Fife mental health film bags over two million views

Filmmaker Gavin Hugh with Ross Cunningham, from Glenrothes, and dog Dex.
Filmmaker Gavin Hugh with Ross Cunningham, from Glenrothes, and dog Dex.

A Kirkcaldy filmmaker’s short film on Munro Bagging has been viewed more than two million times online.

Gavin Hugh teamed up with former flatmate Ross Cunningham to make the film in which Ross talks about how hiking Scotland’s highest mountains with his dog, Dex, helped him overcome a bout of depression.

Filming took place in the Cairngorms with an interview recorded at the foot of Falkland Hill.

The video has been viewed by over 2.2 million people through The Social, BBC Scotland and BBC One’s Facebook pages, including a further 68,000 people on Twitter.

Gavin, who runs the video production business MidgieBite Media, said: “We’re absolutely delighted with the response. We really didn’t expect the video to get the reach that it has.

“It’s been a privilege to share Ross’s story and it’s great that the BBC have heavily promoted it.

“Hopefully our film inspires a few more people to get out and explore Scotland, which is one of the most beautiful countries in the world.”

Ross, who is from Glenrothes and is a former media and community officer for Fife Flyers, said: “I’ve had messages from literally hundreds of people from almost every continent to tell me about how much they enjoyed the video.

“After initially agreeing to take part in a video on Munro Bagging, I decided on the day of the interview that I would be honest about why I got into it and to open up about having depression at one point in my life – something only family, close friends and workmates would have been aware of – and how hiking was one of the things that helped me overcome it.

“Walking and any type of exercise is good for your mental health, but there are so many elements to Munro Bagging which has got me hooked; that feeling when you get to the top of one, the incredible views and landscapes you’ll see, visiting parts of Scotland you’ve never been to before, and making a lot of new friends along the way.”

The pair are planning a follow-up with the BBC encouraging people to get outdoors to climb their first Munro.

Ross added: “If anyone is going through any sort of mental health issue, I think getting out the house and doing something active can be a big help, but the biggest thing is to open up about it and not keep it inside.

“Recovering from any form of mental health issue can take a long time but the first step is opening up about it.”