Life is never dull at Torrisdale (if only!) but the excitement bar was raised even higher last week as we played host to the legendary adventure cyclist, Mark Beaumont. He was passing through Kintyre as part of a 12 day tour of Argyll and the Isles, incorporating various formidable sporting challenges, from running up the Paps of Jura to kayaking the coastline of mid-Argyll, with plenty of tough road cycling in between. The Wild About Argyll tour was commissioned by the Argyll and the Isles Tourism Cooperative (AITC) and the resulting film footage will be used to showcase our unique and wonderful part of Scotland all over the world.

As a director of AITC, Niall was delighted to be involved and we were only too happy to accommodate the team for a night.

Mark Beaumont horseriding at Carradale Bay
Carradale Bay (Photo credit: the gorgeously handsome Darren Freeman)

They arrived with us on day 6 so had already endured almost a week of gruelling early starts and exhausting late finishes on top of day after day of challenging physical activities. Amazingly they were all still standing and ready to take on the latest challenge which was a gallop along stunning Carradale Bay on horseback. The footage is incredible. Mark was joined by an eager group of local riders, who thundered down the sandy beach beside him, really adding to the excitement and making it an even more powerful piece of film. Later, I asked Mark if he’d ridden much and he replied that while he’d been a keen rider in his youth, he hadn’t been on a horse in over ten years! Nothing seems to phase this man.

Niall was very excited to be involved in the shoot and jumped at the chance to drive his new baby wee Kawasaki mule along the bay, carrying camera crew, Stefan Morrocco of Morrocco Media, and Euan Ryan of Finalcrux Films. Along with film colleague Kieran Duncan, this incredible trio have endured almost as much as Mark in the making of Wild About Argyll.

Morrocco Media and Finalcrux films shooting the action
Kawasaki action (photo credit: the gorgeously handsome Darren Freeman)

It was lovely to meet them all properly over dinner, back at the castle and listen to all the stories from their previous adventures. What an amazing, inspiring bunch of people. None of it would have been possible without the vision and determination of Carron Tobin from Rural Dimensions, who dreamed up the whole concept and made what could and should have been a logistical and meteorological nightmare, happen. Along with her husband Jack, she lived and breathed this ambitious project through her passion and commitment to promoting Argyll and the Isles.

Bike repairs at Torrisdale
Euan from Finalcrux Films doing a bit of bike maintenance in the hall

The finale to the tour was a planned talk by Mark in the Corran Halls in Oban about his previous world cycling adventures as well as a sneak preivew of the Wild About Argyll footage. From the brief one minute clip we were shown, it promises to be an amazing insight into everything Argyll and the Isles has to offer, including our own, special wee corner of Kintyre.

Life has settled quickly back to normal at Torrisdale, without the thrill of world renound adventure cyclists and film crews, but Wild About Argyll has been the highlight of the summer and I was even inspired enough to get my running shoes back on and managed a pitiful 3.5k. Not quite Beaumont standards but we all have to start somewhere.

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