Wednesday 2 December 2015

The Kendal Mountain Festival. November 18th - 22nd 2015.

A few weeks ago, we saw the annual coming together of outdoor enthusiasts and outdoor professionals for the Kendal Mountain Festival, 2015.

Since 2009, we have usually been joined at this event by a few past clients who have become friends. On  this occasion, Chris was able to make it but not Adam. On the day the festival started, Chris & Iain took a trip out west to Wastwater in order that Chris could get a few more Wainwrights under his belt and a few of these were actually new to Iain too. Photo one was taken from the saddle between Seatallan and Haycock looking towards Yewbarrow and Wastwater, with the Scafells in the cloud beyond. The day started off very wet and cloudy, but improved markedly whilst we were out.

Friday saw us venture into the Mountain Festival around mid-day. There was the usual big "Base-camp" tent erected outside in the Brewery Arts Centre Car Park. This time, it was a pleasant surprise to find it full of stalls and displays for all manner of business and manufacturers associated with outdoor sports rather than being half occupied by racks of cut price outdoor clothing! A big improvement.

Our first lecture of the weekend found us in the base-camp tent later that afternoon enjoying a short lecture by local climbing legend James McHaffie about his rock climbing career (photo two).

The Kendal Mountain Festival is a fantastic social occasion for all of us working in the outdoors. You can guarantee to spend a fair amount of time socialising, chatting and catching up with past acquaintances and old work colleagues. In photo three, Chris chats with Neil Mackay a recently qualified IFMGA Mountain Guide and long standing friend of ours. Neil is just one of many people that we caught up with; and shared a beer with during the course of the Mountain Festival. The last time we saw Neil was during Iain, Chris & Adam's visit to The Alps  in July when we spent quite a lot of time with him - climbing some great Alpine routes in the run up to his final guides test - top stuff!

Later on Friday evening, we went to see the premiere of the film Transition produced by Hot Aches Productions. The film (photo four) follows the course of Natalie Berry - UK Competition climber, as she makes the transition from indoors climbing to outdoors "trad" in Summer & Winter with leading UK Climber Dave McLeod as her mentor. As a Mountaineering Instructor often working with clients as a mentor facilitating this exact same transition, Iain was keen to see how this leading outdoor professional developed Natalie's skills although as it turned out, there was very little coaching presented throughout the film. We still enjoyed it though!

For Saturday, Chris & Iain had obtained some film passes for the festival which at £30 each, were expensive - particularly if you only wanted to see one or two films mixed in with some lectures. The KMF used to do a "Weekend Film Pass" which was very good value. On this occasion, the value factor seemed to have disappeared from the event sadly and in the evening Chris was quite annoyed when he discovered that one of the films he had paid the film pass fee for (Tom) was being shown free in Ruskin's Bar in the town centre!

We spent the latter part of the evening socialising with friends in both The Brewery and then later, in Ruskin's before leaving others to party through the night. As our Sunday lecture started at 09:00 in the morning, 02:30 was a late enough time to be out drinking we felt; and in any case, upon rising at 07:30, yes, it certainly felt like the morning after the KMF Saturday night out!

We made our way in to The Brewery to see the "Best of Kendal Breakfast" film presentation and funnily enough, the last film of the presentation was...Tom! On discovering this, Chris decided to leave early to make the long drive back up north. As always, it had been great to spend time with him.

Iain spent the afternoon at Andy Kirkpatrick's Lecture followed by Leo Houlding's outstanding lecture about his recent ascent of "Mirror Wall" in East Greenland. This was, in our view, the best lecture of the whole event! After this, Iain was, quite frankly, "Festivalled out" and was happy to return home for a quiet night in.

Thoughts on the Kendal Mountain festival on this occasion, well somehow, it just didn't feel as good as years gone by.  As mentioned, daily film passes were expensive making the combination of seeing films & lectures prohibitive on the same day unless you wanted to spend a fortune and then it was most annoying to find films you'd paid paid for repeated elsewhere...there seemed to be an awful lot of duplication - particularly with regards to films.

Hopefully next year will be better!!

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