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This year’s Kendal Mountain Festival is packed with inspiring talks and speaker sessions, but which are the ones most likely to fire up your inspiration levels? I’ve been trying to plan my schedule, which is tough because the line-up of speakers this year is incredible – and also because some of them run concurrently.
I’ve whittled it down to the speakers I’m personally getting excited about hearing from, but there are loads of others who are leading talks during the weekend, so check out the event programme here. The weekend itself takes place from 15 – 18 November. If you’re going, see you there!
Here are my picks of the ones to book:
Friday 16 November
Trek Bike Night (7pm-10.30pm)
The brilliant adventure/ultra cyclist Lee Craigie of the Adventure Syndicate is hosting this off-road evening which will also feature other MTB guests such as 5-time Downhill World Champion, Rachel Atherton (and brothers), Enduro rider Katy Winton and the legend that is downhill/enduro’s Tracy Moseley, plus films, cool MTB kit and, of course, a bar.
Saturday 17 November
Where to start on Saturday? There’s just so much good stuff going on, I’m wishing I had a clone so I could be in more than one place at a time.
Findra Everyday Adventure (9.30-11am)
Adventure is relative; what’s one person’s molehill is another’s mountain, so I’m excited to hear about ‘doable’ adventures and ordinary people doing their own extraordinary things. Speakers include Katie Hall, who started running long distances a few years ago and has now completed the trio of ultras known as the West Highland Way ‘Triple Crown’.
Liv Sansoz: LIVe life to its fullest (11.30am – 1pm)
I cannot wait for this one! A former world champion sport climber, Liv Sansoz is a lover of the mountains, an alpinist, and in 2017 kicked off her 40th birthday year with a challenge to summit all 4000m+ mountain peaks in the Alps within a year. Liv’s resilience matches her courage and has seen her comeback from serious injury multiple times, both from climbing falls and a pretty catastrophic base jumping accident.
Anna McNuff Fifty Shades of the USA (1.30-3pm)
Last year, Adventure Queen Anna McNuff rode her bike through every US state, covering a whopping 11,000 miles. Anna will be sharing stories (hilarity guaranteed) of her cycling experience at Kendal. Anna is bonkers and has a capacity for feats of exceptional endurance, most of them solo, having previously run self-supported along New Zealand’s 3000km Te Araroa Trail.
Colombia Mountain Running Sessions (2.15-4.15pm)
It’s a close call, but I’m probably most excited about this session. Firstly, there’s former blog guest Jenny Tough who is currently running across the Bolivian Andes solo and self-supported. Jenny’s previously run across the Tien Shan mountains of Kyrgyzstan and the Atlas Mountains in Morocco, solo and self-supported (side note, she was also recently the first female finisher of the brutal self-supported Silk Road Mountain Race, also in Kyrgyzstan). Then there’s British ultra runner Damian Hall, who is both talented and very funny and came 5th at the UTMB this year. Skyrunning World Champion and OCR World Champion Jon Albon joins the line-up – a rare opportunity to hear him talk. And finally, ultra runner Eoin Keith, who won the Spine Race in 2016, completes the speaker line-up.
Shauna Coxsey – High Hopes (2.30pm – 4pm)
Shauna Coxsey is Britain’s most successful competitive climber and a two-time Bouldering World Champion, founder of the Women’s Climbing Symposium and the first British woman to boulder 8B+. Oh, and she has an MBE too. This will no doubt be a very interesting and inspiring session.
Lowe Alpine Adventure Journals (4.30pm-7pm)
Amongst the speakers for the Adventure Journals is adventure editor and former Lessons in Badassery guest Pip Stewart who completed a world-first kayak of Ghana’s Essequibo River from source to sea earlier this year – a 1000km journey – with Ness Knight and Laura Bingham. I’m looking forward to hearing all of Pip’s stories, which may or may not feature bottoms and ticks in the same sentence.
Berghaus Adventure Women (8pm-10.30pm)
Anna McNuff is back to host this session which includes stories and motivation from brilliant women from within the adventure business. Think Berghaus climber Molly Thompson-Smith, Outdoor journalist and author Sian Lewis, and adventurer Anna Blackwell, who came on the blog earlier this year ahead of her world-first kayak from England to the Black Sea.
So those are the talks I’ll be scurrying around to squeeze in during the Festival. There are a lot I haven’t mentioned, including those taking place on Sunday 18. You can find out more about the festival by visiting www.kendalmountainfest.co.uk, and if you see me there come say hi!