Making an adventure film in one day: Following the River Fowey from source to sea

Five years ago, Chris Lucas and his dad headed into the Canadian wilderness for a canoe trip down the Yukon River. It was father and son bonding at its most extreme: Big landscapes, physical exertion, and all the mental and emotional challenges that come with an outdoor feat on this scale. 

The result of that journey was a full-length feature film about the adventure called The Yukon Assignment

Now, all this time later, Chris has risen to his own challenge to create a similarly inspiring adventure film, created in one day, and filmed on his home turf. This is how the idea for a one-day adventure film came about. 

As Chris concedes, making a full-length film is “incredibly time-consuming.” The resources required – both in terms of human power and equipment – are mighty. But it was also just incredible. 

Apart from the trip itself, having help from so many people was a wonderful experience, and the buzz of filming something beautiful and sharing it with people was something he wanted to replicate.  

For a while Chris kept his eye on his local landscapes, wondering if it was possible to share the splendor of those places with people through film. He wanted to create a story with a trimmed-down filming and production process that still encouraged and inspired people to get out and explore.

“Between work commitments and trying to be a good dad, this is hard. I kept wondering whether I could do something in just one day. Keep it local, just me, maximize the adventure!”

Turns out he could. One Friday evening he planned his route on komoot — following the course of the River Fowey through Cornwall from its source on Bodmin Moor to the sea in south Cornwall. Early on Saturday morning, he set off with packraft, drone camera, and snacks in the bag. 

Video preview. click to watch

“I wanted to travel as light as possible but I still needed hiking stuff, a bit a rope type stuff, and a packraft, not to mention the camera kit to film with. No crew, no fancy Hollywood tech, just see what I could get done in a day!”

This is the adventure he found, in his own words.  

“My day started early at the source of the river high on the moor. It’s been very dry recently so a lot of the marsh has drained but I skirted the edge to protect the mosses anyway — a valuable carbon store to be protected. 

Moorland gave way to woodland and the opportunity to get some abseiling footage by the scenic Golitha Falls. There is no current access to the river for a stretch here so I rejoined it as it became tidal. Inflating the packraft and waiting for the tide to turn, I was already spun out by how much the river had changed in such a short distance. The wooded banks of the river give it a far-flung feel, a truly beautiful place. 

Finally, the river meets the sea and before being swept out into the channel, I made landfall, packed up the boat and trudged up the hill so I could finish the film with sweeping aerials as I had started it. But this time rather than remote moorland, I had the southern coastline. 

I hope you enjoy the film, and I hope it inspires some folk to get out and make their own (adventure or film!). A massive thank you to komoot for supporting this project.