Mike Pescod, Chairman of the Highland Mountain Culture Association, organisers of the Festival, said: "The 2013 Fort William Mountain Festival is one of the most popular events in Scotland's outdoor adventure calendar and everyone attending will be inspired, energized and entertained.
This year's programme celebrates mountain culture in all its forms and promotes the mountains as an attractive, accessible and above all enjoyable place to be. It includes a superb line up of top climbers and explorers, mountain films, inspirational speakers and skills workshops. It caters for a wide spectrum of enthusiasts from armchair adventurers to climbers and mountaineers to mountain bikers and budding wildlife photographers."
The Fort William Mountain Festival programme includes:
Festival Launch Night - Wednesday 20/02/13 - The festival kicks off in action packed style at Nevis Range Mountain Experience, near Fort William. The evening will begin with a torchlight descent spectacular as a range of local outdoor athletes on skis, bike and foot weave their way down Aonach Mhor. This will be followed by a locally sourced and inspired four course meal, a preview screening of the festival competition films and live musical entertainment.
Bike Night - Thursday 21/02/13 - Kicking off the festival in style will be a full-on evening of mountain bike film action in the company of Chipps Chippendale (Singletrack Magazine), Rob Warner (Former pro dowhhill rider and mountain bike commentator) and Stu Thomson (Former pro downhill rider and mountain bike film maker - MTBCut); with compere Nigel Page (Former BMX and pro downhill rider, race team manager and commentator). They will present their favourite bike films throughout the night and conduct an interactive and light hearted Q & A session.
British Mountain Guides Night - Thursday 21/02/13 - Three members of British Mountain Guides, the most qualified and experienced professionals to lead people in the mountains, will share their passion for climbing and mountaineering. Andy Nelson lives in Glencoe where he has climbed extensively, putting up new routes at the highest standard. He will recount his experiences of Scottish winter climbing. Tim Neill, who has climbed widely in the UK, Ireland and throughout the world, will entertain the audience with his alpine climbing adventures. Stu McAleese is one of the best alpinists currently operating from the UK, a true all-rounder. He will focus his talk on some of the major expedition climbs he has been involved in including the ascent of Arctic Monkeys VI A4 V+ on Baffin Island that involved 18 consecutive nights on portaledges.
Antarctic Adventures Night with Karen Darke- 'From the Paralympics to the Pole...' and Felicity Aston - ‘Call of the White' - Friday 22/02/13. Karen Darke, a silver medallist in the hand-cycling Time Trial at the London 2012 Paralympic Games, has hand-cycled all over the world including Central Asia and the Himalayas, the Karakoram and the length of the Japanese archipelago. She has co-organised sea kayaking expeditions along the coastlines of British Columbia and Alaska, a sit-skiing trip across the Greenland Icecap, climbing El Capitan and kayaking through the fjords of Patagonia. Karen will entertain the audience with stories of her adventures and the challenges of wheels in them before finishing with her plans for her next expedition to the South Pole. In 2009 Felicity Aston lead a group of seven women from six different countries, representing six religions and seven languages, on a 900km trek from the south coast of Antarctica to the Geographic South Pole, in just 38 days. The team, many of them complete novices, had met only eight months before they set off. Felicity will bring their incredible journey to life, not just the physical aspects but also what it took to transform these individuals into such a successful team.
Climbing Night with Andy Cave - Saturday 23/02/13. Ben Nevis has been central in the history of Scottish winter mountaineering - the site of legendary new routes, incredible characters, unfailing passion and tragedy. As a teenager Andy Cave, one of the greatest mountaineers of his generation who explores new routes in remote mountain ranges all over the world, had his first taste of mountaineering on the Ben. In 2013 he returns with friends to examine the importance of Scottish Winter climbing and its impact on mountaineering throughout the world. Packed with both humour and drama this entertaining lecture is a celebration of winter climbing through the prism of Ben Nevis; together with some freshly shot video of The Ben by award winning film maker Paul Diffley. The 6th recipient of the Scottish Award for Excellence in Mountain Culture will also be formally announced.
The Best of Banff Mountain Film Festival World Tour Film Night - Sunday 24/02/13 - Always a sell-out, this is your chance to see the best in award winning mountain films from around the world - extreme expeditions and challenges, remote cultures and the world's last great wild places. Don't miss it!
Winter Skills Workshops - There will also be plenty of opportunity for both novices and experts to hone their mountain skills through a series of workshops in avalanche awareness, winter walking and winter climbing with Abacus Mountaineering. There is a one off Climbing Technique Master Class with local climber Dave MacLeod. There will be mountain photography workshops with Nevispix and a two day outdoor emergency first aid course at the Snowgoose Mountain Centre. Indoor climbing and ice climbing skills workshops will also be on offer at Kinlochleven's Ice Factor Indoor Climbing Centre. There is even a gaelic language workshop aimed at climbers, mountaineers and hillwalkers at theWest Highland College, UHI, entitled ‘Understanding our mountains through the Gaelic language'.
Mike Pescod added: "This celebration of mountain culture, showcasing the huge range of outdoor activity opportunities available to visitors to Fort William and Lochaber, one of Scotland's most stunning natural environments, is the vision of The Outdoor Capital of the UK, which is our presenting sponsor once again."
To find out more about the Fort William Mountain Festival 2013 and to buy your festival tickets go to - www.mountainfestival.co.uk/
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