Nirmal Purja on the summit of Everest

Nirmal Purja on the summit of Everest

A mountaineer who summited all 14 of the world’s highest peaks in record time is the star speaker at the Fort William Mountain Festival.

Nirmal Purja, a former Gurkha special forces member, completed the ascent of the 8,000m mountains in less than seven months – a feat that more commonly takes seven years.

Nims, as he is known, will be the main Saturday evening draw at the festival, which takes place next month.

The programme includes presentations from world-class outdoor adventurers, along with adrenaline-filled and thought-provoking films from both the festival’s own international film competition entries and the Banff Centre Mountain Festival World Tour.

The event at the Lochaber town will include number of award nights, including the Scottish Awards for Excellence in Mountain Culture and the photographer of the year award. Organisers are also promising thought-provoking environmental discussions and a collection of quality fringe events including winter mountain skills workshops, yoga classes and bike- and running-themed nights.

Rod Pashley, chairman of the Highland Mountain Culture Association, organisers of the Fort William Mountain Festival, said: “Celebrating the wild landscape that surrounds us in Fort William and Lochaber is the inspiration behind the mountain festival.

“The mountains, glens, rivers and coastline influence our culture in many ways, whether it is the beauty of the landscape, our engagement with it or the opportunities we find in it.

“The Fort William Mountain Festival has something for everyone with a love for the outdoors. With an exciting programme of adventure and events taking place throughout the region the festival offers a superb line-up of inspirational talks from top climbers and mountaineers, mountain bikers, mountain runners and mountain filmmakers, together with exhilarating film screenings from cutting-edge outdoor adventurers; mountain skills workshops and exhibitions.

“We are especially pleased to announce that our main Saturday night speaker will be the remarkable Nims Purja, who has successfully climbed all 14 8,000m peaks in less than seven months, an astonishing record and achievement. Normally this takes seven years.

“Of course, the festival is not just for high-adrenaline adventure enthusiasts. It is for everyone who appreciates the great outdoors. With the best winter walking, climbing and snowsports conditions of the year, visiting Fort William and Lochaber in February for the mountain festival is the perfect time of year to experience the stunning landscape of the area first-hand.”

The five-day event kicks off with the festival launch night on Wednesday 19 February and continues until the following Sunday. More details are on the Fort William Mountain Festival website.

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