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Shared Vision to be screened on BBC Scotland
Friday 14th August
As a teenager in the mid-1980s Red Szell watched a BBC documentary featuring Chris Bonington and Tom Patey climbing the Old Man of Hoy and knew ‘life wouldn’t feel complete until I’d at least tried to follow in their footholds’.
He began to climb and had Hoy firmly in his sights until an eye examination shortly before his 20th birthday revealed that he was going blind. For several years his life went into free-fall and his dreams were obscured by his struggle to adapt to his darkening world. The road to recovery began in 2009 when his daughter chose to hold her birthday party at a local climbing wall and Red saw a way back to the sport he loved.
In 2013 he realised his dream and climbed The Old Man of Hoy, becoming the first blind person to do so. His achievement was televised by BBC Scotland in an episode of The Adventure Show.
The following year Red reassembled the same team of climbing partner Matthew Wootliff, mountain guides Martin Moran and Nick Carter for a successful attempt on The Old Man of Stoer. But the third of ‘The Tom Patey Three’ big Scottish sea stacks, Am Buachaille, eluded him – until last summer.
‘It’s basically an extreme obstacle course’ he says in Shared Vision, the captivating documentary of the expedition by award-winning filmmaker Keith Partridge (who was the specialist cinematographer on the BAFTA winning filmTouching The Void).
The film offers us a glimpse into the restrictions of Red’s everyday life in London and the freedom he finds on barely accessible rock pinnacles.
Keith Partridge has produced an enthralling film with some stunning cinematography. The soundtrack reflects the importance of communication between Red and his companions Matthew and Nick, and with each hard-won metre of progress we learn that this is indeed a shared vision of adventure, camaraderie and challenging the perception of disability. As Red puts it: ‘it’s about seeing what you can do rather than focussing on what you’ve lost.’
The film is dedicated to Martin Moran ‘…who guided so many to new heights’ but was tragically killed on Nanda Devi in 2019.
***Shared Vision continues on its world tour***
Following its world premiere at The Banff Mountain Film Festival last November, and screenings at the inaugural London Mountain Film Festival and The Wasatch Film Festival in Salt Lake City, Shared Vision has been selected as a finalist at both The Trento International and New Zealand Mountain Film Festivals.
The 22-minute version of the film was made by award-winning adventure cameraman Keith Partridge and documents my 2019 expedition to climb Am Buachaille, one of Britain’s most remote pinnacles, and so complete my quest to become the first blind climber to summit all of ‘The Tom Patey Three’ big Scottish sea-stacks.
Watch the trailer here:
I am immensely grateful to my sponsors for sharing my vision and helping to show that blindness should be no barrier to adventure. In particular, I am proud to be an Arc’teryx Ambassador, and enjoy honing my climbing skills at VauxWall, HarroWall and The Castle Climbing Centres. Also thanks to San Francisco LightHouse for the Blind, who gave me the wherewithal to follow the example of James Holman ‘The Blind Traveller’.
Radio News – Latest
Read On is The Audiobook Show on RNIB Connect Radio. Hosted by me, it’s a blend of book news, reviews, and author interviews.
Recorded at The RNIB Talking Books Studio in London, recent highlights include interviews with all the authors short-listed for the 2019 Booker Prize, a show recorded live at The Wigtown Book Festival featuring Natalie Haynes, Alan Johnson, Lord Bird and Prof. Steve Jones, exclusive interviews with Lee Child, Joanne Ramos and Dame Stella Rimington and so much more!
Download the podcast free from your favourite provider – simply search for “Read On – The Audiobook Show” or follow the link: https://audioboom.com/channel/readonair
I am also a regular contributor to Radio 4, most recently for Annalisa is Awkward, as well as frequent appearances on In Touch both as a talking head on round table discussions and with my ‘Seeing Red’ point of view pieces on life as a blind person.
To access all the features I have recorded for In Touch, including why Aussie cricketer Shane Warne made me see red and my feature about giving back a guide dog that was included in Radio 4’s Pick of the Year 2017, click here: http://www.bbc.co.uk/search?filter=programmes&q=red+szell