If you haven’t seen Danny MacAskill’s brand new mountain bike film, The Ridge… where have you been hiding?! Over 13 million people have watched Danny as he climbs aboard a mountain bike and returns to his native home of the Isle of Skye to take on a death-defying ride along the Cuillin Ridge.
Danny’s known for making many amazing films over the years, showing off his skills on two wheels, but this film has been one he’s been planning for a while, returning to the Scottish island where he first learned to cycle.
Ahead of the BBC programme tonight, on the making of The Ridge, we spoke to Danny about the video and about his love for Skye.
Tell us more about why you’ve made this video?
I’ve always wanted to ride my bike up in the Cuillins and the idea to make a film there is something I had been talking about with Stu and the team at Cut Media for over a year now. One of the main motivation is showing Skye how I see it, it’s where I grew up and I definitely still consider it home.
How much practising and planning goes into making one of these videos?
This film was a bit more spontaneous than some of the others which take a lot of preparation before filming and also lots of time during to land the tricks. After deciding we would look into making the film seriously and about a month prior to filming, myself and Stu met up with our friends at Skye Adventure to go and scout the ridge and see what could be ridden. I’d never been up there so it was a bit of an unknown. We scouted some locations along the Ridge to see what could be ridden and then Stu started to organise everything after that. I hadn’t ridden a mountain bike too much before filming either as I had a lot of commitments on my trials bike so I was a bit concerned I hadn’t got to ride my mountain bike enough!
You’re obviously not scared of heights; is there anything you are scared of?!
Nothing I can think of really. Although I do get a bit scared when I’m trying some new big tricks on my trials bike, it’s always a mental battle but normally I just work through it.
Is there a secret to not falling off?
Not really… When you’re trying to improve everyone falls off sometimes! I’ve been riding trials for 17 years and gradually built up my level of riding. You can do some basic precautions like making sure your shoelaces are tied so you don’t trip and keeping your wits about you.
Skye is still very much my home. As I said it’s somewhere I’ve always wanted to make a film and it has the perfect terrain for this one so it was the ideal fit.
What was your best off-screen moment?
The crew constantly living off oatcakes and cheese or one of the crew launching into the fairy pools full Baywatch-style after my bike fell in!
The seals in the opening scene looked friendly, were they?
The seals in Loch Slavaig are ferocious!! They’re definitely known man killers and there were a few teeth marks in the oars after we’d finished 😉
What was it like growing up on the island?
I feel very lucky to have grown up on the island. I always had a lot of freedom to do what I wanted as a child. This mainly involved either riding my bike, going off into the middle of nowhere to build tree houses or having bonfires. It really was an amazing place to grow up.
What’s your favourite vista/or spot in Skye?
You can’t beat the sunset you get on a winter’s day down at Neist Point.
Ever managed a dip in the Fairy Pools?
The fairy pools is somewhere I’ve been going swimming for years, I love it there. Once we’d wrapped on the shoot on the Ridge I actually managed to jump my bike into them!
Where did you first start riding?
On the streets of Dunvegan on Skye. That is where I learned lots of the basics of riding and tricks that I still do today.
Other than Skye, do you have any trails or places in Scotland you like to ride?
I go mountain biking with Stu from Cut Media over at his trails in Aberfoyle and Callander quite regularly, they’re loads of fun. For trials I love just riding around Glasgow where I live.
Do you have any words of wisdom for aspiring bikers?
Stay true to what you’re doing and enjoy it. Don’t let other people tell you otherwise.
Next plans are to film a bit with my new team ‘Drop and Roll’ over the winter and then hopefully develop some new filming plans of my own for next year as well.
The Isle of Skye, the Highlands and indeed Scotland all have some fantastic mountain biking trails for you to try.