If you’re in need of an escape towards the end of February then we can recommend the Fort William Mountain Festival, taking place from Wednesday 21st to Sunday 25th February 2018.
The five-day programme, packed full of inspiration, education and entertainment, action and adventure, includes:
Festival Launch Night – Wednesday 21st – A torchlit descent of Aonach Mor on ski, board and mountain bike will kick things off. Then settle in at the Pinemarten Cafe Bar at the Nevis Range, with tasty food and local beer, for an entertaining evening with Spike and Sudsy’s Tall Tales of Nevisport, Nevis Range and Mountain Rescue, delivered with an abundance of overstatement and exaggeration.
The Film Competition night – Thursday 22nd – invites you to relax and watch the winning outdoor adventure films, presented by Paul Diffley. The Climbers Summit is a brand new ‘all things climbing’ night of chat and films with Robbie Phillips and Dave MacLeod.
Running Without Fear – Friday 23rd – life without limits with multi award winning adventurer and broadcaster Lowri Morgan. The Big Picture Night – ecological science & visual storytelling thinking about a wilder Scotland.
Monster Cracks and Desert Adventures – Sat 24th – ridiculous upside-down journeys with the Wide Boyz, masters of crack climbing Tom Randall and Pete Whittaker.
The Great Divide Bike Race – Saturday 24th – 2,745 off-road miles from Canada to Mexico with Lee Craigie, introduced by Emma Holgate’s Bikepacking Havanas adventures. The After Party – grab a partner for the party with the Riska ceilidh band. Sponsored by Thistle Access N.D.T. Ltd and supporting the Lochaber Mountain Rescue Team.
Banff Centre Mountain Film Festival World Tour – Sunday 25th – the finest mountain films to entertain, enthral & inspire from the Banff Centre Mountain Film Festival World Tour.
The Arts Programme.
‘Photographing Scotland?’ – Thursday 22/2/18. Glasgow based and award winning adventure sports and landscape photographer Dougie Cunningham introduces his new Photo-location and Visitor Guidebook.
Art Lochaber Pop-up Gallery and Shop – Friday to Tuesday 27/2/18 returns to Nevis Range selling outdoor themed paintings, mounted pictures and cards.
‘Wainwright Revealed‘ – Saturday 24/2/18. Hear from award winning filmmaker and author Richard Else who filmed the original BBC films with the Lake District guidebook writer, Alfred Wainwright. Wainwright had a 40 year love affair with Scotland travelling the Highlands & Islands entirely by public transport.
Cameron McNeish – Saturday 24/2/18 – Book presentation and book signing from one of Scotland’s best known wilderness hikers, cycle tourers and authorities on outdoor pursuits. In this field he is best known as an author and broadcaster, although he is also a magazine editor, lecturer and after dinner speaker and an adviser to various outdoor organisations.
Festival organisers have put together a wide range of workshops with plenty of opportunities for both novices and experts to hone their mountain skills.
The Crack Climbing Masterclasses with the Wide Boyz – a Crack climbing masterclasses with Pete Whittaker and Tom Randall, the crack climbing kings! One hour crack coaching and a free roll of tape (taping is part of the masterclass) at Three Wise Monkeys Climbing, Fort William Winter Walking Skills, Avalanche Awareness, Ben Nevis Guided Walk Performance Winter Climbing.
Regular Mountain Festival supporter and local guiding company, Abacus Mountain Guides, will be teaming up with the Mountain Festival once again with a selection of workshops including Winter Walking Skills, Avalanche Awareness, a Ben Nevis Guided Walk and Performance Winter Climbing. This is the perfect opportunity for everyone of all abilities to learn new skills this winter.
Dave MacLeod will once again be running his Climbing Masterclasses during the Fort William Mountain Festival. The full-day classes will be run at his own climbing wall in Roy Bridge, covering climbing technique, planning and implementing your training, injury prevention and sound nutrition to maximise your performance
Join the Ride out & Coaching with West Coast Biking taking in some of the best single track available, not forgetting great tea & cake. Well qualified guides & coaches will be on hand to chat and show you around the trails, refreshing some fundamental techniques and progress to new mountain biking skills.
For the second year running Penny, from Mountain Yoga Kinlochleven, will take inspiration from the surrounding mountains and bring her Mountain Yoga Practises to the Festival. Workshops for climbers, runners and hill walkers are a special interest, exploring how yoga can help our bodies and minds run and climb further and higher.
Learn to work on Fix Your Bike Yourself with tuition from some of the best mechanics in the business from Nevis Cycles. Covering basics to suspension and hydraulics.
Joining us this year for the first time will be local company Atlas Mountaineering, teaming up with snow sports instructor, Duncan Goldthorp, to offer a range of Winter Mountain Skills including winter navigation and avalanche transceiver use.
The Exhibition Zone
Explore the Exhibition Zone, open daily before the main programme events and during intervals. Exhibitors include: Abacus Mountain Guides, East Lochaber and Laggan Community Trust, Ellis Brigham, The Highland Bookshop, Jamie Hageman, John Muir Trust, Lochaber Environmental Group, Lochaber & Lorn Ramblers, Nevis Cycles, Nevis Landscape Partnership, Rare Breed Productions, the West Highland College School of Adventure Studies, Scottish Mountain Heritage Collection, 3 Wise Monkeys, Urban Uprising and West Coast Biking.
Festival website – https://www.mountainfestival.co.uk/
Main photo by Mike Pecod – Abacus Mountain Guides