Mark Beaumont

Mark Beaumont

An outdoors festival will return to a Scottish Borders town after the success of the inaugural event.

Global adventurer Mark Beaumont will be one of many star attractions as the Peebles Outdoor Film Festival returns to the Eastgate Theatre later this month with a line-up of speakers, adventure films and hands-on activities.

Following a successful inaugural festival last February, the 2016 event will have an expanded programme of speakers, shorts and feature-length films covering everything from adventure film-making, cycling and trail running to climbing, skiing and wildlife photography.

This year’s festival will run from 22 to 24 January.

The opening day will be all about life on two wheels. The bill includes The Program, Stephen Frear’s new film about the rise and fall of Lance Armstrong, plus presentations by elite Scottish mountain bike rider Lee Craigie, the Tweed Valley’s own rising star of world enduro racing Katy Winton, and global adventurer Mark Beaumont.

Beaumont will share his journey, from the boy who pedalled across Scotland and went on to cycle around the world, to capsizing while rowing across the Atlantic and exploring the high Arctic.

Also on the opening Friday, there will be a chance to find out what some of the students from Peebles High School really get up to in their spare time – in this case heading into the hills to build mountain bike trails, often with tools hand-made for the job. The young trailblazers will tell all together with Tweed Valley trail-building legend Pete Laing.

The programme for Saturday begins with the first of two early bird adventures: a chance for energetic dog lovers to try their hand at canicross and bikejor under the guidance of the team from Cani-Fit. Later on the same day, Cani-Fit’s Lindsay Johnson will talk on the joys of running, cycling and scootering with our four-legged friends – sports that have seen a huge rise in popularity across Scotland.

Also on Saturday, chartered forester and mountaineer James Ogilvie will talk about summiting Mount Vinson in Antarctica, so completing his 20-year journey to climb the Seven Summits, the seven highest peaks on each continent; plus there will be a window into the world of the multiple-award-winning Jen Randall, one of the rising young stars of adventure film-making in Scotland.

The day will be rounded off by National Geo Wild TV presenter, explorer and conservationist Niall McCann who will share stories of his many adventures from around the world.

The third and final day will begin early again with an opportunity to join wildlife photographer Laurie Campbell on a fieldcraft masterclass as he walks the banks of the Tweed in search of otter tracks, trails and signs. Born and raised in Berwick, Laurie has delighted in the return of otters to the River Tweed – the subject of his illustrated talk later on the same day.

Also on Sunday, local triathlete Scott Noble will tell the tale of how he caught the triathlon bug; Glasgow-based ultra-runner Elspeth Luke will recount the highs and lows of a remarkable 34-day, 680-mile run along the watershed of Scotland; and Stu Thomson from award-winning production company Cut Media will talk about how he came to work with renowned athletes such as Danny MacAskill, including on the phenomenal viral hit The Ridge and his plans for future projects.

Each day, the talks will be complemented by a series of short film sessions themed on Friday around the joy of riding bikes, on Saturday extremes of human endeavour and endurance, and on the final day worldwide adventure and exploration, as well as feature-length presentations.

Rich Rowe, a member of the festival team, said: “We’ve got an exceptional mix of films from around the world covering everything from cycling and fellrunning to climbing, skiing and some very wild swimming.

“Between them, they will make people laugh, cry, possibly wince a bit and, we hope, also inspire a few outdoor adventures of their own.”

This year, the Peebles Outdoor Film Festival has also launched a new competition for short films that capture the excitement, adventure, or just sheer natural beauty of the outdoors. The winners of the outdoor shorts competition will be chosen both by a panel of expert judges and by public vote during the festival, with the winning entries shown on the big screen at the Eastgate as part of the final short film session on the Sunday.

More details are on the Peebles Outdoor Film Festival website.