The 10th Keswick Mountain Festival has something for everyone

Posted by Peter Burnside on 08/04/2016
Keswick's local lake, Derwentwater. Photo: Shutterstock / Ian Duffield.

Keswick Mountain Festival (KMF) is preparing to kick off the UK’s 2016 summer festival season with a burst of adventure. Coming to you on 19 to 22 May.

Sponsored by Hi-Tec, the festival has grown into one of the biggest and best loved outdoor events in the UK. This unique event presents a mix of outdoor adventure, high profile speakers, sporting events, live music, camping and family friendly activities, all with the magical Lakeland landscape as a background. 

Festival highlights

Over three nights, the Theatre by the Lake will host some of the most high profile names from the world of climbing and outdoor adventure.

Mountain Night: Saturday 21 May

This gathering of inspirational mountain speakers includes Mick Fowler, who recently bagged an unprecedented third Piolet d'Or for his expedition to far west Nepal with teammate Paul Ramsden. They achieved a bold first ascent of Gave Ding, an unclimbed mountain in a valley never before visited by westerners.

Also speaking on Saturday evening is Alan Hinkes OBE – the first British mountaineer to have climbed all 14 of the world’s 8,000m peaks. Alan will talk about that quest and some of his more recent adventures, in Scotland, Norway and the Arctic. Completing the line-up on Saturday will be Simon Yates, who for three decades has been exploring the vertical world and achieving first ascents around the globe. A leading exponent of lightweight alpinism, Yates will entertain his audience with stories, images and footage from his many climbs. 

Outdoor Evening: Thursday 19 May

Kicking off the speaker programme, Thursday promises an evening of entertainment, courtesy of two popular TV presenters. Opening the schedule is Monty Halls, who, for the last three years, has been travelling the world, seeking out the great mysteries and the hidden gems of the planet. He has led expeditions and explored oceans, caves and jungles, and maintained a high profile on TV with series such as Dive Mysteries and Lost Worlds.  During his talk, Monty will explore whether exploration and true adventure still exist.

Monty will then be followed by Julia Bradbury, one of the best known outdoor enthusiasts in the UK. Julia will share her recent adventures and favourite walks, some of which feature in her latest eight part series for ITV, Great Walks with a View.  

Here Julia supports the BMC's recent crowdfunding campaign: Mend Our Mountains.

Tickets for sessions in the Theatre by the Lake start at £10 and can be booked at: http://www.theatrebythelake.com/keswick-mountain-festival.

Festival Village

Away from the theatre, the heart of KMF will be the Festival Village in Crow Park. Right next to Derwentwater, the village will host an abundance of family friendly activities for all ages. With more than 250 activities to choose from, there's plenty of choice no matter what your age or ability. Everything is available on a pay-as-you-go basis, or free with a wristband.

Returning favourites for young visitors will include tree climbing, den building and mud pie making with the National Trust, and the overground caving system. Due to popular demand and thanks to sponsorship from Cotswold Outdoor, there will be three climbing walls in the village this year, including a clip ’n climb tower. In addition, making its debut in 2016 is the Freedrop Tower, giving visitors the chance to jump off a cliff or out of a window in the style of a film stunts-person. Another new attraction will be the Bike Airbag, which will allow cyclists to try outlandish stunts in safety.

Sponsored by Rohan, the KMF Adventure Tipi Talks will run all day Friday, Saturday and Sunday with a wide variety of speakers sharing stories and answering questions. Elsewhere in the KMF Village, visitors can hire kayaks and canoes, cheer on competitors in the sports events and interact with exhibitors that include some of the biggest names in the outdoor and adventure world, including overall festival sponsor Hi-Tec. There will be plenty of food and drink on offer and the chance to sit down in the marquee bar and listen to live music. The entertainment will continue on the Friday and Saturday evenings, when major acts take to the Lexus Stage. Access to Crow Park will be free during the day and with the right wristband, you can stay on the site for the evenings of live music.

Nicola Meadley commented: "We’ve got more taster activities, a huge variety of exhibitors and refreshments, and some amazing speakers for the Adventure Tipi Talks. There will be a massive amount to either do or just watch, particularly when you add in two evenings of live music and the fact that our 10 sporting events will all finish in the village. We welcomed over 17,000 visitors last year and with this line-up, I think we can look forward to even more in 2016.”

BMC member special offer

Save £5 on a Festival Weekend ticket

Save money on a weekend ticket (camping or not) and enjoy access to all the taster activities, plus two nights of live music, in an exclusive offer to BMC members. To redeem the £5-off offer, all you need to do is type in BMC5 on the ticket-buying web-page where it says 'Use Code'.

Visitors can choose from a wide range of ticket options, with individual and family passes available for the festival at: www.keswickmountainfestival.co.uk.


The Access and Conservation Trust

The BMC's charity  the BMC Access & Conservation Trust  promotes sustainable access to cliffs, mountains and open countryside by facilitating education and conservation projects across the United Kingdom and Ireland.

By educating climbers, hill walkers and mountaineers to enjoy outdoor recreation while minimising their impact on the landscape, conserving the UK’s upland resources, and campaigning for improved access rights, ACT enables future generations to continue to enjoy outdoor activities and the physical, mental and social benefits they bring to individual lives and society in general.

READ: More about the recent work of ACT

WATCH: the Mend Our Mountains: Make One Million campaign film


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