Back in May 2014, I was asked if I would interested in taking part in a TV programme. VRT, the national broadcaster in Belgium, were making a programme about the west coast of Ireland, ‘The Wild Atlantic Way’. They were looking for a photographer familiar with the Skelligs who could act as a guide and help to tell their story for this part of the journey. By the time I met the directors a couple of weeks later they had already looked at my website, decided that they liked my work and asked me to take part. However, like most photographers, I like to be behind the lens and not in front of it! Members of the production team, Marijne and Hanne, described their filming and production process to me. They had a very casual approach, making it seem easy enough. I would have a radio microphone attached and would lead Bill and Tina, the two TV presenters, to the top of Skellig Michael, followed by a camera and a sound man.
The trip is something that I have done many times before with friends and acquaintances, pointing out the sights and sharing the experience. Only this time it was all being recorded. What helped was having the Islands completely to ourselves via an evening trip by special permission from the Irish Board of Works. Des Lavelle of Valentia was our boatman, along with fellow boatman Cav. We were in good hands. Des is famous for his comprehensive knowledge of the Skelligs and has written extensively about them. He is also an excellent photographer. Once on the island, we met up with the Head Skellig Michael Guide, Bob Harris, who is familiar to many visitors to the Island, having worked there every summer for nearly thirty years.
The weather could not have been better. I am not sure if Marijne and her excellent crew really knew how lucky we were in this regard, with not just a fine evening, but not a breath of wind either. The conditions made it possible to stand on the summit for the last shot; a suicidal prospect for 360 odd days of the year, with a near vertical drop of nearly 700 feet behind us. All in all, another very pleasurable trip to this most interesting place…and this time on record!