Alan Hinkes OBE

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I have to admit to approaching Terry Abraham’s new homage with somewhat pitted worry.

Firstly, having watched his Blencathra and Scafell biopics several times I had deep seated thoughts that the film-maker’s skills lie solely in portraying these landscapes in romantic masterpieces that have been widely acclaimed all over the world.

Secondly, his subject, Alan Hinkes OBE gets on my nerves a little! Bear with me…

I don’t know if this is because of his boundless energy and always buoyant character or the mountaineer’s ability to be ever cheerful with whatever is thrown at him.

He’s just so bloody happy all the time!

Perhaps that speaks more about me than Alan but it left me wanting to see a different kind of Hinkes on screen.

And boy was I pleased not to witness that in the end.

For me Abraham is a modern-day Turner in his approach to landscape filming. He combines time-lapse and drone footage with sweeping scores and angles that both baffle and amaze into every shot.

He also has a unique ability to use the very best of this updated and current way of filming with what I would call slow cinema.

His shots are as your eye would see them, nothing is manufactured, as if you were sat on a rock as the sun goes down, drinking a brew, looking upon your favourite mountain.

Terry is at his happiest and certainly most creative when filming these scenes and it’s abundantly clear in this film and all his others.

In this film, Hinkes is the theme, but it’s that love affair with the mountains which is the subject.

Alan’s enthusiasm and life story comes through in the clever way Abraham shoots and how the first and only Briton to climb all 14 of the 8,000 metre summits presents himself.

It’s a documentary yes, but there’s no chronology here. Alan begins by explaining how he came to love the outdoors so much but as soon as you’re settled in we’re off to places and events he loves like Roseberry Topping, Gaping Gill, the Black Sheep brewery and so on.

It’s Hinkes’ thoughts, coupled with Abraham’s perfect eye for a landscape, that make this picture unique.

Alan’s enthusiasm shines and you find yourself loving the quirks of his character… the knack he has of filling any silences with a quip…  “I love the Lakes me” is a personal favourite. It’s Hinkes, it is what he is, and you cannot fail to move along with it.

The culmination of this mountaineer’s career is obviously the 14 8,000ers and we are taken to Nepal to see these mountains in their glory and meet his old friends.

And this is where Terry shines. The shots of the Himalaya are crisp, moody and his best work to date. You don’t need Alan to explain was is going on because Terry nails it from his lens.

His camera becomes part of Hinkes’ psyche and it is stunning. It’s clear the two have spent considerable time together because they are in perfect sync. It’s like Terry has opened up Alan’s mind for all to see.

But… I don’t want to give too much away as that would be doing Terry and Alan a disservice. You have to see it for yourself.

Hinkes certainly deserves wider recognition for what he has achieved alongside his charity work and undying passion of getting people of all ages into the outdoors.

But I get the feeling Alan doesn’t want it. He doesn’t seek it nor does it come across as he is that perturbed about it.

He’s happy on a hill somewhere, bouncing at speed from rock to rock, excited to be alive and that is just reward for a life and career well lived.

A must watch.

Alan Hinkes, a film by Terry Abraham, is out now. You can buy the DVD here or download it here.

Both are priced at £14.99.