The Last Wilderness of Scotland: A Breathtaking Documentary About Two Friends and a Canoe’s Battle Against the Elements

This journey had one objective: to tie “a collection of lochs together.” The beauty of the Scottish Highlands and the “wildest corners of Scotland” made this expedition an experience of a lifetime for Jamie and Ian. “It was about fulfilling a deep and aching desire to live and breathe the great outdoors.”

On foot and in a canoe, Jamie and Ian set out to explore “Scotland’s Last Wilderness.” The soul-soothing short film that Jamie put together documents their battle against the elements as well as the life-altering beauty of the region and shows that even when, or perhaps especially when things don’t work out according to our imaginations, they still tend to teach us a whole lot about ourselves and the world outside.

“After spending most of the year indoors, in late September we were finally able to embark on our journey, but now it needed to be so much more. This film documents our attempt at completing a circuit linking up a collection of remote lochs with a series of portages.”

Into the Well: A Gnarly Way to Get to Know the Raw Beauty of New River Gorge National Park

Into The Well: 100 Miles. 32 Hours. 200 Racers. is an outdoor adventure documentary feature film telling the story of personal endurance. An excruciating test of how far one is willing to push themself to accomplish their goals. Follow three West Virginians as they prepare for the first 100-mile ultramarathon in the New River Gorge National Park where they’ll take on a challenge far greater than they could ever have imagined.” (The Folkway)

To be honest, I went into this documentary slightly worried. Not only is it the length of a full-feature film; the first few seconds of anxiety-inducing music didn’t alleviate the tension. On the other hand, it did capture perfectly how it feels at the start of such an endeavor. It’s not like people die from DNF-ing (DNF = did not finish) challenges like this (not usually, anyway) but they still make the heart race, at least a little bit.

To worry I did need not. Yes, the documentary is the length of a full-feature film but it’s also of similar quality—in fact, it’s better than some of the films I’ve seen in my lifetime. It pulled me in quickly and didn’t let go; just like a race you have to keep coming back to until you finish it.

Rim to River 100 is an ultramarathon in the New River Gorge National Park. It takes its runners on an out-and-back journey up and down and down and up from the rim of the Gorge to down along the banks of the New River and promises winding single track and a few, shall we say, gorgeously gnarly sections.

“Along with the natural beauty of waterfalls, whitewater, & dramatic views, you’ll also find ghost towns, centuries-old cemeteries, & abandoned mine shafts throughout the course,” reads the official description on the Rim to River 100 website.

Intrigued yet? Or worried, just like I was? Well, I won’t write much more and, instead, let the documentary do its thing. Let the raw beauty of this challenging trail pull you in just like it did with me. Warning: this process apparently includes “shoes filled with blood,” as HollyAnn informs you within the first few moments of your own emotional journey.

Stone Locals: A Sublime Love Letter to Rock Climbing by Patagonia

It took me a few months to get to watching this documentary that Patagonia published on YouTube in 2020. I wasn’t sure if I wanted to give an hour and 11 minutes of my time to watching a documentary about something, no matter how much I love it. The truth is, for several of those months, there wasn’t an hour in my life that I could spend consuming media. There was my job, there were internships, there was the constant fight for the right to stay in the country that has become my home.

Why talk about how long it took me to finally watch this documentary? Only to tell you all that I should have made time earlier, no matter the life circumstances, to watch it.

It’s a documentary not so much about climbing as it is a documentary about the people of climbing, the beautiful, kind, crazy, and incredible people, each with their own stories and experiences that shaped them both as people and as climbers.

It’s about the community that comes together when one is in need, about a community tight-knit not only by the shared love for climbing but by the bonds of friendships built over time and through trials and trust.

It’s about beauty and danger, about freedom and responsibility, and about so much more it seems nearly impossible to put it into one short summary. Therefore, I ask you to give this documentary 71 minutes of your own time—and I ask you this because I know that every single second is worth it.

takayna | What If Running Could Save A Rainforest?

Patagonia has some really good short films and documentaries, there’s no arguing that. But last week I happened upon one that, for some reason, had been elusive to me up until that point but which I consider one of my favourite ones now. (Ouch, this was a super hard thing to say — nearly all of Patagonia’s short documentaries are my favourite ones!)

And because I’m publishing this from an airport, which means that in a few minutes, I’ll be on an airplane, re-watching this documentary, and because I genuinely think this short documentary is as heart-breaking as it is beautiful, and as important as it is, perhaps, unwanted, I thought the best course of action would be to share it with you all.

We all have probably heard about deforestation and realize that it poses a certain amount of threat to our future and the future of the planet. But how often do we hear about how bad it really gets, or about the people who are putting their own bodies on the line against heavy machinery to save the lungs of the planet and the homes of millions of species?

“I’ve felt Country talk freely to you and then run back to the same place months later to a silent and sterile wreck of splinters and dirt. This is a fundamental fight. The disease of man chasing money is real and it’s an epidemic… We fight on.”

Stills Hunter

What is being done? What can we do? And how is one runner helping save the Tarkine forest?

Patagonia answered this and more in takayna | What If Running Could Save a Rainforest.