The Glencoe Climb
The BBC televised a series of rock climbs in the 1960s, the most spectacular and famous being the ascent of the Old Man of Hoy, by Scottish climber (and GP) Dr.Tom Patey, Joe Brown, Chris Bonington and others in 1967. Around 16 tons of equipment were ferried 450 miles on army landing craft, and the conditions under which the programme was made would be taxing today, never mind with the bulky (black and white) equipment of the time.
Such was the success of these programmes that the BBC continued with the theme and in 1970 and 1971 other climbs by Joe Brown and Hamish McInnes among others were shown, including the Anglesey Climb which was the first in colour, using CMCR9. Another was done at Glencoe in 1971, again using CMCR9 (which was LO5 at the time.)
In 1980 another live climb at Glencoe by Joe Brown and others was televised. The unit used was North 2, CMCR8, from Manchester. The choice was made as the PC80 cameras were capable of operation over longer cables than the 2001s, and the closest that the scanner could get to the mountain meant that cable runs up to 5000 ft were required. Every reel of cable from every BBC OB base that could be scrounged was pressed into service.
Imagine the labour needed to accomplish this. A 100ft reel of G101 cable weighs over a hundredweight (100Kg approx.) and takes two strong men to lift. Each cable coupling is a potential problem, even in the dry, and this was half way up a mountain. The camera heads are also a two man lift, then there were the lenses and controls in wooden crates. Camera positions were set up using scaffolding, as the lenses would be required to be operated at maximum zoom- so the slightest movement of the camera mounting would set the picture bouncing. The mountings and pan and tilt heads were all very heavy as well.
The nearest access by road was at the bottom of the valley, cables having to be rigged across the moorland and over a river! To get the signal out, one of the first satellite uplinks in British TV was used- the special vehicle can be seen in the foreground.