For obvious reasons, this year the format is not quite the same as it has been the previous 39 years, the festival is fully online, virtual, remote. Whichever term we use, it means there won’t be that beer in the Brewery meeting new people and talking about adventures, no squeezing through the basecamp tent on a Saturday afternoon trying to get in to see Sir Chris tell another of his amazing tales, running through Kendal to the Leisure Centre because you’ve misjudged how long it takes to get there. I have heard it referred to as the outdoor Christmas night out and what a night out it is. This year we will need to make the sacrifice to adventure another day.
All is not lost, the team at Kendal Mountain Festival have prepared a programme covering 10 days of online content to satisfy our craving for adventure. So, fear not the 40th anniversary of the festival will leave its mark on the outdoor calendar, as usual.
Get your down jacket on, grab a beer and check out our pick for #KENDAL20:
Tough Women Adventure Stories with Jenny Tough (Thursday 19th Nov, 20:00)
Kicking off the whole festival is adventurer Jenny Tough, who has curated a book of the same name, bringing badass women together to show how badass they can be. Being the opening act I’m sure won’t phase any of the team involved in this as they have carved their own trail and they are going to tell us about it. Looking forward to this, it will definitely get us in the mood.
Over the Edge presented by Rab (Friday 20th Nov, 18:00)
WTF! Five years! No, it isn’t an aggressive look at the outdoors. It’s a celebration of the 5 year anniversary and success of the Women’s Trad Festival brainchild of Ellie Fuller, Charlie Low, Gilly McArthur and Hetty Key. How the community has grown and what benefits there have been.
Roraima presented by Berghaus (Saturday 21st Nov, 19:30)
The festival wouldn’t be the same without a big Berghaus blockbuster, Leo Houlding leads a mission to the depths of the Amazon jungle to climb Mount Roraima with a formidable team. The expedition was documented in 2019 on Matt Pycroft’s The Adventure Podcast live and it made good listening. We are looking forward to seeing the action.
Totally FKT (Sunday 22nd Nov, 16:30)
Summit Fever Media bring the battle of the Fastest Known Time on the Pennine Way by John Kelly and Damian Hall. Who will clinch the FKT? Although the cat is out the bag if you look, not even hard, on social media. The skills of Ellie and Matt from SFM will undoubtably produce another muscle cramping, heart pounding, muddy, trail running film. The film is followed up by a live session with the athletes and filmmakers.
Aldo Kane & Jason Fox (Sunday 22nd Nov, 19:30)
Two royal Marines, a stage and a microphone! What could go wrong? Fortunately, the experience of festival director Steve Scott will be on hand to guide the evening with these two highly experienced military specialists and adventurers. There will be great stories I’m sure, with a sense of humour that will be unique and entertaining.
Patagonia Rock Session (Monday 23rd Nov, 20:00)
Niall Grimes presents a group of rock climbers, exclusive films and inspirational chat. Emma Twyford, Pete Whittaker, Robbie Phillips and Abbie Robinson, look at canal bridge crack climbing, paraclimbing and climbing 9a. For a climber this will be an interesting and entertaining session.
Lowe Alpine Adventure Session (Thursday 26th Nov, 20:00)
The rucksack brand has brought together a great mix of adventurers, with different attributes, strengths and skills hosted by Rich Parks, who has transitioned from rugby to adventurer. Outdoor instructor Rehna Yaseen, Geoff Holt, quadriplegic sailor and Guinness world record holding Polar explorer, Ann Daniels. We think that the mix of adventure experiences will show how there is no restriction to adventure.
Mindful Travel Session presented by Swiss Tourism (Saturday 28th Nov, 16:30)
Mindfulness is a truly relevant topic these days, a mind state which the outdoors has always been known to help. Presenters Ash Bhardwaj and Pip Stewart delve into the topic, we hope to see how mindfulness can help us in our travels.
Build Strong Bonds Session presented by Montane (Sunday 29th Nov, 17:00)
Montane have mixed trail runners, paddle boarders and climbers to show how bonds are developed in the activities we do. Sharing experiences, making connections and building bonds. The panel have proven themselves in their own right, we look forward to hearing how the process started and where it has led to.
As well as the one-off films and sessions on the programme there are film collections and feature films to interest every genre of the outdoors; mountain, climb, run, bike, snow, water, air, ride, explore. To name a few, each have 5 or 6 films of varying lengths that will keep you occupied for months, if only there was enough time.
On top of all the above there is the renowned Literature Festival. This runs concurrently with the specialist and the speaker sessions throughout the 10 days of the virtual festival. There are so many Literature events it is hard to choose highlights, ones we have cherry picked are:
Simon Bainbridge – Mountaineering and British Romanticism (Sunday 22nd Nov, 11:30)
There will be no need to cram in for the basecamp sessions these will be free to view throughout the period of the online festival. There is, as usual, plenty to quench your thirst for adventure.
Now there’s two other special mentions. Firstly our very own Jesse Leong will be part of the Women in Adventure Session presented by Berghaus.
And as a bit of an exclusive below is a sneak peak at a session that will be released over the course of the festival, just look out for the Apex session! Exciting stuff!
Tickets for all these online events can be found on the Kendal Mountain Festival website as a single event purchase to a full festival pass.
We look forward to getting to Kendal to see everyone in person, but for now we will enjoy the festival online and look forward to gathering in 2021 in person.
Thank you to Kendal Mountain festival and the contributers for allowing us to use the images in this article.