The Solitary Rambler

CHEPSTOW AND LANCAUT
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Filmed 22nd March 2018
Post-production completed 13th April 2018

Running time 20 minutes
Synopsis

I return to Chepstow near the mouth of the Wye Valley , the town where I spent the majority of my childhood. I revisit many of the places I remember and reminisce about my life when I lived there. One major part of living in Chepstow was that it was where I first discovered the enjoyment of walking in the countryside, so on my return visit today I decide to go on a walk, which was one of the very first walks I ever did as a child…. .
Locations

Filmed in the Wye Valley in the counties of Monmouthshire and Gloucestershire . Locations include Chepstow , the Dell, Chepstow Castle , Lancaut and Wintour’s Leap . This is the first in a series of films in 2018 celebrating 25 years of “The Solitary Rambler” .
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Background and production details

2018 was an exciting year for me as it marked 25 years since the very first Solitary Rambler film was made in 1993. I wanted to celebrate this anniversary in some way, so I planned to return to some of the locations from my very earliest films and make some new ones, but in the style of my current film making. Those old films were totally different to how I make them now, as well as the fact they were made long before HD camcorders were available.

I had also decided to purchase a new HD camcorder, so I bought a newer model of the Sony Handycam as well as a new tripod. Another factor I wanted to try to combat was the noise of the wind on the camera microphone, so after having done some extensive research on this I discovered a very simple solution, which was using a piece of foam from a kitchen scouring pad and sticking it over the mic, something I wish I had thought of before!

For the first film of 2018, which would begin the 25th anniversary celebrations, I decided to return to Chepstow near the mouth of the Wye Valley . Chepstow had featured in my very first film way back in 1993 as well as the following year’s “ The Old Barn Lane ” and “ Escape Through the Valley to Tranquillity ”. It was also the town in which I spent most of my childhood, so I felt it would be a great start for the 25th anniversary of “The Solitary Rambler”.

On Thursday 22nd March 2018 I travelled to Chepstow parking in the Castle Dell car park for the day. The first scenes I shot were taken just over the Old Wye Bridge at the bottom of Castleford Hill, from where I captured shots of the castle . Crossing back over the bridge I walked from the riverbank to the castle. I considered going inside, but I felt the time was not going to be on my side so I just took shots of the outside and the Dell as I walked up through it. Reaching Welsh Street I walked to the Town Gate , but I decided to walk up to the bottom of Steep Street from where I captured some excellent long shots of the Town Arch. I captured more shots of the town as I walked down the High Street, Beaufort Square, Hocker Hill Street and St Mary’s Church .

I then realised I had spent over three hours filming in Chepstow, so I was starting to feel I was losing time as I was also wanting to do a 4½ walk along part of Offa’s Dyke Path . However, I pushed myself to do this as I thought I would regret it later if it wasn’t done. The walk started at the bottom of Castleford where the path cuts straight up though to the end of Mopla Road in Tutshill , so I took a few shots up here to include where Offa’s Dyke Path (ODP) joins the route. Following ODP I walked up the field, past the ruined tower and across a couple more fields. At a junction before reaching Woodcroft I turned left to leave ODP and followed the path into Lancaut Nature Reserve . Dropping steeply to the banks of the River Wye I followed the route to the remains of the church at Lancaut . Climbing up to Woodcroft I rejoined ODP and followed it back to Chepstow where the day’s filming ended.

Playing back the captured footage showed me that I still needed to get used to my new camcorder and tripod; some of the scenes weren’t quite straight despite the tripod having a spirit level. The positive factor was that the sound captured from the in-built camera microphone was amazing! It was very clear and powerful, and it also seemed the piece of kitchen scourer had done its job as there was no problem with wind noise. At the editing stage I decided to change a longtime tradition in my series of films, and that was to get rid of the alliterative titling. I was originally going to name this film “Childhood in Chepstow”, but I decided to name it “Chepstow and Lancaut”, the first non-alliterative title for a film since “ The Mysterious Forest ” way back in 1995. My reason for this was because, as I was getting more viewers and subscribers on YouTube, I wanted to make sure my videos would get more search results if the titles were more sensible.

Another change I decided to make was to get rid of my pseudonyms in the film credits, i.e. Bob Morgan, Martin Roy, and anyone else I’ve called myself in earlier films. Again, due to my increasing followers on YouTube I wanted to make sure viewers knew that my films are all my own work, so during editing for “Chepstow and Lancaut” I changed the titling to reflect this. This meant fewer titles at the end, but one longer title so that the work is credited with my real name against it.

The music was clear to me from the start. As I had shot a section of ODP I would record a little of the Offa’s Dyke song I previously used in “ Mound of Mercia ”, but the main theme for “Chepstow and Lancaut” would be a new recording of a song I composed around late 1980 to early 1981. At that time I called the tune “Trumpet Ensemble” which, as well as being actually one of the very last songs I wrote whilst living in Chepstow, it was also one of the most pleasant I had created up until that time. The version of this song I recorded for my Chepstow film was created with guitar, strings, flute and brass sounds from my keyboard .


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