x 1m plot and grow some more veg. And to top that we’d grow some potatoes in bags and expand our strawberry growing project that was such a success last year. We ordered a tonne of quality top soil and this weekend had the small task of shifting that soil and filling up our newly built veg plots.

My camera has this cool time lapse feature so I thought I’d put it to good use and condense an afternoon’s hard graft into a couple of minutes for your viewing pleasure below:

The thing I love about time lapse videos is that it looks like we know what we’re doing – but I can assure you we made it up as we went along! We were also lucky to have our neighbour’s daughter over to help with finishing the job – it’s not surprising that a 6 year old would want to get their hands dirty! 😉

Anyway, the next step is to figure out exactly what we want to grow and when we should start the planting. I’ll keep you posted!


Commercial Breakdown – The Sony Bravia Ads


Since I got Sky+ I very rarely see adverts on TV (it records the entire series of any programs I actually watch and I skip all the breaks) but when I sit down to watch something live, like the rugby world cup match last night, I have to sit through the things. Like most people I tune them out and treat them as background noise. It takes something really special to get my attention.

Then my eye was caught by a scene of some buildings in a city and a couple of drops of clay that turned into rabbits and started bouncing around what could easily have been New York (turns out it was). And then some more appeared. And more and more, all to the sound of the Rolling Stones and all in a busy city full of people. It was incredible, and the more the advert went on the more incredible it became. Here, see for yourself:

While I have no intention of buying a Sony Bravia TV (I’ve happily got a Toshiba LCD TV thanks), I have to say that their three adverts are a cut above pretty much any other ads I can think of. The first was of quarter of a million rubber bouncy balls bouncing down a street in San Francisco and the second was of a fireworks display set on a council estate in Glasgow – except instead of fireworks it used exploding paint! Have a look at their website where you can see how they made these ads, as well as the ads themselves in full.

While the point of advertising is ultimately about making money, it’s really nice to see ads like these that show the creative talent of people out there (and particularly heartening to hear the high number of British accents on the ‘making of’ video). And to see an advert that actually brings a smile to my face and makes me gaze in wonder is a rare thing indeed. I’ll be interested to see how they manage to top this one!


A Guinea Pig Tug-O-War


Since moving to a Mac I copied all my old documents, photos and videos across to their new home. This gave me a chance to have a good trawl through the last few years of my life which has been quite interesting. One video clip that made me laugh was the following one of my guinea pigs fighting over a stick of celery a few years back:

Whitie (in the video) lasted a good 8 years and sometimes when I rustle a bag of salad I can still hear her squeaking (if you tune out my inane cackling you can hear her in the video). So many happy memories!

You know, I’m sure I don’t sound that Scottish now. I think my accent may have softened after years of living in Yorkshire…


A Day Of Rest And Filming


Well, my long suffering girlfriend is away on a sailing holiday in Turkey. My brother is away in Inverness (the north of Scotland). It’s a warm sunny day with a light breeze to keep the temperature reasonably warm. I’m going mountain biking somewhere in the Yorkshire Dales tomorrow, but I’ve decided that today is a rest day.

Back in my hardcore training days I used to designate Sunday as my day off exercise and I’d train six days a week and just loaf around and eat on a Sunday. The reality was that Sunday would actually be my “Day Of Pain” as my body would take the time to try to heal itself from all the punishment it had taken over the previous six days – and that hurts. So it didn’t really feel like much of a rest. But nowadays I don’t do anything like that and a day of rest is really a “Day Of Rest”. And that’s what today is.

But instead of lying around on my sofa all day I decided it was about time I got some video of myself doing keepie-ups. For those of you who don’t know, football (or soccer if you think those huge guys running around in body armour are playing football) is about the world’s most popular ball game. And to improve skills most players spend a fair bit of time doing “keepie-ups” or “ball juggling” as it’s also known. This involves keeping the ball in the air using all parts of your body except your hands. Actually, hacky sack is a game based on the same principle that Americans will be familiar with…

Anyway, while I may not be much of a footballer I am pretty good at keepie-ups (if I do say so myself). So to prove it to myself I got my beloved digital camera out (which shoots video) and recorded some of my skills – so you can see and judge for yourself. I hate to sound egotistical, but looking at what I got (and I only spent a couple of minutes filming, much to the amusement of my neighbours) I think it’s pretty good for a Scottish lad (you may recall me mentioning the dire state of Scottish football the other day). Anyway, here goes:

When I was a kid I used to play in goal and I was terrible. I had no idea what I was doing and I recall our team being beaten 14-0 one time – and I still played in goal after that. Of course, if I had the confidence and skill I have today I’d have played as an attacking midfielder and scored a great many spectacular goals, but I learned too late. Although one thing hasn’t changed. I’m still completely hopeless in goal, I’ve just never gotten the hang of standing in the right place to close down the angle…

Anyway, if you’ll excuse me I’m off to watch some more TV and just generally take it easy. Enjoy the video and note that no, there isn’t somebody holding the ball on a piece of string above my head. Honest!