Ullswater Outdoor Festival

by Dan Bailey - UKHillwalking.com Sep/2011
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The nine-day Ullswater Outdoor Festival starts this coming weekend. The festival, which enters its sixth year, is being held between 24 September and 2 October in and around Glenridding, with a programme of events, speakers and guided walks.

+St.Sunday Crag's brilliant Pinnacle Ridge, 156 kbSt.Sunday Crag's brilliant Pinnacle Ridge
© Dan Bailey

The programme of talks starts on Friday 23 September (confusingly, the evening before the official Festival launch day) when Sir Chris Bonington is due to speak at Rheged on the British Annapurna South Face expedition. The 1970 ascent was the first expedition that Sir Chris undertook as expedition leader and was then the biggest technical challenge on an 8,000 metre peak that any British expedition had attempted. This will be followed by a question and answer session.

On 25 September local adventurer and 'Seven Summiteer' James Lancashire speaks about the perils of climbing the highest summits in each continent. James' talk includes very human stories, including those of rescuing other climbers and proposing to his girlfriend (via satellite phone) from the summit of Alaska's Denali (and they say romance is dead).

Eden Valley's own Jane Yates will share amusing and poignant stories about adventuring to remote and wild places across the world with two young children (and, sometimes, mountaineer husband Simon of Touching the Void fame). Jane will talk about the importance of taking off the cotton wool and letting children get into 'Scrapes and Dares', the title of her talk, which can be heard on 29th September.

Ullswater Association Chairman, Mark Vause said:

'This brilliant evening programme opens the 2011 Ullswater Outdoor Festival to an even wider audience, ensuring that people of all abilities can gain a spirit of adventure. Most of us will never get the opportunity to climb one of the world's highest summits or trek through Nepal, but hearing how other local people have done just that may just inspire a few more adventurers in the future.'

There'll be a launch day event at Glenridding on Saturday 24, with family-friendly fun and games. The backbone of the Festival though is a guided walks programme, led by Lake District National Park voluntary rangers. A choice of up to three walks is available every day with routes including Boredale Hause, Place Fell, St Sunday Crag and Greenside Mine. All are free of charge although some bus or boat fees may be needed (Ullswater Steamers will charge just £1 to anyone booked on a walk and using the boats for travel). Places on the walks can be booked through Ullswater Tourist Information Centre on 017684 82414.

More outdoor adventure activities are available across the week thanks to the support of local companies including: Ridge Scrambling on St.Sunday Crag's brilliant Pinnacle Ridge and Kayaking with Distant Horizons, Canoeing with Reach Beyond Adventure, Nordic Walking with Go-Active, Dinghy Sailing 'Swallows and Amazons' style with Glenridding Sailing Centre and Navigation Confidence with Wake Effect.

Andrea Runkee, Cumbria Tourism's Adventure Capital Project Manager, said:

'I am very pleased that we are able to support and help promote the Ullswater Outdoor Festival. The Adventure Capital project aims to get people out and about in the outdoors in Cumbria and the festival provides a perfect opportunity.'

'Last year around 450 people took part in festival activities and we are hoping for a similar number this time' said festival organiser Jon Holdsworth.

'However, this is the first year we've had a launch day and we'd like to think it will attract around 1000 people to Glenridding on that day alone, weather permitting.'

'We would encourage visitors to come to the Ullswater and Patterdale area for our spectacular scenery but also for the sheer range and breadth of walks here. There are over 100 walks of varying length across both high and low levels. There are some really famous walks, including Helvellyn and Striding Edge, High Street and the Howtown to Glenridding walk – the most famous lake shore walk in the Lake District. Walkers can park their car and never need it again for a week, particularly as they can get up and down the lake on one of the Ullswater Steamers. There's a real mix of terrain from the more rolling, softer fells at the north of the lake around Pooley Bridge to the craggy drama of the fells at the south around Glenridding and Patterdale. The Festival walks are hoping to encourage people to tackle some of our less well known walks and try something different.'

For more info or to book events see the festival website

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