Programme details for the 2018 Fort William Mountain Festival
Celebrate everything that the great outdoors has to offer at the Fort William Mountain Festival 2018, in association the Nevis Landscape Partnership, Heritage Lottery Fund, the Outdoor Capital of the UK, and the Highland Council, being staged in and around the bustling Highland town of Fort William, at the heart of the ‘Outdoor Capital of the UK’, from Wednesday 21 to Sunday 25 February 2018.
From armchair adventurers and weekend warriors to the UK’s mountain communities The Fort William Mountain Festival is an energising experience for everyone.
A spokesperson for the Festival said “Visiting Lochaber in February for the Mountain Festival is the perfect time of year to experience the stunning landscape of the region first hand, with the best winter walking, climbing and snowsports conditions of the year.
“The Fort William Mountain Festival offers the added bonus of another superb line-up of uplifting talks from top climbers and mountaineers, mountain bikers, and mountain filmmakers, together with exhilarating film screenings from cutting-edge outdoor athletes and adventurers; mountain skills workshops and exhibitions.”
The five-day programme, packed full of inspiration, education and entertainment, action and adventure, includes:
Festival Launch Night – Wednesday 21/02/18 –A torchlit descent of Aonach Mor on ski, board and mountain bike will kick things off. Then settle in at the Pinemarten Cafe Bar at the Nevis Range, with tasty food and local beer, for an entertaining evening with Spike and Sudsy’s Tall Tales of Nevisport, Nevis Range and Mountain Rescue, delivered with an abundance of overstatement and exaggeration.
The Film Competition night – Thursday 22/2/18 – invites you to relax and watch the winning outdoor adventure films, presented by Paul Diffley.
The Climbers Summit is a brand new ‘all things climbing’ night of chat and films with Robbie Phillips and Dave MacLeod. Thursday – 22/2/18.
Running Without Fear – Friday 23/2/18 – life without limits with multi award-winning adventurer & broadcaster Lowri Morgan.
The Big Picture Night – Friday 23/2/18 – ecological science & visual storytelling thinking about a wilder Scotland.
Monster Cracks and Desert Adventures – Sat 24/2/18 – ridiculous upside-down journeys with the Wide Boyz, masters of crack climbing Tom Randall and Pete Whittaker.
The Great Divide Bike Race – Saturday 24/2/18 – 2,745 off-road miles from Canada to Mexico with Lee Craigie, introduced by Emma Holgate’s Bikepacking Havanas adventures.
After Party – Saturday 24/2/18 – grab a partner for the party with the Riska ceilidh band. Sponsored by Thistle Access N.D.T. Ltd and supporting the Lochaber Mountain Rescue Team.
Banff Centre Mountain Film Festival World Tour – Sunday 25/2/18 – the finest mountain films to entertain, enthral & inspire from the Banff Centre Mountain Film Festival World Tour.
The Scottish Award for Excellence in Mountain Culture 2018
The recipients of both The Scottish Award for Excellence in Mountain Culture and The Scottish Youth Award for Excellence in Mountain Culture will receive their awards at a special ceremony during the festival.  These prestigious awards recognize and celebrate lives spent in the hills, exploring everything the land has to offer whilst inspiring others along the way. The 2018 winners will be announced in early February.
The Arts Programme.
‘Photographing Scotland ‘ – Thursday 22/2/18. Glasgow based and award-winning adventure sports and landscape photographer Dougie Cunningham introduces his new Photo-location and Visitor Guidebook.
Art Lochaber – Pop-up Gallery and Shop – Friday 23/2/18 – Tuesday 27/2/18 returns to Nevis Range selling outdoor-themed paintings, mounted pictures and cards.
‘Wainwright Revealed’ – Saturday 24/2/18. Hear from award-winning filmmaker and author Richard Else who filmed the original BBC films with the Lake District guidebook writer, Alfred Wainwright.  Wainwright had a 40-year love affair with Scotland travelling the Highlands & Islands entirely by public transport.
Cameron McNeish – Saturday 24/2/18 – Book presentation and book signing from one of Scotland’s best-known wilderness hikers, cycle tourers and authorities on outdoor pursuits. In this field, he is best known as an author and broadcaster, although he is also a magazine editor, lecturer and after dinner speaker and an adviser to various outdoor organisations.
Workshop Programme
Festival organisers have put together a wide range of workshops with plenty of opportunities for both novices and experts to hone their mountain skills.
The Crack Climbing Masterclasses with the Wide Boyz     – a Crack climbing masterclasses with Pete Whittaker and Tom Randall, the crack climbing kings! One hour crack coaching and a free roll of tape (taping is part of the masterclass) at Three Wise Monkeys Climbing, Fort William
Winter Walking Skills, Avalanche Awareness, Ben Nevis Guided Walk Performance Winter Climbing.
Regular Mountain Festival supporter and local guiding company, Abacus Mountain Guides, will be teaming up with the Mountain Festival once again with a selection of workshops including Winter Walking Skills, Avalanche Awareness, a Ben Nevis Guided Walk and Performance Winter Climbing.  This is the perfect opportunity for everyone of all abilities to learn new skills this winter.
Dave MacLeod will once again be running his Climbing Masterclasses during the Fort William Mountain Festival. The full-day classes will be run at his own climbing wall in Roy Bridge, covering climbing technique, planning and implementing your training, injury prevention and sound nutrition to maximise your performance
Join the Ride out & Coaching with West Coast Biking taking in some of the best single track available, not forgetting great tea & cake. Well qualified guides & coaches will be on hand to chat and show you around the trails, refreshing some fundamental techniques and progress to new mountain biking skills.
For the second year running Penny, from Mountain Yoga Kinlochleven, will take inspiration from the surrounding mountains and bring her Mountain Yoga Practises to the Festival. Workshops for climbers, runners and hill walkers are a special interest, exploring how yoga can help our bodies and minds run and climb further and higher.
Learn to work on Fix Your Bike Yourself with tuition from some of the best mechanics in the business from Nevis Cycles. Covering basics to suspension and hydraulics.
Joining us this year for the first time will be local company Atlas Mountaineering, teaming up with snow sports instructor, Duncan Goldthorp, to offer a range of Winter Mountain Skills including winter navigation and avalanche transceiver use.
The Exhibition Zone
Explore the Exhibition Zone, open daily before the main programme events and during intervals. Exhibitors include: Abacus Mountain Guides, East Lochaber and Laggan Community Trust, Ellis Brigham, The Highland Bookshop, Jamie Hageman, John Muir Trust, Lochaber Environmental Group, Lochaber & Lorn Ramblers, Nevis Cycles, Nevis Landscape Partnership, Rare Breed Productions, the West Highland College School of Adventure Studies, Scottish Mountain Heritage Collection, 3 Wise Monkeys, Urban Uprising and West Coast Biking.
A spokesperson for the Festival added: “The Fort William Mountain Festival celebrates our wild landscape and the opportunities it presents.  The mountains and glens that surround us influence our culture in many ways. We want to promote the value of the landscape of Lochaber as the best destination in the UK to live, work and play.
“The Mountain Festival includes a superb line-up of top climbers and explorers, mountain films, inspirational speakers and skills workshops. It’s not just for adventure addicts though, anyone who appreciates the landscape of the Outdoor Capital of the UK will find something for them in the Mountain Festival.
“Celebrating the landscape that surrounds us in Fort William is the inspiration behind the Mountain Festival. Whether it is the beauty of the landscape, our engagement with it or the opportunities we find in it, celebrating our natural capital is the vision of the Outdoor Capital of the UK.”
To find out more about the Fort William Mountain Festival 2018 go to: Festival Website / Facebook
Picture: Mike Pescod – Abacus Mountain Guides