Whilst in the midst of setting up my new gallery (hence the timeline gap in my blog, more on that later!) I was commissioned to photograph Greg James’ Pedal to the Peaks Challenge for Sport Relief; the sort of work that is right up my street in presenting a unique challenge, but little did I know that the weather would hugely intensify an already daunting few days.
Greg’s challenge coincided with what became known as “The Beast from the East”, a suitably comedic personification and catchier way of saying “a massive arctic outbreak due to a disrupted polar vortex with an anticyclonic structure which is going to beast you with snow and ice”.
With his imminent switch to BBC Radio 1’s breakfast show, Greg will undoubtedly face challenges acclimatising to being at the helm what is perhaps the worlds most iconic radio show. But after getting to know him a little whilst he was out of his comfort zone on the highest mountains of Scotland, England and Wales, during some of the most extreme winter weather we’ve experienced in decades, I can only imagine that he’ll take his latest challenge in his stride.
A unique challenge requires a unique kind of hero (hopefully I’m not quoting a Marvel comic!) and Greg is undoubtedly that. My hero’s come from the chronicles of the mountaineering, skiing and kayaking world, but all too often their niche legacy struggles to transcend into the world of popular culture where it would undoubtedly provide infinite inspiration; step up Greg James.
Over the course of a bloody gruelling challenge, Greg raised over £1,000,000 for young people struggling with mental health, simultaneously entertained a nation, all the while bringing the benefit of sport and the mountains to the masses. As far as inspiration goes it’s pretty tricky to do more with your week!
I wish Greg every success for his new show at Radio 1 and hopefully, the following set of images provide a bit of inspiration whilst he gets stuck into the challenge ahead! And hopefully, despite having to bike and hike through an anticyclonic polar vortex he still has a hankering for the hills!