It might not centre around mountain biking, or indeed on the face of it have very much to do with mountain biking at all, but we reckon that a healthy number of BM readers will be interested in Fort William’s forthcoming Mountain Festival.
The freshly-announced Festival programme will put the “Outdoor Capital of the UK” at the centre of the celebrations for Highland 2007, the Year of Highland Culture. Organisers of the 2007 Fort William Mountain Festival (Friday 16 February to Saturday 3 March), have promised a sixteen day extravaganza of films, lectures, workshops, art, writing, photography, theatre and music for residents and visitors who want to learn about and celebrate mountain culture.
This year’s expanded programme of new events and old favourites sees the most ambitious selection of cultural and sporting events and activities in Fort William and Lochaber during the best winter walking
and climbing conditions of the year. The diverse range of events which includes top climbers, paddlers, singers, international films and public art will cater for everyone of all ages from extreme adrenaline
junkies to Gaelic enthusiasts.
As the UK’s only festival dedicated to celebrating mountains and the culture that surrounds them, Fort William’s programme of events covers all aspects of mountain culture and also celebrates the Gaelic
language. Festival highlights include Yvon Chouinard (CEO of the Patagonia Company), Timmy O’Neill (reputed to be the fastest climber in the world), Gaelic singer Anne Lorne Gillies, original photographs by Frank Hurley in the ‘Antarctic Witness’ exhibition, the festival favourite ‘Party up a Mountain’ and plenty of opportunities to get involved with a range of workshops and practical activities.
The beginning of the festival will be heralded by a fantastic light show on Meall an t-Slamain originally created by Glasgow designers slight, for NVA’s The Storr: Unfolding Landscape project on Skye in
2005 which will be redeveloped specially for the Fort William Mountain Festival in conjunction with children from local schools.
Children and adults will have the opportunity to try out new activities and learn skills through daily workshops in mountain skills, avalanche awareness, winter walking, mountain biking, winter climbing and both indoor climbing and ice climbing at Kinlochleven’s Ice Factor Indoor Climbing Centre.
Packed with extra events, the 2007 festival is the biggest yet and for the first time includes theatre performances from local and visiting companies and writing workshops provided by the John Muir Trust. The programme is so huge that for the first time the festival has its own Fringe including music, writing, talks, book readings and even whisky tasting.
Though the word ‘film’ may not feature in the title of the festival as in previous years this important section of the programme is not forgotten and has also expanded to include two nights of the Best of Banff World Tour as well as the winners of Fort William’s own film competition that will receive their
premieres at the Nevis Centre on Sunday 25 February. Also new this year is the John Muir Trust Open Writing Competition with the regular prizes for the People’s Choice Original Art Competition and the Photographic Competitions returning for another year.
The festival will close with a spectacular line up of climbing legends Jimmy Marshall and Yvon Chouinard discussing the evolution of climbing and their own amazing experiences with Dave MacLeod and Festival Patron Hamish MacInnes along with screenings of archive climbing films. This event, along with many of the evening talks and films takes place at the Nevis Centre, the festival centre which also hosts the Festival Art and Photography exhibition on show throughout the festival.
Full programme details are available at
http://www.mountainfestival.co.uk. Tickets for all events are on sale and available online or by calling