09 April 2020 by Brân Devey
During these difficult times, we’re probably all in need of more inspiration than usual to keep us going - a bit of scenic beauty or maybe some light entertainment, and ideally a combination of both.
I have spent a fair few hours scouring the internet - as well as my memory - in search of films, documentaries, podcasts, tv series and films that remind us of the drama and beauty that surrounds us in the outdoors.
Hopefully, I have managed to capture something for everyone to enjoy. For starters, here are some films.
Top 10 walking, climbing and outdoor adventure films
Films about walking and hiking are not always easy to find, so I have tried to balance it with some mountaineering based films as well as some adventure films set in the wilderness and stories of outdoor survival. Here’s my top 10 for you to enjoy!
1. The Climb
For the light-hearted options, I’ve gone for two films that I really enjoyed, The Climb (L’Ascension) – a French language film about a young man growing up in the suburbs of Paris who decides to try and climb Everest to impress a girl he likes. Visually stunning as it was filmed in the Himalayas, it’s also a nice feel good film loosely inspired by true events about the first Algerian to summit the mountain.
2. Hunt for the Wilderpeople
My second choice feel-good film choice is Hunt for the Wilderpeople – not strictly a walking or climbing film, but an enjoyable tale of an adventure in the wilderness set in the stunning landscape of New Zealand. 'Problem child’ Ricky from the city is sent to live with foster parents in the countryside. Things go reasonably well until the death of his foster mother, when Ricky and foster father Hector flee to the bush to avoid him being sent back to the orphanage, ultimately sparking a national manhunt .
The other choices in my top 10 focus a bit more on drama and overcoming adversity or emotional turmoil. Many of us know how much the outdoors can help us reflect and clear our minds, so in many ways it’s only natural that many films have been centred around this theme.
3. Into the Wild
Into the Wild is a bit of a cult classic, based on a true story about a young man who hiked across North America into the Alaskan wilderness in the early 1990s. The film is as much about the interactions with the people he meets along the way as it is about the adventure itself.
Wild starring Reese Witherspoon follows the journey of Cheryl, a woman who after years of reckless, destructive behaviour, makes a rash decision to take on the Pacific Crest Trail, a 1,100 mile route. With absolutely no experience, driven only by sheer determination, she hikes the entire route, alone.
If you enjoy Wild, then you will also enjoy Tracks, based on the true story of Robyn Davidson, a young woman who leaves her life in the city to make a solo trek through almost 2,000 miles of sprawling Australian desert. Accompanied by only her dog and four unpredictable camels, she sets off on a life-changing journey of self-discovery.
If you’re are looking for something more intense and epic, then Everest might be just the film for you. Again, based on true events from 1996, when climbers from two expeditions start their final ascent toward the summit of Mount Everest, the highest point on Earth. Challenged by the harshest conditions imaginable, the teams must endure blistering winds and freezing temperatures in an epic battle to survive against nearly impossible odds.
7. 127 Hours
Following the theme of survival, 127 hours from British director Danny Boyle recounts the true story of mountain climber Aron Ralston's remarkable adventure to save himself after a fallen boulder crashes on his arm and traps him in an isolated canyon in Utah. Over the next five days Ralston examines his life and survives the elements to finally discover he has the courage and the wherewithal to free himself by any means necessary.
8. A Walk in the Woods
For something more reflective, A Walk in the Woods is based on the memoir of the same name by Bill Bryson. The retired writer challenges himself to hike the Appalachian Trail - over 2,000 miles of America's most unspoiled, spectacular and rugged countryside from Georgia to Maine. The peace and tranquillity he hopes to find, though, is anything but, once he agrees to being accompanied by the only person he can find willing to join him on the trek - his long-lost and former friend Stephen Katz.
9. The Way
If you enjoy A Walk in the Woods then The Way should be next on your list, a film about an American father travels to France to retrieve the body of his estranged son, who died while attempting the pilgrimage to Spain's Santiago de Compostela. He resolves to take the journey himself, in an effort to understand both himself and his son.
Finally, a bit closer to home is the story of 83-year-old Edie who believes that it is never too late. Packing up an old camping bag, Edie leaves her life behind and embarks on the adventure she never got to have - climbing the imposing Mount Suilven in Scotland.
We hope you enjoy Bran's outdoor film selection. If you have any recommendations to share, why not let us know on our social media channels.
Keep up to date with all the ways you can get involved in the Ramblers #RoamSweetHome campaign over the coming weeks.