- By Laura Connor
A thrill-seeking Merseyside man is set to explore a remote island once used for shipping slaves to Liverpool.
Aigburth-based Darren Winwood is travelling to Saint Helena, a tropical island in the South Atlantic Ocean, to film its stunning scenery using a flying drone.
The 44-year-old will travel by mail boat for five days from Cape Town in South Africa in order to reach the island, which once held Napoleon in exile.
Saint Helena is the second oldest remaining British overseas territory, after Bermuda, and can only be reached by ship.
Darren told the ECHO ahead of his epic trip: “I first visited Saint Helena in 2012 and I thought it was a fascinating place.
“There’s no better way of exploring somewhere than filming it using a drone.”
Saint Helena also has a personal connection for Darren, as his grandad Bill Fowler was born on the island before he landed a job on a mail boat that sailed to England.
Darren said it’s an “exciting time” for Saint Helena, which he describes as a port of “strategic importance” for the British Empire until the opening of the Suez Canal.
“I am looking forward to filming such a beautiful sub-tropical island with its volcanic rocks,” said Darren, who is a fully qualified unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) pilot.
“My drone will allow me to capture the Jurassic beauty of the rugged island like never before.
“It’s just interesting to film stuff in this way and it gives you a completely different perspective.”
The main preparation the former climbing centre owner is doing ahead of his journey is keeping fit.
“I can’t risk getting sick when I’m out there,” he said.
And ahead of Saint Helena getting its first ever airport in 2016, Darren is using his mission to boost the historic island’s flagging tourist economy.
“Hopefully if people are sitting at home on a Sunday afternoon and wondering where to go on holiday, my video will encourage them to try somewhere new,” he said.
For just two or three minutes of footage, Darren will have to carry out 12 days of painstaking work in order to capture the perfect shots.
“If we’ve got any wind or rain, we can’t film,” Darren said.
The part-time DJ and avid sports fan is also using the project as part of his MBA dissertation at the University of Liverpool. His work filming the stunning sights of Merseyside have already given Darren, who runs photography company AeroCapture, plenty of practise.
“I first went to Saint Helena to see how I could work with businesses to attract tourists to the island – I always knew I wanted to go back,” he said.