Edinburgh’s off-street cycle paths run through the city like rabbit warrens – their entrances often difficult to find, taking you down tunnels and paths to unexpected parts of the city. A path that starts at Haymarket might spit you out at Granton, Leith or Cramond, or you may find yourself whizzing down the Union Canal right out of town.
I wanted to capture the sheer energy of the routes, which are used by so many different people in so many different ways – by joggers, cyclists, pedestrians, skateboarders and dog walkers – so over the last couple of months I’ve been out capturing time-lapse films of the routes around the city.
It’s not been without its challenges – it’s been the coldest Spring in 50 years, and when I wasn’t being caught in hail storms or struggling to hold my cameras in place, I was sometimes wondering left whether anyone would be out on the paths at all. And yet, irrespective of wind and weather, snow and storms, people use these paths.
If anything the elements became a part of the story – and if you live in Edinburgh, you’ll appreciate how dramatically it can change from one moment to the next. I was lucky enough to capture many of those moments. I was on Portobello Prom when sunny skies turned to a blizzard of hail, and at the foot of a snow covered Arthur’s Seat only to see it melt within an hour.
Trying to cram the whole of the city’s cycle paths into less than seven minutes proved impossible, and there was much footage that I had to leave out. In the end the selection was partly aesthetic, and partly geographical. But I hope the film gives you a taste of what you might find if you venture out onto these paths, and encourage you to explore them!
I’ve been helped in making this film by lots of people – by filmmaker Walid Salhab, who gave me some great ideas and creative advice about making timelapses – by Lesley Pearson, David Gilmour, Peter Geoghegan, and Phyllis Stephen who all contributed footage – and by the People’s Postcode Lottery, who have helped fund the making of the film, and indeed all of the work which we have done on the Innertube Map over the last two years through their Dream Fund.
In fact, just a few weeks ago I thought that this film would be my last contribution to the Innertube project – a farewell message, as it were – but some exciting things have happened since then, and it looks like were going to be entering a totally new stage with it.
More news about that soon. But in the meantime, I hope you enjoy the video, and if you can, please share it with with friends from Edinburgh and beyond.