February is the perfect time of year to experience the stunning landscape of Fort William and Lochaber first hand, with the best winter walking, climbing and snowsport conditions of the year. The Fort William Mountain Festival offers the added bonus of a superb line-up of uplifting talks from top climbers and mountaineers, mountain bikers, back country skiers and mountain filmmakers, together with exhilarating film screenings from cutting edge outdoor athletes and adventurers; mountain skills workshops and exhibitions. The Scottish Awards for Excellence in Mountain Culture for 2016, as nominated by the public, will also be awarded.
From armchair adventurers and weekend warriors to the UK’s mountain communities The Fort William Mountain Festival is an energising experience for everyone. The five-day programme, packed full of inspiration, education and entertainment, action and adventure, includes:
Festival Launch Night – Wednesday 17/02/16 – To kick it all off a torchlit descent of Aonach Mor on ski, board and mountain bike. Then settle in at The Pinemarten Café at the Nevis Range, with tasty food and local beer, for a cosy night of mountain tales, sneak peeks at the festival films and maybe a tune or two on the banjo.
European Outdoor Film Tour – Thursday 18/02/16 – Europe’s biggest tour of the best of the year’s adventure films, in one action packed night, comes to Fort William.
Scottish Winter Mountaineering presented by Greg Boswell – Friday 19/02/15 - Greg Boswell is the future of Scottish winter climbing. Greg has mastered the skills in this most traditional of activities, repeating the hardest climbs of his peers and adding his own big lines. He's at the cutting edge having just put up Scotland's second grade 12 route. Join Greg for a presentation of his recent adventures. Steep walls have replaced slabs; overhangs replace ledges. Success is no longer measured in half-day battles with the cold, but in ten-minute sprints where only incredible power will see you through
The FWMF Studio Sessions - Scottish Backcountry – Friday 19/02/16 - An all-star line up of Scottish backcountry skiing specialists, from the steep to the wild, will contribute to the evening. They will reflectt on the growth of the ski-mountaineering racing scene, give talks on pushing the limits of Highland free-riding, review the dangers of our untamed maritime snow-pack and première cinematic footage of what can be achieved on skis and boards in Scotland's Backcountry. These standard-setters include Freedom Series winner Robert Kingsland, infamous ski-adventurer Blair Aitken, SkiMo's Di Gilbert, Highland freeskier Peter MacKenzie, Mountain Rescue's legendary Davy Gunn and Snowsports Scotland's Iain Ramsay-Clapham.The Wild Bunch and Bob Shepton - Saturday 20/02/15 – Captain Reverend Bob Shepton returns to the Highlands with Olivier Favresse and Nico Favresse, two members of the renowned Wild Bunch expedition team, to recount incredible tales of their latest adventures in search of the holy grail - unclimbed big walls and musical enlightenment. On board the Dodo’s Delight (a 10m sailboat) the team measures up with arctic ice, polar bears and ferocious storms; and after some mouth-watering walls in Greenland, it's in Baffin Island where they find big virgin walls to propel the group to all-new heights.
The FWMF Studio Sessions – Bikes. Dirt. Downhill – Saturday 20/02/15. Three legends of the downhill and enduro mountain bike scene is Scotland share their passion, knowledge and experiences. Organiser of the legendary Mountain Bike World Cup and former Olympic skiier; Chris Ball, former downhill racer, founder of mountain bike coaching business, Dirt School, and Managing Director of the Enduro World Series and the Enduro MTB Association; and legend of downhill and enduro racing in Scotland, Crawford Carrick-Anderson.
The Best of Banff Mountain Film Festival World Tour – Sunday 21/02/15 A showcase of 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. One of the audience highlights of the festival and a guaranteed sell out every year.
The Fort William Mountain Book Festival returns for a second year. Legends of mountaineering and climbing along with local and visiting adventurers entertain entertain with extracts from their latest page turners. Full Arts Programme to be announced shortly.
Mountain skills workshops, exhibitions and competitions - There will be plenty of opportunity for both novices and experts to hone their mountain skills. Organisers have put together a range of workshops from How to organise an expedition and Gaelic hill names (understanding our mountains through the Gaelic language) to Avalanche awareness and Performance Scottish winter climbing. There will also be art and photography competition exhibitions, a film competition and live music.
Mike Pescod, Chairman of the Highland Mountain Culture Association, organisers of the Festival, said:
"Celebrating the culture and the landscape that surrounds us in Fort William is the inspiration behind the Mountain Festival. Come and find some breathing space and experience the warmth of the welcome you find in the Outdoor Capital of the UK.”
To find out more about the Fort William Mountain Festival 2015 go to: http://www.mountainfestival.co.uk/
Twitter - https://twitter.com/FWMF2016 / #FWMF2016
The Fort William Mountain Festival is presented by Jöttnar, technical clothing for mountaineering, winter climbing and all-mountain skiing - http://www.jottnar.com/
The Nevis Landscape Partnership. Ben Nevis and Glen Nevis represent one of Scotland’s most treasured landscapes, yet one which is seriously under-resourced. The Nevis Landscape Partnership, constituting a wide range of stakeholders and communities, is cohered around a shared vision: to protect this unique place for the future; to manage it collectively; to view it holistically; and to give voice to its diversity and many communities - www.nevislandscape.co.uk.
The Fort William Mountain Festival wish to thank the following sponsors and supporters – The Outdoor Capital of the UK, Ellis Brigham, Marine Harvest, Rio Tinto Alcan, Corpach Boat Builders, The Nevis Landscape Partnership, Hotscot, Cotswold Outdoor, Nevis Range, John Muir Trust, Allround Signs, Abacus Mountain Guides, The Granite House, No Fuss Events, Bill Scott Architects.