Visitors to the Basecamp Village at the 2019 festival. Photo: Bob Smith/grough

Visitors to the Basecamp Village at the 2019 festival. Photo: Bob Smith/grough

Organisers of Kendal Mountain Festival are preparing to welcome visitors to the Cumbrian town, after last year’s event was forced online because of the Covid-19 pandemic.

This year’s festival will be a hybrid event, with outdoor enthusiasts able to buy tickets to attend films, and talks, or watch them virtually in the comfort of their own home.

The festival is the largest gathering of the outdoor community in the UK, organisers said, and attracts speakers from across the globe.

Director Steve Scott said: “We are so pleased to be back with a physical event this year, and delighted to welcome so many exciting and talented individuals to the festival stage.”

Friday headliner Nirmal ‘Nims’ Purja will make his debut at the festival to share the European premiere of 14 Peaks: Nothing is Impossible, a new Netflix film which follows his epic challenge to summit all 14 of the world’s 8,000m peaks in seven months.

Also taking to the stage on Friday will be explorer, campaigner and writer Belinda Kirk in conversation with adventurer Anna Blackwell to talk about all things escapism, resilience and lessons learned from the wild.

Extreme television adventurer Aldo Kane headlines the Saturday programme with Tales from the Edge including abseiling into an erupting volcano, rowing the Atlantic and getting locked in a bunker for 10 days with zero daylight.

Olympic athlete and one of the most successful British rock climbers, Shauna Coxsey, will head to the stage to share a special preview screening of her new film The Wall: Climbing for Gold.

Trailrunning superstar Kílian Jornet, who smashed the Bob Graham Round record in 2018, will be bringing his new Climate Academy to the festival, described as a platform aiming to give outdoor athletes the scientific literacy to discuss climate change and environmental issues with confidence.

Iceland supermarket managing director Richard Walker, together with Surfers Against Sewage chief executive Hugo Tagholm, will be in Kendal to lead a call to democratise environmentalism by making it relevant and relatable in a panel event hosted within the festival’s free Basecamp Village.

The Basecamp will this year move from its previous home outside the Brewery Arts Centre to the nearby Abbot Hall Park, a more spacious venue.

Also scheduled for the festival will be a screening of the Patagonia film They/Them: One Climber’s Story, which will precede a panel discussion led by Eden Elgeti exploring queer, non-binary and transgender issues within the outdoors community.

Other favourites such as The North Face and Ellis Brigham Snow Night and Trek Bike Night will return with star-studded line-ups. The Palm and Pyranha Paddlesports Session is back, playing host to one of the world’s top whitewater kayakers Rush Sturges.

Building on the success of previous years, the Berghaus Women in Adventure session headlines Anna Taylor who recently became the first woman to complete a continuous round of all 83 routes featured in the Classic Rock book, plus Amira Patel, founder of The Wanderlust Women, a hiking group for Muslim women.

As enthusiasm for openwater swimming continues to spread across the nation, one of Kendal’s most popular events, the Zone3 Outdoor Swimming Session, returns to share exhilarating swimming tales.

Kendal Mountain Festival takes place from Thursday 18 November to Sunday 21 November. More details are on the festival website.

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