New film set to inspire visitors to explore Scotland’s wilderness
A film about an octogenarian tackling one of Scotland’s most iconic mountains is set to inspire visitors to pull on their hiking boots, says VisitScotland, as new figures reveal 34.6 million day trips in Scotland involved walking outdoors.
Ediestars English actress Sheila Hancock as an 83-year-old widow who decides to climb the 731m tall mountain, Suilven, in Sutherland – a feat which was carried out for real by the actress herself during filming.
The film co-stars Kevin Guthrie as Johnny, a reluctant local guide who joins Edie on her journey to the summit, as Edie is determined to prove to herself and everyone else that it’s never too late.
The life-affirming tale, which features the sumptuous scenery of Assynt, is set for release on 25 May during National Walking Month, and the national tourism organisation believes it could further boost hillwalking trips to Scotland – an activity which is already popular with visitors.
New figures taken from the latest Great Britain Day Visitor Survey reveal there were 34.6 million day trips in Scotland in 2017 which involved an outdoor activity such as walking, with 9 million of those trips taking place in the countryside.
Walking is one of the most popular topics searched on the VisitScotland website, with more than 670,000 page views for articles related to the activity last year.A page on ‘Munro-bagging’ was viewed on average 85 times per day in 2017, up from 68 the year before.
VisitScotland’s Insight paper on walking, which was published last year, estimates the activity generates up to £1.26 billion to the Scottish economy. The paper found walking is most popular with those aged 55-64 but millennials make up more than a quarter (26%) of visitors participating in long walks.
And Edie may not be alone in her endeavours, with 12% of 65+ visitors taking part in a long walk, hike or ramble.
While not as high as a Munro – which must be at least 914m tall – with its remoteness and stunning views, Suilven is considered one of the finest mountains in Britain. Path restoration work is currently being carried out by the John Muir Trust and the Assynt Foundation under the umbrella of the Coigach & Assynt Living Landscape Partnership.
To coincide with the film’s release, VisitScotland is working in partnership with the distributors, Arrow Films to help promote the movie, as well as Scotland’s outdoor appeal. Activity includes the creation of a blog on holiday ideas for the North West Highlands, direct marketing, media promotions, and the display of promotional materials at a number of VisitScotland information centres and partner sites.
Edie has been screened at many film festivals world-wide including Edinburgh, Santa Barbara, Dublin, Victoria and HOF in Germany.
Filming took place in and around Lochinver, Sutherland, in May and June 2016. During the shoot the entire crew scaled the mountain, camping out over a number of nights – including Ms Hancock and her co-star Kevin Guthrie.
Director Simon Hunter, who grew up in Dumfriesshire, is an avid hillwalker himself and can be regularly found trekking up mountains across the world.
Culture Secretary Fiona Hyslop said:“Outdoor pursuits like walking are already one of the main reasons tourists visit Scotland. I’m sure this film will encourage others to come and experience our outstanding scenery, such as that in Assynt, which I had the privilege of visiting recently.
“Even if you don’t feel like tackling a mountain there are many beautiful walks to suit all abilities. This is also an exciting time for our screen industry. Total production spend on film and TV has increased by more than 200% since 2007, and Edie is just the latest example of the many and varied productions that are choosing to come to Scotland.”
Simon Hunter, Director of Edie, said:“Edie was always my love letter to Scotland, to the weather and heather, the mountains and waves. Sutherland is an area that is rarely captured on film, it’s remote and wild, prehistoric and stunning. If there was ever a place in Europe that reminds us of our small place in the larger universe it is in Assynt.
“We could not have made the movie without the generosity, kindness and patience of the local population. From the film office in Inverness to the local B&B owners in Lochinver, they are the unsung heroes of Edie. I hope they can share in our pride at making such a movie that has captured hearts and minds across the world.”
Jenni Steele, Film and Creative Industries Manager at VisitScotland, said:“Sutherland is a beautiful part of Scotland and all its magnificence is up there on-screen in Edie. Films shot in Scotland not only boost the local economy during production but provide a shop window for the country’s amazing landscapes.
“With its emotive message of seizing the moment, we hope this life-affirming story will further inspire viewers to follow in the footsteps of Edie and explore Scotland’s great outdoors.”
Gordon Robertson, Executive Officer at the Assynt Foundation, said: “The iconic mountain of Suilven dominates the heart of Edie and of Sutherland itself, representing so much about life, its challenges and the pursuit of a goal that at first glance can appear out of reach. We were delighted to host the film crew at Glencanisp Lodge and our Arts studio during the filming and to provide the support for access up to Suilven.
“The making of Edie has had a worldwide impact, encouraging walkers of all ages and abilities to visit this unique part of the Highlands and to add the Edie Challenge to their bucket list.”
To view the VisitScotland blog, visit: https://www.visitscotland.com/blog/films/10-things-to-do-in-the-north-highlands/
For more on walking statistics and Scotland visit: http://www.visitscotland.org/pdf/VisitScotlandInsightWalking2017.pdf
For more on Edie, visit: www.ediefilm.co.uk