A NEW film made by Scotland’s leading stunt cyclist sees him riding over the top of a cottage, turning a hay bale into a unicycle, disappearing into a puddle and leaping onto the track in front of a steam train after tucking into tea and scones.
Danny MacAskill spent several months filming in rural locations around Scotland for his latest video for Red Bull, which he says is aimed at capturing “the simple fun of a ride in the country”.
His latest film – entitled Wee Day Out – took him to farms, estates, forests, riverbanks and railways around the country after previous films were shot at a forgotten town in Argentina and on the rooftops of a city in Gran Canaria.
Skye-born MacAskill has become one of the world’s biggest YouTube stars, with more than 250 million views, since launching his first film of tricks made on the streets of Edinburgh in 2009.
More than 45 million people have downloaded his most successful video to date, The Ridge, which was released just over two years ago. It charted a remarkable journey through the Cuillin mountain range on Skye to the island’s iconic Inaccessible Pinnacle.
MacAskill, whose new film is set to a soundtrack of The Divine Comedy’s hit National Express, said: “Rather than keep pushing and progressing my riding, the first thing I think about these days is a concept for the film that allows me to have a bit more creative freedom with my riding.
“I set out to make a video that hopefully relates to the normal rider. It’s meant to be a fun day out, taking in different obstacles along the way.
“I wanted to do a video on my mountain bike again. The last film that I did was up in Skye. That was definitely more a lone ranger kind of style. I wanted it to have a different feel. I wanted it to be quite light-hearted and be able to give tricks a go I wouldn’t have got away with in The Ridge.
“Pretty much every trick that I’ve done in the film has been a massive challenge and a little bit out of my comfort zone.”
MacAskill and his film crew visited the Pentland Hills in Midlothian, the Strathpey Railway in the Highlands, and Kenmore, Blair Atholl and Loch Tay in Perthshire. Among the latest tricks, all of which were performed on a mountain bike, was a slide along a tree trunk.
He added: “This whole film’s been a real big challenge. Not only has it been hard to find the locations for the tricks that I’ve wanted to land, but building dirt take-offs, working with natural terrain and the Scottish weather, has been very challenging.
“Although it all looks very easy, there’s been a lot of work that’s gone into the back of this. There were a few locations that we tried to film, but I hadn’t actually landed the tricks or some didn’t really fit the feel of the film. The original plan was that it would be mainly in the woods, but we didn’t find that many good locations, so it ended up being rolling hills and green countryside, with animals. You can’t make a viral without animals.
“On my mountain bike I’m usually riding more in the winter and often riding with friends in a group. You can’t really beat the feeling of riding down a muddy, sliding trail and everyone getting to the bottom with some kind of near-death experience.”