Ramblers publicity shoot

Have you ever wondered what it’s like to be a film star? Do you dream of seeing what happens behind the cameras? I’m not sure you’ll be seeing our names in lights anytime soon (sorry guys), but myself, Irina and Jason were recently invited to take part in a publicity shoot for the Ramblers.

The three of us were contacted by Ramblers at the end of last year to ask whether we would be interested in participating in a high profile video. They had recently received some funding from the People’s Postcode Lottery and alongside a company called Immediate Media (they publish the BBC Good Food, Wildlife and Countryfile magazines amongst others) they were going to run a 6 month marketing campaign to help promote walking (particularly amongst the younger less traditional age groups). We all leapt at the chance to get involved, promote walking and to have a day off work!

The shoot was scheduled to take place in Dedham Vale, an area of Outstanding Natural Beauty on the Suffolk-Essex border, and would involve the three of us from the BW’s, members from other young walkers groups in the areas (Stags, Surrey and Chiltern) as well as Ramblers staff. We were scheduled to stay in a hotel the night beforehand, and it was to be a full day of filming so it was a great opportunity to meet new people.

A couple of weeks before the shoot we all gathered virtually with the production team to go over the details for the day. As well as things like the covid policy, and the schedule for the day (we were starting pretty early to get the filming in before sunset), they also gave us a briefing on what clothes we should wear. We were asked if possible to wear natural colours that would work well with the landscape, to avoid anything with very obvious branding and to not look like too “serious” a walker (no walking poles please).

On the day, after staying the night in a hotel (yes we made time for an early morning all you can eat breakfast) we arrived at Dedham just as the sun was rising. The village itself was picturesque. A mixture of independent shops, cosy pubs and cute tearooms all set within Georgian architecture and timber framed buildings. Our base for the day was the Sun Inn and once we had said hello to everyone from both the Ramblers and Immediate Media we were kindly gifted some of the brand new Ramblers branded accessories, as we tried our best to colour coordinate. 

We were also excited to meet Jimmy Doherty who you may recognise from the tv programme Jimmy’s Farm as well as Jamie and Jimmy’s Friday Night Feast which he fronted with his best friend Jamie Oliver. As well as being a television presenter and farmer he is also a keen walker so had been asked to front the campaign, and to join us on the shoot.

Once we had all assembled and were suitably attired, we started the walk. A 1.7 km section of path had been chosen for the shoot which might seem short by Ramblers standards but we must have gone up and down the path at least 5 or 6 times over the day (and this included a very muddy gate way which meant every time we passed through we had to climb over the fence…). During the day there were several different types of shots that the production team needed to get. There were still photos being collected to go online and in magazines as well as the videos which would form the heart of the marketing campaign.

During the day we were asked to pose for stills shots (including a selection of props – flapjacks, water bottles and even in one case a lip balm which was clipped to my rucksack and photographed), filmed in group shots walking along the path, as well as interviewed individually in front of the camera. Here we were asked to answer questions, and as they wanted natural responses we weren’t allowed to know the questions in advance. These were things like “why do you enjoy walking?” and “what does the Ramblers do to protect the countryside?”.

The one piece of filming I haven’t mentioned yet is the drone footage. To get some of the more panoramic shots, which showed the beautiful countryside we were walking in a drone was used. This provided a very different challenge. The drone would fly alongside us buzzing away and we had to avoid looking at it, which is easier said than done!

The day culminated with us back at the pub sat in front of the fire, for the last shots of the day. As you will all know no Ramblers experience is complete without a visit to the pub, however unusually for us we were all on soft drinks for filming purposes!

But you may be asking what happened to all of this footage? The campaign has it’s own website (www.letswalktogether.co.uk). Here alongside trying to spot us in the various images and videos you are encouraged to pledge how many miles you can walk in the next year. Currently 1,375,412 miles have been pledged (at the time of writing) and by pledging miles you get the chance to win prizes (including the top prize of £1000 to go towards a walking holiday with Haven holidays). If any of you have subscriptions with Immediate media we will also be popping up within the magazines over the next 6 months.

All in all we had a thoroughly enjoyable day. It was great working with the teams from both Ramblers and Immediate media, as well as meeting new people from nearby young Ramblers groups (so much so that we all stayed behind for a last meal together before we travelled home). The area we were in was stunning (potential for a BW trip?) and luck was on our side weather wise (always a risk on a cold January day). Our members have been involved in several publicity shoots for the Ramblers over the years and if you’re given the opportunity to participate I’d encourage you to grab it with both hands!