There are few sentences quite as exciting as the following one: Scottish trials superstar Danny MacAskill has released a new video. For his latest outing, Danny returns to his home island of the Isle of Skye, where he previously shot The Ridge, which racked up 75 million views back in 2014.
The video sees Danny ride down the legendary Dubh Slabs on the edge of the Cuillins, one of the most remote of Scotland's classic moderate climbing routes with some of the finest friction slabs. As you can see from the stunning feature image, taken by Dave Mackison, there's more beautiful Skye scenery in spades.
MacAskill found an interesting new inspiration for the video. "For the last few years I've really been inspired by rock climbers finding and developing new routes on cliffs unchanged for millennia,” Danny says in the opening narration.
In particular, Danny was inspired to make the video by American free climbers Alex Honnold, who completed the first free solo ascent of the 2,900-foot Freerider route of El Capitan in 2017, and Tommy Caldwell, who together with Kevin Jorgeson, was the first to free climb the Dawn Wall of El Capitan in 2015.
Danny goes on to scramble to just below the summit of Sgurr Dubh Beag / Little Black Peak (733m), one of the most technical sections of the Dubh Ridge, unroped, with his bike strapped to his back. If that sounds like challenge enough, then remember, this is a MacAskill video - and Danny is just getting started.
From here he takes on steeps that’d make Red Bull Rampage riders sweat; making his way down a seriously technical 900 metre route, over a very steep ledge system of black 'boiler-plated' Gabbro slabs, all the while staring down the barrel of the beautiful Loch Coruisk, at sea level below.
“I was pretty nervous tackling a lot of the obstacles on the route,” Danny said. “The most challenging part was definitely the final 200 metre slab vertical section, which on the first day was just not possible to ride. It was very exposed and had a very difficult run out. This made the grip, braking and balance very difficult. You literally feel gravity just pulling you down the rock and when the only thing stopping you is your brakes you really feel how steep it is. Luckily it all worked out and I managed to get off the slab onto the grass reasonably controlled.
“As much as I enjoyed riding the Dubh Slabs, the most memorable emotion was the relief and satisfaction heading back over the loch on the boat after finishing the filming! I really hope everyone enjoys this video and we hope it inspires some fun bike adventures when we are allowed to properly explore Scotland again.”
You’ll notice that the short film contains some particularly interesting camera angles too - the drone-shots almost make it look like you're watching a video game at times. It can be notoriously difficult to capture steep slopes in a way that portrays their true gradient too - but The Slabs manages, and in style.
A longtime collaborator of Danny, Duncan Shaw produced the video, and said: “Danny and I are always searching for exciting terrain and great backdrops for film projects. The biggest challenge of this shoot was access. Whilst the range is not on an island, the easiest and quickest way to get to the foot of the range is via local fishing boats. After the 20 minute boat ride there is a 45minute walk to the foot of the Dubh Slabs. Once there we then had to scale a rock face with all our kit on this challenging climb that should be roped in sections.
“The terrain was so steep it was near impossible to film Danny's ride using traditional methods. Our main camera, GoPro Hero 9, was mounted on a custom Built FPV drone, with two additional POV GoPro Hero 9's positioned on Danny's helmet and chest.”
Inspired? Check out our mountaineering adventure holidays on the Isle of Skye or if it's two wheels you're after - our bikepacking range!