Dogtag Blogtag

Sometime last year I entered a competition on Facebook, the deal was you upload a video of yourself taking part in some sort of "adventure sport", and after a month or so of voting those who had the six videos with the most votes would be the winners, and would be whisked away to star in an advert for the travel insurance company Dogtag.

Thanks to my amazing friends and family, and by putting my video up nice and early, I ended up in the top 6, and so begins my film star career... I spent last week in Interlaken in the Swiss Alps, essentially running around, eating cheese, drinking beer, and occasionally being filmed. It was a brilliant week and I'd like to give huge thanks to Dogtag (Mike and Richy), PR guru Lynsey, Don and Dave the film crew, my fellow stars (more on them in a minute) and to Outdoor Interlaken and our guide Stefan. Here's a quick blog about what we got up to...
The (Dog)tag team
Having taken planes from various parts of the UK we somehow all miraculously arrived at Geneva airport and after a couple of trains made it to Interlaken. We'd all had early starts but by the time we arrived in the mountains everyone was wide awake and taking photos out of the train windows. Interlaken is a great place with some very lucky geography which means you can see the impressive and beautiful Eiger, Monch and Jungfrau mountains pretty much from the village.
The Eiger lurking behind the village
Speaking of the Jungfrau, on the third day of the trip we all headed up to Lauterbrunnen, then by train through Kleine Scheidegg and and eventually to the famous mountain railway through the Eiger tunnels. At the time I was reading a book about climbing the north face of the Eiger, so actually being there (the tunnels were used for rescue in the early days, though not always with positive outcome) was amazing. Our destination was the Jungfraujoch, the saddle between the Monch and Jungfrau at about 3900m. We were there to do some filming of Mikey, a skier from Glasgow.

Initially things didn't look good, there was about 120m of pisted snow and a magic carpet lift. The team set about building a kicker, and after the fortunate arrival of a Swiss bloke in a piste basher we soon had a fine piece of snow sculpture. I think Mikey's skiing might (quite rightly) make up a fair bit of the advert, as it was awesome. I won't spoil it with photos here, but it's gooooood.

Lift designed for children: Sub-optimal for those with mad jibbing skills.
The Jungfraujoch was also the location of my first bit of running filming, though I had been involved in Canyoning and Rafting which we'd done the day before. Somerset Dave's mad kayaking skills were also filmed on the same day, and again I reckon will have a strong presence in the finished article!

So, that left Ewen, Hannah, Collyn and Andrew to be filmed. Luckily they were all mountain bikers, so we headed up from the village and found some nice bike tracks for them to play on. The whole trip was awesome, but along with the Jungfraujoch trip, this was one of my favourite days. We biked (I ran) up and down the trails in the sunshine and generally had a good time. Richy and Dave also got involved in the filming, using some pretty innovative methods...

Richy on the roof (Not shown - Dave up a tree)
The day ended, as they all did, with some great dinner at the hotel and a few beers. After we had all been filmed "doing our thing", the only recording which remained was an interview, which will be used in the documentary film which will accompany the advert. This was fun too, though it did involve talking about ourselves a bit which I think some of us found a bit unnatural, but looking at the footage afterwards illustrated just how skilful Don and Dave are when it comes to this filmmaking business... I didn't recognise myself at first!
Andrew being interviewed
Before we knew it, time was up. Most of the team were leaving on Saturday, but the northerners and Scots (Me, Ewen, Mikey and Andrew) didn't fly till Sunday so I decided to make the most of the free day and headed off on Saturday morning for a long run in the mountains. I ended up doing about 45kms and 2800m climb - I'll finish off with a few photos from the day, which really was one of the best running days I've had for a long time, but first another massive thanks to everyone who voted for me, to Dogtag and the film / PR team, to Outdoor Interlaken and to all the other winners.

There's loads more I could say about the week but I'll leave it at that... Watch this space for the best damn insurance advert you've ever seen!

Interlaken from the Harder Kulm (1300m ish)
Tourists at the Harder Kulm
Me, being a tourist at the Harder Kulm
Climbing up along the ridge towards Augstmatthorn
Looking up from the trail
Ibex?
Awesome ridge from Roteflue to Augstmatthorn
After turning around, there's even climb in the valleys!
...and even more (and rain)
Back along the ridge for the last time before the descent
(Full route here)

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